Monday, August 12, 2013

How to 'Antique' a Paperclay Sculpture

Hi there! I am very excited to share a fun tutorial with you today. I've been wanting to figure out a good way to give my sculptures an antique or primitive look, but everything I had tried before was unsuccessful and it was nearly impossible to find instructions for it online.

So after experimenting and taking bits and pieces from things I have read, I finally found a way that I am happy with to achieve the look I was going for.

I made this fun Wizard of Oz sculpture for my mom for our Handmade Summer Swap & just thought it would be the perfect sculpture to try it on. You can see how my antiquing trick made the details and creases have a brown sort of grungy look to them.

So now onto the tutorial! The way I achieved this look is fairly simple.

1. I sculpted the piece with Paperclay and let it dry.
2. After the clay was dry I painted it with acrylics.
3. Then I waited longer than usual for the acrylics to dry. (about 2-3 days instead of just 1)
4. After the paint was nice and dry, I varnished the piece. If you are new to varnishing, what I do is just get a bottle of varnish from Hobby Lobby (or whatever craft store you prefer) -- it's on the craft paint isle. I use the matte/satin finish, but they do have gloss if you prefer it. Then I just paint a layer of the varnish over my entire sculpture & let it dry overnight (or longer). This will help seal the piece.

Now, you could stop there and it would be a cute sculpture, but if you want to grunge it up, you will want to...
5. Choose a color of acrylic paint to use for the antiquing- I used a dark brown.
6. Mix/dilute the acrylic paint with some Extender for acrylic paint - you can also find this on the craft paint isle (it may be called Retarder or Extender, but both are the same).  I didn't measure how much paint vs how much extender I used, but you want it to look like watered-down paint that is rather see-through and not thick.
7. Next, brush on the paint/extender mixture over a small area of the sculpture - be sure to get it in the cracks & creases.
8. Get out a crappy rag that you don't care about and leave half of it dry, while getting the other half slightly damp. While the paint mixture is still wet on your sculpture, use the dry side of the rag to gently rub/wipe off the paint mixture in the areas that you don't want it to be. Don't rub too hard, or you could damage the under layers of paint.
9. If you like how it looks, you can move on to the next step, but if there is some paint that is being stubborn and won't rub off like it should, just gently use the damp side of your rag on it and it should come right off.
10. Gradually work your way around the entire sculpture doing this same technique until it is all antiqued and looking the way you like! You can always antique it multiple times if you are wanting it to have a super grungy look.
11. Let it dry overnight (or longer if desired), then paint on one last coating of varnish on the piece to seal it!

You're done!!
I hope the tutorial was helpful to you. It takes some practice and experimentation, but I really like the results. What do you think?

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