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Aged Wall Paint Techniques

Mackenzie Wright

An aged wall can add a lot of character and help pull together certain decorating styles, such as country, rustic, French provincial, old world European or shabby chic. It's not hard to make a wall look like it's been neglected for years, it just takes some paint and the right techniques. Aged wall painting techniques can be applied directly to drywall, wood or paneled walls.

Crackle Painting Technique

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Crackle paint is achieved with a paint medium that's available at most paint stores. Prepare the wall with a base coat of latex paint in the desired accent color. Next, coat the wall with the medium. Add a top coat in the desired dominant wall color.

As the medium dries, it becomes clear and causes the top coat to crack and peel, revealing wisps of the base coat color beneath. The lighter the coating of crackle medium, the more subtle the results will be, with hairline cracks and an overall smoother look. For a more dramatic effect, with larger cracks and the appearance of peeling, apply a heavier coat of medium.

Waxing Technique for Layered Paint Look

This technique gives the appearance of a wall that has, over decades of use, been painted with layer after layer of paint, and then left to weather for a number of years. It's an easy look to achieve, and inexpensive; aside from regular painting supplies, all that is needed to achieve the look are some plain white utility candles. Three complimentary or contrasting colors of latex interior paint are used for this technique. Use the dominant color for the third and final coat.

Apply the first coat to the wall and allow it to dry for 24 hours. Rub the wall heavily with the candle, as if coloring with a crayon. Rub strategic areas where the paint may have worn off over the years, such as places where chairs might have scraped up against it, or around frames and molding, along with other randomly-chosen spots on the surface.

Paint the wall with a second coat and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. The places where the wax was applied will be visible, as the paint will be bumpy and will not have taken well. Sand the waxy areas away to reveal the color beneath. Wipe the walls with a damp rag to remove dust and debris. Rub more wax over the areas that are already exposed to extend beyond their edges, and a few other randomly-chosen spots.

Apply the third coat and allow it to dry. Sand away the waxy areas and wipe the wall clean.

Patina Wall Technique

Patina is the result of weathering, leaving characteristic rust stains and discoloration. Patina is most often associated with metal, but can occur on wood or drywall. This technique utilizes metallic paints and a craft medium that will quickly oxidize the surface to make it appear as though it's been exposed to the elements for years.

Prime the wall, then paint it with a metallic paint. Apply patina solution directly onto the painted surface. For touches of patina, apply the solution sporadically, such as in corners, around baseboards, under windows or where the wall meets the ceiling to look as though an old leak caused rust. Apply patina solution to the entire wall for a more dramatic look. Over the next few hours and days, the patina will oxidize the metallic paint to create mottled, colorful stains and discoloration.

Faded Embellishments Technique

This technique is more subtle, making a wall look as though it's grandly painted borders and embellishments have stood the test of time. The embellishments can trail around the room like a border, surround doors, windows and architectural details, or simply take the place of wall art on any surface.

Paint the wall with a base of flat or eggshell paint in the desired color. To further enhance the aged look, and add texture and depth to the wall, achieve a color-washing technique by mixing one part glaze to three parts paint in a slightly darker shade. Dip a rag into the mixture and rub it onto the wall in swirling motions.

Apply embellishments by hand, or using a stencil. If using several layers of color, allow each layer to dry thoroughly. Sand lightly to fade and distress the paint. After it dries, sand the top layer of paint the most heavily.

Frottage Technique

This technique comes from the French word meaning, "to rub." It is easily achieved and makes the wall appear like a neglected, old-world wall made of plaster. It works especially well with warm, rich colors, such as rusts, browns, golds and oranges.

Apply a base layer of interior paint to the wall and allow it to dry. Prepare paper, such as newspaper or paper bags, in advance by crumpling them up to create wrinkles and creases. Apply tinted glaze in a deeper or similar shade to the base in sections with a roller. Uncrumple the papers and press them to the wet glaze. After they've absorbed some of the glaze, peel the paper off, leaving the textures and creases impressed into the glaze, and some bare spots revealing the base coat. When the wall is completed and dried, apply a clear sealer to protect the glaze and simplify cleaning.