Doorway Patina

Doorway Patina

Reading Patina

As painters and embellishers, we are obsessed with making all things looking old and worn. Trying to figure out  how to get that look with our tools in our paint box. We love looking at pictures like the one below and saying “ Sigh… I want that look” or “Get the look by mixing or layering this color or that.

But…Have you ever looked at a door and wondered how did it get that way? Let’s take this one picture and makeup, a believable story, about how the door got to look like this.

Today the door is a lovely interior decoration for a dining room. You can bet this door did not get all those lovely colors and age sitting indoors with that gorgeous chandelier.

Untitled design-3

Born of hand hewn hardwood this door was built by master craftsmen.  Initially, this door was most likely stained and or varnished showing off the lovely wood. Being hand made, there would be  differences in the grain between the styles and the panels.  Lots of sanding occurred but by hand and never enough to make the entire surface exactly the same. It is these differences (not imperfections) that allow the patina process to begin.

Doors are exposed to all weather elements. Water pools at the bottom and drips off of the building above, the sun destroys the varnish and then the weather works it’s magic on those bare parts of the door.

The door and the inside panels contract and expand causing the paint on the edges to crack and peel. Water gets under the paint then freezes and thaws causing cracks, then the paint starts to chip and peel. Then the wood gets wet and starts to split.

Finally, a person paints the door. Most likely the next coat was the grey green shade. This coat of paint  by now is all over different surfaces, old stain, raw wood, old scraped varnish. So it adheres differently.

As soon as the painting is done the weathering begins again, with a twist. Rain and snow and sun not only crack and peel but the paint starts to fade. Based on how much weather and what the subsurface is the paint fades differently over time.

Finally, a new coat of paint is applied, my guess is the white. Yet,over time the chemistry of the paint changes and it may or may not stick as well. I think the white on this might be relatively new: a failed coat of latex. When this door was moved inside to become decoration she had that white coat scraped off completely showing the grey green underneath.

Am I correct in this story? Maybe… but if  not 100% accurate the process is still the same.


The trick question is…how many colors do you see in this door? Even though many of them are related (probably the second grey green coat that has faded) to imitate it you need more than three colors.

For more about patina we have a special treat on the blog. Over the next few weeks my friend Stacey of Faux Studio Designs will be sharing her trip to Florence where she is studing patina. For now…ponder how to imitate this door.

Making Patina with Scrolls

Making Patina with Scrolls

Making Patina

Do you love old patina? The kind Stacey Christensen and I found at the St. Ouen Flea Markets in Paris?
It’s that old world painting that just say “ bespoke and love forever”. Our Efex dealer Stacy Christensen at Faux Studio Designs has been a faux painter for years and now she is sharing her secrets with all of us.
They are simple, easy to execute and available to you! No more trying to figure out how to get the look. You’ll have the recipe at your fingertips.
This lovely example of aged copper patina using our Fleur di Lis number 4 is only one of her specialties.
To quote Stacey “This is one of my favorite patinas. It’s elegant and rustic, super easy to do, and looks really expensive. Use Chalk paint as a base, apply modern masters and the oxidizing solution and voila!”
Or how about this lovely Gustavian night stand. You can get two of these great patinas in your mailbox every month for only 19.95. Plus each month you’ll get a special gift. Hint, here some of the gifts are efex!
This deal keeps getting better. Sign up now to receive a $5.00 discount on your monthly subscription and get an additional free recipe. Yup, your monthly cost is really only
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Ok, I do sound a little like the guy on the TV ads here, but I am excited about this creative offer. To sign up for Stacy’s special Patina Recipes enter your email. You’ll be glad you did, I know I am.
For more information on patina read our ongoing series on making patina.
Water and Oil Don’t Mix

Water and Oil Don’t Mix

Water and Oil Don’t Mix – Wax Resist

Every fifth grade art class teaches students that wax and water colors don’t mix.  But… if you tell a five year old to use wax before painting furniture or walls they would look at you with that “you’re silly mummy” look that only a five year old can muster.

In this chapter of making patina we take advantage of this fact to give us one of the easiest painting techniques we know. Wax resist has been around for ages and is also used on fabric. The great indigo prints from 18th century France were all made with a wax resist on fabric using indigo dye.

We love this technique because it’s easy to control: not quite as messy as crud and a little more predictable than hemp oil.

