Aged Finish Created by using Paint

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One of the most often questions I get asked by readers about my work is how I create an aged finish on my pieces. The kind of effect that tells a story of days gone by and looks as though it has been around for years. I recently acquired this vintage mirror with gorgeous ornate carvings from a good friend, and I thought it would be the perfect candidate to show you a quick and effective tutorial.

Ornate Vintage Mirror Before Aged Finish | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Now, don’t judge me by the mess in the reflection since we are still plugging away at our kitchen remodel, okay? If you want to stay updated on what we’re working on next in our remodel, just follow me on social media via the buttons on my sidebar.

This mirror had wonderful cracks in the carvings here and there and I love to see that for the character and charm alone, but the cowboy red had to go. Because it was missing pieces in several spots, (I don’t mind that at all) paint is one way to unify the piece.

Corner of Ornate Mirror for Aged Finish Treatment | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

To me, this mirror was begging to get the gilded treatment I gave my very first big vanity project and is my favorite thus far.

Art Deco Glam Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I called this gem My Painted Lady and have her story HERE and also on my gilded chest of drawers. The color on that dressing table is still my favorite paint color that came from a seconds paint at Home Depot. I have used it on several pieces, like this table and rocking chair, and it never fails.

To get started on doing this type of finish, you will need to understand that a dry brush technique is best when dealing with intricate carvings. What I mean by “dry brush” is that for the most part you are only going to pick up enough paint on your brush to lightly coat the paint and work it in. This method prevents awful build-up that can fill those carvings and create drips and puddling.

Painting Ornate Mirror Aqua Blue | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

This light coat will also help to achieve the aged finish we’re after. Here is the mirror after a light dry-brush coat. It has a bit of thinned appearance, but that is okay since we’re looking for a worn effect.

First Coat of Aged Finish Effect | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

*affiliate links included in this post so you can find the products I love to use too! (see full disclosure)

Next, it’s time for the gilding. This metallic gold is by DecoArt called Glorious Gold. With an artist’s brush, lightly coat the pieces you want to highlight. I chose the leaves and beads for gilding and left the feathers for the next step.

Adding Gilded Gold Touches to Achieve Aged Finish | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Next, to create dimension, use a basic white acrylic paint to highlight the feathers and crevices.

Adding White Highlights to Aged Finish by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

To highlight and draw out all that gorgeous carving, you are going to use a metallic glazing in Espresso. The glazing doesn’t have to be metallic and can even be handmade just like I used on my faux wood garage door using paint. I wanted a gilded effect so I used the metallic.

In this step, brush on the glaze in small batches and have a lightly dampened rag ready. Working in small amounts will allow you to work with the glaze before it sets. Brush it on into all the nooks and crannies and edges to give a shadowed effect.

Glazing Vintage Mirror for Aged Finish | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Once applied, lightly wipe off the glazing allowing it to remain in those crevices. You will see how the carvings will pop and come to life, creating the aged finish we’re after. Just like it did on this bedroom set.

Rustic Chic Finish by Prodigal Pieces - You can create this look with paint and stain | www.prodigalpieces.com

For my mirror I stopped at this point because if I distressed like I usually do, the red would peek through. So, if you want to add a touch of time-worn distressing to your piece, just lightly sand the places that would receive normal wear. I typically wax and buff my pieces after the distressing, but the mirror I left as-is.

Here is my finished aged finish project…

Ornate Vintage Mirror with Aged Finish Tutorial by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Much better, don’t you think? I even got rid of the junk in the reflection for you. tee hee hee.

Corner of Aged Finish Mirror by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Vintage Aqua Blue Mirror Tutorial by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I am happily enjoying my spring-time blooms and relish every moment of their beauty. It is even spring clean-up time and I scored this awesome cedar chest that has been left for dead outside. That gorgeous weathered patina was calling my name. swoon…  It too will be getting new life soon.

Weathered Wood with Aged Finish Tutorial by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I hope you found this tutorial helpful and inspiring. To get some practice with this method, just head to a thrift store and grab a picture that has a decorative frame and have at it. If you’re not into DIY, but love this mirror, you can find it available for purchase in my shop. (SOLD!)

Shop Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

I’d love it if you would pin and share this tutorial so others can create their own aged finish too. ♥

How to Create an Aged Finish Using Paint by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Next up, my oldest daughter is getting her turn at makeover goodness with this Art Deco nightstand my father gave to us to revive. You can see the after HERE.

Art Deco Nightstand Before Makeover | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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More DIY projects for you like this aged finish:

Creating an Old Work Look with Paint by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comOutdated 1980's Dining Set Gets Farmhouse Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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16 Comments

  • Debrashoppeno5

    It looks absolutely lovely. Pinning to my Paint Board.

    May 3, 2016 at 7:21 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you so much, Debra. I had fun!

      May 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm Reply
  • Jenny @ Refresh Living

    Perfect job – it looks SO much better!!

    May 3, 2016 at 7:57 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Jenny! That red had to go….hahaha.

      May 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm Reply
  • Michelle

    Love it, beautiful as always! I always feel like I can tackle new things after reading your posts, I am going to give this technique a try. As soon as school’s out! Counting the days until teacher becomes DIYer!

    May 3, 2016 at 8:50 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Awesome! As a homeschooling mom, I totally know what you mean. We school all year, but go light in the summer and it’s bliss! 😀

      May 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm Reply
  • Lynne

    Can you please tell me the color of the dry brush paint you used on the mirror

    May 3, 2016 at 11:02 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I found it as a second’s paint at Home Depot. 🙂

      May 3, 2016 at 12:33 pm Reply
  • Mary-the boondocks blog

    You have worked your magic again Larissa ! Love all of the details and the aging. Thanks for a great tutorial!

    May 3, 2016 at 2:37 pm Reply
  • Cathy

    Larissa, I can’t wait to see how your daughter’s project comes out! All of your projects come out so beautifully. It gives me courage. I have been doing more painting since I started following your blog. Love it!!

    May 3, 2016 at 7:21 pm Reply
  • Patty Z.

    That’s beautiful! Have you ever tried using milk paint and a dark or light wax? Saves so many steps and you still end up with an aged look. Also, you almost never need to sand. Can even paint on laminate if you add extra bond to the paint. I’m all about making things easy (and, of course, eye-appealing). Just making this suggestion as I know how busy a mother of six is!

    December 11, 2016 at 3:25 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, I do that in a different tutorial. 😉 This was all about paint for this project. Thanks!

      December 12, 2016 at 2:03 pm Reply
  • Shannon

    The blue is beautiful, second hand Paint —does the lid have a formula listed? Since you use this on several of your pieces perhaps you could get a swatch of the paint color match at Home Depot to share the formula? That would be so helpful. Thanks.

    March 17, 2017 at 7:09 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      No formula though I have had it scanned and am saving it as I am working on a line of paint for one day… 😉

      March 18, 2017 at 3:49 pm Reply
  • Cheryl Bonner

    Amazing larissa.

    August 13, 2017 at 2:21 am Reply
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