Sunday, February 15, 2015

Crafty D-I-Y Tutorial: Adding Patina

Okay. First things first:

Patina (/ˈpætɨnə/ or /pəˈtnə/) is a thin layer that variously forms on the surface of stone; on copperbronze and similar metals (tarnishproduced by oxidation or other chemical processes);[1] on wooden furniture (sheen produced by age, wear, and polishing); or any such acquired change of a surface through age and exposure. Patinas can provide a protective covering to materials that would otherwise be damaged by corrosion or weathering. They may also be aesthetically appealing. 

Alrighty, now that we all know what patina IS, let's talk about how to fake it. In my case, I have been collecting assorted frames of all shapes, colors, ages, and sizes for the past six months, with the intention of creating an epic "instant" antique map collection to hang in my upstairs hallway at the farmhouse. Once I'd gathered a decent stack of frames (sometime around September of 2014), I laid them all out in my yard, spray painted them all gold, and then got too busy to finish this project. (I know. I'm the worst. But I was going to France for four months, so there was a lot in the works. Get off my back!) Anyway, fast forward four months, and I'm finally revisiting this project. 

My dad tackled the challenging task of connecting the dots-- figuring out which maps would fit in which frame with which matting, and piecing the whole collection together. However, because I had spray painted most of my frames gold, they still looked unconvincingly bright and new, despite their antique contents. It just wasn't coming together the way I'd envisioned. So I channeled my incredibly talented friend Danny, who is a professional carpenter and ultra-fancy frame maker, and I decided to add patina to them the way he'd recommended to me way back in 2014. 

Adding patina is unbelievably easy and now I kind of want to patina every surface in my house. 

(Though actually, almost everything in my house is already third or fourth hand and usually very used, so there isn't much that doesn't already have an authentic patina on it...) 

First-- lay out a drop cloth or newspaper to work on, as this project gets a little messy. Then, take a set of keys and enthusiastically whack away at your frame, making little dings, scratches, and indentations. 

Then, PUT ON A PAIR OF GLOVES. Latex, rubber-- dealer's choice, but you'll definitely want gloves for this project or you'll be trying to get black paint off your fingers for days. (I'm, like, 90% sure Danny actually mentioned this when he told me how to do this project, but sadly, it only came rushing back to me once I was covered in enamel.) 

Learn from my mistakes!

Now that you're prepared, take a black or dark brown enamel, such as "One-Shot", and using a rag or paper towel, wipe a coat of sure shot uniformly along your frame. Just dip the tip of your rag into the little pot and as more as needed... Less is definitely more in this scenario. Make sure you're paying attention to the sides of the frame too. You don't want to neglect them and then discover that they're still shiny and flawless, nor do you want the enamel to gob up and dry there... 

Do your frame in sections so one area doesn't dry while you're coating another. Pretty much as soon as you've wiped the enamel on, use another clean rag or paper towel to remove the majority of the paint. Remember, you're not meant to pull all of it off-- just the surplus, so that you leave a little bit remaining in the dings and dents you made with your keys. The idea is just to subtley add a little darkness to the otherwise gleaming perfect gold tone, so it looks like it's been around the block a couple of times, and didn't come straight from IKEA. Yes. One of my gold antiqued frames was originally a ultra-sleek modern white Ribba frame from IKEA, but you'd never guess that now, right? 

Once you're finished, let the frame dry for about 30 minutes and you're in like Flynn! 

That's the extent of this tutorial. Now it's time to walk around and see what else I can patina. Danny said you can do this process to pretty much anything-- metal, wood, you name it. 

Go out and make something old! 

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