Annie Sloan shows an excellent example in her book Color Recipes For Painted Furniture,  so we decided to share in detail.

Speaking of Annie Sloan – the person not just the paint – she is all about figuring out “how-to” without the fuss. Her method of painting is to get a project done with the least amount of time for the best results. The wax resist method of aging and developing patina achieves this goal.

Did I mention it’s super easy to do on a large scale, like this bed Annie herself did.

Or this wall or this large bookcase and mirror. Last summer my friend Amy Chalmers and I did the bookcases and mirror using this technique. Photo by the divine Matthew Mead.


Step 1 – Pick your two colors and paint your base coat. As a general guideline use the color you want to dominate as your base coat. Paint one or two coats and let dry thoroughly. You can just clean a wooden surface and apply the wax if you want your wooden surface to show through, but you still need to thoroughly clean the surface first.

Some color combos we love are: Old White and French Linen Chalk Paint ® or Louis Blue and Aubusson used in our sample boards

Step 2 – When the base is dry, take your wax and apply it thickly using a damp cloth. (I know we’ve spent years saying don’t use too much wax, but now we’re saying glob it on!)


Rub the surface with the wax. If you’re working on a big piece of furniture or a flat wall, work in sections. Remember, the more you rub in the wax the less it will resist.

Step 3 – While the wax is still wet, apply a diluted layer of the second color of paint. You will see the wax resist the water in the paint. You need to do this while the wax is still wet, and not fully cured.

3Especially with Chalk Paint, if you rub back the wax and let it cure the paint will adhere to the surface with out chipping. To dilute the second coat of paint mix approximately 1/3 water to 2/3 paint. The more water, the more resist and the more the base coat will show through.


Step 4 – Use a damp rag to rub off the excess wax and the second coat of paint will come with the wax, revealing your base coat underneath.

Once you’ve rubbed down the second coat –  going with the grain of the wood – let it dry. If you get a hard line, as you may when working with large surfaces, just grab a damp rag and rub/wipe it to blend the line out.


See how the Louis blue base coat comes through with just hint of the Aubusson.


For the final step, finish with the top coat of your choice.

That’s it for resist methods. Next we’re going to look at layering techniques to create shadows and highlights.

Ciao until then


Crud…the secret sauce for a rustic finish

Crud…the secret sauce for a rustic finish

Crud…the secret sauce to get a rustic finish

Today I’m going to change your relationship with crud.  No, I’m not talking about the stubborn white stuff you can’t scrub off your shower walls no matter how much elbow grease you apply.  And for my readers in ski country, I don’t mean powder with tracks.

I’m singing the praises of sawdust, a.k.a. “crud”, today’s resist in my series of posts on How to Get that Chippy Look.  I was surprised, too, when I first learned this technique from our Efex stockist Janet Metzger of the Empty Nest.  Even my husband thought he was cleaning up after me when he tried to wipe the sawdust off of my unattended work-in-progress!

But crud is easy to make and you can probably get the sawdust for free at your local hardware store. Just sweetly ask the guy in the lumber area if you can please sir have a little. Don’t forget to BYO baggie!

Read on and we’ll show you how easy it is:

Step 1 – apply a base coat of paint  to your project. We used two coats of Duck Egg Blue on our sample board.


Step 2 – While the paint is still wet sprinkle the saw dust on your project. Yep…right on top of the wet paint! it might sound a little crazy but we promise it works.

Pat lightly so the saw dust adheres, it won’t all stick to the paint but that’s OK. Let the paint fully dry about an hour.

Step 3:  Once your base coat is dry paint over the saw dust with a contrasting color.  The surface will start to look crusty and messy, but hence the term “crud”.  Now you should have a nice chunky finish with sawdust everywhere.  (You can probably understand my husband’s reaction!) In the end, you’ll get a very rustic, chunky, authentic finish.


Step 4: When the final coat is dry use a razor or a paint scraper to gently scrape off the saw dust.  It will immediately start to take on a very rustic finish, like an old barn door.  You can even scrape right through to the wood.  Get rid of the mess, and clean it up.

Step 5:  Finish by waxing and sanding.  Use clear wax first, and then add dark wax and voila: Patina in no time!


So there we have another ways to get the chippy look using a resist.

