The natural patina that develops on old metal has become a popular finish for everything from wooden dressers to metal candlesticks. A lot of the home decor items we purchase today will not patina naturally, and, even if they did, would take a long time to do so. That’s where faux patina finishes come in.
You can create a beautiful authentic-looking patina using lots of techniques. From specialty products to DIY solutions, this article covers the best options for a furniture makeover with patina.
Dixie Belle Patina Paint
Dixie Belle’s patina paint system is by far the most popular way to patina furniture and home decor items. Dixie Belle offers a quality line of products that are easy to use and give a variety of beautiful results.
- Paint your piece with one coat of any Dixie Belle chalk paint (a dark brown color is a good place to start). Let dry.
- Paint your piece with one coat of the iron, copper, or bronze patina paint using a stippling motion instead of smooth strokes. Let dry.
- Paint your piece with another coat of the patina paint again using a stippling motion. While the paint is wet, spray with either the blue or green patina aging solution.
- Note that the iron will only be activated with the green spray not the blue. In addition, if you’re painting a metal surface, you must use Prime Start instead of the Dixie Belle chalk paint to prevent the spray from degrading the metal. If you like, you can seal the whole piece with Gator Hide top coat.
Unlike some of the techniques below that require layering of multiple paint colors to create a faux finish, Dixie Belle’s system is easy to use and creates a true patina! The paints contain real metal and the activation spray speeds up the oxidation process that would usually happen over time.
While the Dixie Belle system is easy to use, it also has room for a lot of variety. You can use both the green and blue patina sprays and use multiple paint colors to create a really unique look!
DIY Patina Finish with Regular Paint
While the Dixie Belle system is easy to work with, there are other ways to get a lovely patina finish that will involve more of your creative skills! There is a basic painting technique to a DIY patina, but there are lots of variations and ways to make it your own.
- Paint your piece with the color(s) of the patina you want (e.g. if you want a rust patina, paint with a rust-colored paint).
- Paint your piece with the color(s) you want the finished piece to be.
- Sand/distress some of the second color to reveal the patina color underneath.
- Touchup using all the colors you chose and a detail color like black.
You can adjust this basic technique using all sorts of tricks. You can use textured spray paint to create patina. This is especially helpful when you want to paint metal. If you’re using patina spray paint, you can also use chunky salt to create an authentic rusted look; check out this tutorial from Hot Rod.
DIY Patina Finish with Science
If you’re working on a metal piece, instead of using a patina paint for metal, you can actually create a real patina by speeding up the aging process. This can include using acid and other household ingredients along with scrubbing with wire brushes.
Creating a natural patina this way will give you a really unique look since you don’t quite know how the metal will react with the ingredients you’re using. Check out these two articles (1 and 2) for more information about creating natural patina at home.
I’m going to finish this article by mentioning a couple other faux patina paint brands. Dixie Belle is by far the most popular, but it isn’t the only brand selling products to help create a faux finish at home.
In this article, you can read about Salvaged Patina and see some absolutely GORGEOUS pieces the blogger created with their blue-green patina paints. Or check out Modern Masters oxidizing copper patina paint which, like Dixie Belle, has real metal pieces in the paint.
From faux copper finishes to paint with real flecks of copper to using household ingredients to create lovely patinas, the world of patina paint is wide! Use your creative skills, and be sure to let us know below what projects you take on.