Creating an antique inspired wardrobe on a budget is an easy project that can be accomplished in a weekend. To start this antiquing project you will need to find an inexpensive armoire that you don’t mind painting and experimenting with. Those cheap plain fake wood armoires found at discount stores are perfect for antiquing. If you have an old wood armoire and just want to change the color or look this paint process is also good, just leave off the parts about molding and embellishments. You can usually find cheap armoires on www.craigslist.org, at sources like Wal-Mart and Ikea, and you might even try asking friends or family if they have a piece they want to get rid of.
Here is a list of supplies you will need to start antiquing you old wardrobe:
· Paint (2 colors)
· Roller paint brushes
· A variety of 2″, 3″, or 4″ paint brushes
· Wood stain
· Drop clothes
· Molding (Crown molding or picture molding trim or both)
· Interesting door and drawer pulls.
For additional antique inspired embellishments to a very plain armoire try attaching crown molding to the top of the piece. This will completely change the look of your inexpensive armoire and instantly give and antique feel. You can also use picture molding to create other areas of interest on the pain armoire. Create symmetrical boxes on the two front doors for added depth. If you do not have access to a saw for cutting the molding you could use inexpensive picture frames to create details. Remove the glass, cardboard, and all the brackets on the back that would keep it from laying flat on your armoire. Make a series of three picture frames running down each of the two front doors. Run a bead of wood glue around the back of the frame. Attach them to the armoire with one inch finishing nails. If your armoire sits flat on the ground you can give it additional interest by adding feet. Fence posts work well and are usually inexpensive. Best of al they come with a large screw attached, so all you have to do is drill the hole in the base of your armoire and screw them in.
If possible try to paint your wardrobe outside on a nice sunny day to shorten the drying time. You can work on it inside though if necessary.
Step one to creating an antiqued wardrobe is to begin by sanding the surface of your plain armoire. Once you have the surface lightly sanded, you should wipe off the dust with a clean dry clothe. An old white t-shirt will work perfectly here.
Now, you are ready to put a coat of primer. If you are using a cheap fake wood armoire this is a very important step. Your antiquing painting technique will not stick to your surface if you don’t sand and then prime your armoire.
If you want a rough more country look try putting the primer on with one of the 4″ brushes. This will give texture and create the look of real wood. If you prefer the smoother look you can roll the paint on with any type of paint roller. A foam roller will create the smoothest surface.
Allow your primer to dry completely before you move on to step three of the antiquing process. Step three is to put on a coat of your base paint. This paint should not be the actual color you want your armoire to end up, but the color you want to show through when you antique the armoire. I recommend a cream color paint or possibly even yellow. If you already have white paint from another project this will work as well. Allow this base coat of paint to fry completely.
Now you are ready to paint your armoire with the real color you wish it to be. I always recommend painting a color that goes with your existing décor. For some added interest try using a color wheel to choose a color that is directly opposite you wall color. For instance if you have a yellow walls, try painting the armoire purple or even a shade of purplish blue. This will really make it pop and stand out. Don’t be scared to choose a bright color because the antiquing process will tone down the appearance of the armoire considerably.
Once your armoire color has dried you are ready to start antiquing it. Start by using the sand paper to rough up edges and other areas that would typically be used over time. For example, try sanding the area near the door handles; it will give the appearance of age. You can antique your armoire as much or as little as you would like. Think of these as highlights.
Once you have finished sanding the armoire wipe the surface down with a clean dry cloth. That old white t-shirt will work well here again. You can stop at this point, but if you want to go the extra mile you can use a mixture of ½ wood stain and ½ glaze to darken your piece. This darkening will mimic years of dirt and the aging process.
Start by mixing you paint and glaze in a plastic container. Use a white rag or another old t-shirt to rub the stain onto the piece. Use another clean rag to gently wipe this stain away. You should see that the color of your paint will instantly darken and mellow out. Work in small areas so that the stain mixture does not dry on you. You can do this process until you achieve the antique look you want for your armoire. You have completed antiquing your armoire and should allow it to dry thoroughly. Replace boring or modern hardware with antique inspired pulls from Lowe’s or home depot.