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Giving a New Wardrobe an Aged Quality

A well aged well cared for wardrobe looks as though it has a story to tell. It brings an aura of history into a room. It carries an image of permanence and tradition. One cannot help but wonder about the lives of those who once depended upon the wardrobe for the safekeeping of their clothes and personal items. How can one get that aged aura a character in a new pine wardrobe?

Because pine is softwood, it is the perfect choice for creating furniture with a distressed look, by purposely damaging it. Pine dents very easily, and purposely marring it will give it the aged look that may have taken decades to achieve through normal use. There are a number of ways to achieve a distressed look on a wardrobe. You can use simple tools such as screwdrivers and hammers to mark marks in the wood.

You can create indentations in areas which would normally see wear over time – corners are a perfect example. Another proven distressing method is to fill a pillowcase with nuts and screws and carefully strike the wardrobe to create the telltale dents. Don’t become too enthusiastic as you wield your instruments of damage. You want the wardrobe to look aged through normal use, not damaged in a catastrophic accident.

When the marring process is satisfactorily finished and you’ve achieved your aged look, apply a coat of glaze to seal in the look. Try a satin finish, which usually enhances the aged look. If you find that you were a little too enthusiastic in your distressing process, consider paint to cover your mistakes and maintain the old distressed look.

If you decide to use paint, it’s easier to achieve a natural look using two coats of paint. First apply a water-based top coat to inhibit bleeding. An excellent look can be achieved by painting the two coats using an antique white paint. After the paint has dried thoroughly, use a fine sandpaper to remove sections of the paint in areas that would normally experience the most wear over time – drawers, door fronts, around knobs, on corners, and on legs. When you’re satisfied with the look of the artificially worn areas, apply one coat of a brown glaze to cover the exposed wood and give the white paint an aged look.

Using antique or reproduction hardware is the key to giving the aging process an authentic look. A distressed finish is always enhance by using antique brass, iron, or pewter knobs and hinges. There are many places to find such hardware: restoration hardware stores, antique stores, or used furniture stores. Selection the right hardware can be the most important consideration in achieving the desired look.

With your distressing and finishing completed, and your hardware attached, you will have created a beautiful piece of furniture which will already have the beginning of its own story—the story of its creation.