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How to Antique Acrylic Paint

Updated February 21, 2017

Antique paintings and objects have wide appeal, due to their history and aged appearance. Not everyone has the means to acquire antiques, however. Using simple techniques, you can make your new acrylic painting or an object painted with acrylic paint look many years older than it truly is. Ageing varnish gives your painting or object a slightly yellowed, aged appearance. Cracking varnish can be applied if you want a crackled paint appearance.

Remove the painting from its frame or matting. Make sure that the surface of the painting is free of debris.

Coat a wide, fine bristled brush with the ageing varnish. Test the look of the varnish by first applying it to a small section of the painting, preferably in a corner that will be covered by matting or a frame. Continue applying the varnish when you are pleased with result.

Use long, vertical strokes to apply a thin layer of varnish to the entire painting until it has taken on a slightly muted, aged appearance.

Allow the varnish to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

Apply cracking varnish over the wet ageing varnish using the same long, vertical strokes you used with the ageing varnish. This will give your painting the crackled-paint look of many antique paintings.

Allow the varnish to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

Make sure that the object is free of debris.

Coat a round, fine bristled brush with the ageing varnish. Test the look of the varnish by first applying it to a small section of the object, preferably in a corner that will be hidden when the object is displayed. Continue applying the varnish when you are pleased with result.

Use long, vertical strokes to apply a thin layer of varnish to the entire object until it has taken on a slightly muted, aged appearance.

Allow the varnish to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

Apply cracking varnish over the wet ageing varnish using the same long, vertical strokes you used with the ageing varnish. This will give your object the crackled-paint look of many antique vases and painted sculptures.

Allow the varnish to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

Things You'll Need

  • Ageing varnish (such as Lefranc Ageing Varnish)
  • Wide, fine bristled paint brush for paintings
  • Round, fine bristled paint brush for three-dimensional objects
  • Paint cracking varnish, if desired (such as Lefranc Cracking Varnish)
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About the Author

Jake Essene began writing in 1993 and has published articles in regional newspapers such as the "Daily Intelligencer" and legal journals such as the "Ohio Northern Law Review." Essene earned a Bachelor of Science in theology at Philadelphia Biblical University, with additional studies in archeology at the Jerusalem University College. He then earned a Juris Doctor at the Pettit College of Law.