February 14, 2016

How To Make New Things Look Old

Happy Valentine's Day!
If you like a vintage look for some of your decorating items
here are some ideas to make things that are new have an
old-looking feel.  I've pulled out some things I have made in the
past to mix with new items made to look old for Valentine
decorations this year for decorating my dining room area. 

A new item that I treated myself is a replica of an old scale
purchased from Magnolia Market online. 
oops...I was going to put a link in but maybe they are out of stock of it right now. 

It is new but looks old already. When I put new shiny painted
Valentine boxes on the scales, they just did not look right to me.
Also, just the two boxes on each side were not "enough".

A couple more inexpensive heart-shaped boxes (the ones
 already on the scales started out like these before I 
spray painted them) and small foam hearts were purchased
 to add to the mix for the scales. 
Dollar Tree and Dollar General both have these type boxes. 

To make them "go" with the vintage-looking scales, I decided
to mix up small batches of home-made chalk paint to make
them look like they had some age on them. 

Here is a "recipe" that I have used with success to make
chalk paint (which gives items a older-looking flat finish) that
is easy to sand and distress if you want to take that extra step:

1 part powdered plaster
3 parts paint
Mix the plaster and paint together. Slowly dribble by dribble
 add enough water to make the mix paintable. 

You can just put one coat of the chalk paint on the items
that you are making look older. On any chalk-painted item
(from an accessory to a piece of furniture) you will need to rub
on a layer of wax to keep the chalk paint from chipping off. 
I just use clear paste furniture wax from a can from the 
hardware store. It is about $10-12 but lasts a long time. 
If you want your items to look really old you can make a dark wax by adding paint or stain to the clear wax.

I actually made three different small batches of chalk paint
using varied colors of red craft paint. You can layer the colors.
After the first coat, just dry-brush on the other coats so the 
layers of paint kind of show through each other. Also, you 
can lightly sand the layers down after they are all dry to 
expose more of the lower layers of paint. 

The heart box in the front of the above picture was sanded
down. The heart box in the back was not. After the clear wax
was applied to the front heart box, all of the chalkiness
disappeared and the layers of paint showed up. Even if you
don't sand the items, the wax brings out the colors better
but does not add a "new item" shine. 

Behind the table in the dining room is a chest/bookcase.
The chandelier is an inexpensive one that was tinkered with to make it look more like an Italian one. 

It actually IS an old item. I got up enough nerve
 to paint the dark bookcase with chalk paint a few years ago.

After painting the piece, I also took all the books out and now
use the space for seasonal decorations. It is hard to see past 
the glare in pictures so I'll open the doors for you to see inside.
To see more aged paper lollies (the paper folded circles) click on on Vintage Valentine Lollies.

Most of the paper items in the display were artificially
aged to look older/vintage.  I've had fun experimenting
aging paper. If you are interested in learning more you
can see blog posts here, here and here.

A pre-made item that is new but contains vintage images
that helped a lot in making this display (and wreaths) have
a older look is a pack of cutouts from Jo Ann's.

More aged paper was used in the making of the wreaths
over the buffet also in the dining room.

More of the vintage cutouts were used on the wreaths
to add to the vintage feel. 
A tutorial for this wreath is Pointy Cone Book Page Wreath.

This wreath was made with natural colored coffee filters.
More details for making this wreath can be found here. 

This wreath reminds me of messages in a bottle.
I saw an image of something similar on the internet but 
never could find a tutorial on it so I just winged it.

For a base to put the rolled messages on, a wreath form
was wrapped in strips of stamped brown kraft paper.

Then the aged book pages were rolled, tied with raffia and
hot glued onto the front of the wreath form. 

Usually this wreath does not have this little book page
lolly on it but I needed a disguise for the picture hook
I didn't want to take out of the wall for this display.
Want to know how to make the book page lolly? Click here.

Well the sun is setting on Valentine's Day 2016.
I hope these ideas for using chalk paint, aged paper and
even new things that have a vintage feel will help you
when you want to make new things look old any time of year. 


  1. Welcome back, Gayle! So happy to see a post from you! You've been on my mind wondering how you are! Love your vintage wreaths and learning how to make new things look old. This technique is very trendy right now and it's something crafters definitely need to know! Great info!

  2. Those boxes are so pretty. Thanks for sharing how you gave them the vintage look!

  3. Love this! and that scale. If it ever turns up missing, it wasn't me that borrowed it without permission. lol

    Loving the vintage look you gave everything, it rocks!

  4. How festive! Love all the aged wreaths and valentines boxes!! :)

  5. I'm so glad you're back! I've missed your posts!

  6. great as you want to learn more, I invite to This is my page Carsforveterans.org


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