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July 10, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 1

Make Your Own Antique Decor

By Kristin McKinney More Blogs by This Author

Old things are beautiful. There's just something about an item that you know has been around for ages and has so much history behind it that's intriguing. That's one reason I love going into antique stores. I'm just one of those overly nostalgic people I guess. I'm always looking for cool things at antique stores to re-purpose or things I can use for decoration. Sometimes, though, you can take things you already have and give them that antique look yourself.

Aged Paper:


With these instructions you can take just about any paper you want and give it that beautiful, aged look.


  • Coffee or tea
  • Two cookie sheets
  • Paper (it can be anything from an old book, something you printed off, sheet music, or just plain paper)


1. Make your coffee or tea, and then pour onto cookie sheet. Tea will make the paper come out lighter while coffee will make it darker.

2. Place the paper in the coffee, then carefully lift it out and place on dry cookie sheet.

3. Put in the oven at 200 degrees for about 6 minutes or until dry.

4. Once it's done, carefully take it off the cookie sheet. Be careful, it will be hot.

5. You can play around with the papers by dabbing coffee around the edges or in the middle of the page and rubbing around to add more streaks.

6. Something else you can do is take a lighter, and carefully burn the edges of the paper. Make sure you are very careful and have water near by.

Wood Block Photos:

Pictures on wood have this really cool aged look and go well with just about any décor. They're also pretty easy to make and could be used for unique gifts.


  • Untreated wood block
  • Gel Medium (at any craft store in the acrylic paint section)
  • Photos from a laser printer (not a jet ink printer, use regular paper)
  • Brush
  • Rag or sponge
  • Mod podge for a finishing varnish


1. Print off your pictures. Make sure to mirror them on your computer before printing. If you don't have a laser printer, take them to a Staples to be printed.

2. Cut down your photo so it is a little smaller than the board.

3. Apply the gel medium to the board. It doesn't have to be thick, but make sure it is evenly applied over the entire surface.

4. Place the photo face down onto the wood. Carefully smooth out the paper to get rid of bubbles or wrinkles.

5. Let it sit for at least 8 hours.

6. Take a wet sponge or rag and start to rub away the paper. This will take time. Don't be too rough.

7. Let it dry, then wipe off any remaining paper residue. This may take a few times.

8. You can rub away at the edges if you want to give it a faded look.

9. Once it's clean, apply a coat of mod podge, and that's it.

Crackle Finish:

This is great if you are painting something and want to give it that aged, weathered look. This could be used on just about any type of wood surface.



  • Elmer's glue
  • Acrylic paint (you'll need a color for your bottom coat and a color for the top coat)
  • Paint brush


1. Put down your bottom coat on what you are painting. Black works well, but it's up to you. Let bottom coat dry.

2. Brush Elmer's glue evenly over the bottom coat. The thicker you put it on, the bigger the cracks will come out.

3. While the glue is still tacky, paint over with top coat.

4. Let dry completely.

Antique Frame:

I've found that frames from an antique store can get pretty pricey and sometimes kind of flimsy. With these instructions, you can make your own, so you know it will be a good, strong frame that will last.


Door #2
  • Spray paint (you want a light color like beige, tan, white. Use a darker color if the frame is dark)
  • Newspaper
  • Cloth
  • Steel brush


1. Clean the frame well with a damp cloth. Lay newspaper out in the area you will be working.

2. Spray a light coat of paint onto the frame, holding the can at least 8 inches away from the surface. Let it dry.

3. Apply a second coat, and wipe it away with a clean cloth. Spread the paint thinly over the surface while pressing lightly to remove some of the paint. Let the second coat dry.

4. Distress the frame by brushing lightly with a steel brush to scrape the paint. You can also make small indents and scratches by using a small chisel and a hammer. Be careful, large indents will look less natural.

5. Scrape paint away from the corners and edges using the chisel.

6. Apply a small amount of paint thinner to a fine paintbrush, apply around deeper gouges in a dabbing or circular motion. This will simulate natural weathering. Let the thinner evaporate.

7. Wipe the surface clean with a dry cloth, then gently wipe with a damp cloth. Let it dry.


Vintage Sign:

Something that is big right now are vintage signs. You can find them just about anywhere, whether it's at an antique store or a home goods store. They can be expensive though. Here are some instructions on how to make your own.


  • 12 inch wide pine board cut to desired length
  • Acrylic paint (3 colors)
  • 1 inch paintbrush
  • Paper and printer
  • Tape
  • Graphite transfer paper
  • Dark brown soft furniture wax
  • 80 grit sandpaper
  • Round brush or cloth


1. If your piece of board is new, take a hammer and nails to wear down the wood by making scratches or dents to give it a worn look. You could also take sandpaper to wear down the edges and corners.

2. Paint a base coat in desired color. Let it dry.

3. In Word, choose your desired font for the words and print out. It may take a few times to figure out what size will fit best on the board. Lay the graphite tracing paper down on the wood, then lay down your letters. Make sure everything is level and in place before you begin tracing. Tape letters together if necessary.

4. After tracing all of the letters, use your 1 inch paintbrush to fill them in. If you want, using the same color, paint a border on the sign.

5. Using a darker color paint, outline the letters to give them a three-dimensional appearance. Let it dry.

6. Sand the sign with the 80 grit sandpaper to distress the paint. Try to make the wood show through in certain spots. Wipe clean with a dry cloth.

7. Use round brush or soft cloth to apply the furniture wax in a thin coat. Allow to dry for 3-5 minutes. Then buff with a clean cloth to make it shine.

You're done! Click here to see where I found this idea and for detailed pictures.  

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