Giving an “Aged look” to your fireplace surround is done with a staining or antique glaze method. The fireplace surround is the whole area around your fireplace, including the mantle sitting on it if there is one. Carved wood surrounds look especially nice when aged, or antiqued. Antique glaze works nicely on any color of paint on wood or finish.
How Do You Give an Aged Look to a Wood Surround?
When applying a staining agent to a fireplace surround it really does not matter what the material is. Metal, brick, and stone can also be aged. Wood is really nice when aged and the method is quite accessible with antiquing glaze. How would you go about this? Basically there are only two steps, apply glaze and wipe off. (Always make sure you read the entire instructions first before doing any “How To” projects.) THESE DIRECTIONS ARE NOT FOR UNFINISHED WOOD. Unfinished wood will not work with antique glaze, or stains for aging because the wood will absorb too much color.
Apply Antique Glaze
Antique glaze has many of the properties of stain. They are both very similar. Glaze is a little thicker and easier to work with. You can buy it in kits, or find it at your local builders supply, or possibly in a crafter’s shop.
Antiquing a surround is done the same way it is done to furniture. Dip your brush or sponge brush into the antique glaze and lightly paint the surround, concentrating on crevices, grooves, corners, and carvings. Leave the glaze a little thicker in these areas. If you use a sponge brush you can just toss it, and it cuts down on clean up chores such as cleaning the brush with turpentine when you are done.
You don’t completely cover the article to be aged, but just kind of smear it on, leaving more in the corners and crevices as mentioned earlier. The glaze is just going to be wiped off anyways as you will see in the next step.
The dry time is fairly quick with glaze so you might want to work in sections on your surround. Do a section, wipe, as described in next step, then do another section and so on. The applying and the wiping needs to be done fairly quick. Applying antique glaze is just like applying stain only it is thicker and works better on painted surfaces. Try not to get the antique glaze on other stuff such as the floor in your work area. If you do wipe it up immediately, and it won’t be a problem.
You can also use a home made mix of acrylic paint, a little water, and “drying retarder” in place of antique glaze. If you are an artist you might have these things on hand. The color of acrylic you would want to use is brown or any of it’s derivatives such as burnt umber or burnt sienna. It doesn’t really save any money and it is much more convenient just buying an antiquing kit or a can of antiquing glaze.
Rub With Soft Absorbent Cloth
What you are going to do next is wipe most of the antique glaze off. Old torn T-Shirts are the best material to do this with. It may seem strange painting something to be wiped off, but the darkness of the antique glaze stays behind in the corners and grooves giving an aged appearance.
If your surround is basically flat without any carvings, grooves, or other texture to catch the glaze it will still be in any corners or where they join. On the flat areas where there was nothing to catch the glaze leave the glaze a little darker on the edges and work your way to the center of each part of the surround until you have left hardly any in the middle areas. It is better to wipe off more than less. You can always apply more glaze if you want. When you are done and satisfied with your result simply throw the cloths you used in your utility bin of trash. This really cuts down on clean up along with sponge brushes.
The Aged Look for Your Fireplace Surround
You have now finished your project of giving an aged look to your fireplace surround. If you want extra protection and durability you can add a sealant to the finished product. It is not really necessary if you used antiquing glaze as it has a sort of natural sealant.
If you used just straight stain, applying a sealant is recommended for the sheen look. Any commercial clear sealant for wood will work. Now it is time to sit back and enjoy your “new” fireplace surround with its classical aged look.