The chair in the photo below was refinished using the crud technique layering Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Old White and Old Ochre with a base of Aubusson Blue. You can even use crud on  Efex appliqués to make the moulding look like an old worn wood carving! Like it’s been there for years and years.


If you have any questions please feel free to comment or send us an email. Our dealers carry many of the products used so stop by a local stockist in your area.

Caio, until next time when we show you how to get patina using other techniques.


Making Patina…making new furniture look old

Making Patina…making new furniture look old

We have always wanted to do a series on “Making Patina.”  Detailed step-by-step instruction, videos, and other great resources from the web as well as inspiration photos showing you different ways you can upcycle your furniture to look like an antique.

So often we see furniture that we can paint, or add Efex embellishments, to get that aged look. But the tricky part is often where to start. We’re providing you a simple road map to help you take that first step.

 As you follow this series you will be amazed at how easy it really is to get the aged feel like you see in two of our favorite blogs, Velvet and Linen and Tone on Tone. On the web, especially Pinterest and Instagram, you can find all sorts of great examples of patina.

pair of gustavian console-2

What is patina?

Michael Flanigan, an Antiques Roadshow appraiser, says, “Patina is everything that happens to an object over the course of time. The nick in the leg of a table, a scratch on a table top, the loss of moisture in the paint, the crackling of a finish or a glaze in ceramics, the gentle wear patterns on the edge of a plate. All these things add up to create a softer look, subtle color changes, a character. Patina is built from all the effects, natural and man-made, that create a true antique.”

So there is the definition, but this only begins to cover what patina is. Patina is a feeling of age. It hints at worn elegance, a life well lived and well cared for. It harkens back to a slower pace of life when everything was repurposed or reused instead of replaced.

During this miniseries we are going to view patina though the eyes of a decorative painter. There are many ways to achieve the look, but we have broken them down into four easy segments.

1- Chipping and Cracking

2- Layering

3 – Worn by Time: the fine art of sanding and waxing

4 – Faded Glory – aging gilding

Chipping and Cracking

 Chipping and cracking are not exactly the same even though they can often occur together. With time old paint can chip off showing the undercoat or past paint jobs. It can also form hairline cracks in the surface of the paint. In our first series,  Chipping and Cracking, we will show several painting techniques as well as crackle products to get the illusion of age that makes something look so beloved.

We will explore three different painting techniques using a resist where the resist medium keeps the second coat of paint from adhering to the undercoat. We will be using hemp oil and wax and a surprise ingredient “crud” as our resist agents. Then we will show you how to use cracking products to get a fine cracked surface.

Chippy Paint


patina home and garden efex

Layering is multiple layers of paint on a surface. These layers can be of contrasting colors, or more subtle shades of paint that are often used to show shadows and highlights. There are so many layering techniques that it’s almost hard to know where to start.

In our series we will begin with a simple two color layered distressed finish, then move on to three special layering variations designed to add texture and pull out highlight and shadows.

1 – Two Color Distress

2 – Wet on Wet

3 – Dry Brushing

4 – Incomplete Mixing

Worn by Time

Over time furniture ages and is worn smooth by handling. We can help new pieces achieve this look with sanding and waxing. By sanding you can make a surface look dinged and rough, or it can simply add a smooth feel. Waxing, on wood or painted surfaces, both protects the surface and adds to that soft burnished texture. There is a special feel that only a waxed surface can achieve. You will be amazed at how much patina you can get with sanding and waxing. One of our tutorials includes an in-depth explanation of how to use dark wax correctly.

Faded Glory

Final mantel1

Historically many styles of furniture have added gilding to highlight special embellishments or edges. Of course over time this fades to a dull and wonderful surface. Just adding gilding is great if you want sparkling bling, but often what you’re really after is that aged look.

Our segments on faded glory will focus on using

1 – Gilding Wax

2 – Foils

3 – Leaf

All of these have a few extra twists and tips to make the aging process easy and fun. They are all great ways to add faded glory.

Please join us over the next few weeks to see how to get each of these looks using a variety of techniques and products. While we are going to show you each method step-by-step, there is really no right or wrong way. And as a bonus you can always mix and match techniques to make the finish uniquely yours. And all of these techniques can be done with, and over, Efex Moldings to bring out the details.

Caio, until next time when we start looking at the chipping and cracking.