As I've mentioned before, I think our children will groan at all the effort we put into making things aged and vintage looking.
Can't you just hear them? ("Aging dust? You wrote a whole post about how to make things look old? Seriously Mom?!")
I wonder why we like vintage so much right now. Is it a pendulum swing from the bright, gaudy, shiny look of some years ago? Does it stem from an inner longing for the 'good old days' people talk about? Unless I'm mistaken, our grandparents wouldn't have spent even a minute using 'aging dust' on their freshly painted whatevers.
But hey, we like vintage! We want vintage! We want old looking furniture! And we want to know about using wax and aging dust.
When I was brainstorming my clock pedestal table, I researched and researched aging techniques. For this project I wanted a nice, neat paint job...no distressed edges or chipped paint for this beauty. But I still wanted it to have just a bit of texture, a bit of old, a bit vintage.
All my hours online led me to this: American Paint Company American Grit. To save some typing, we'll call it APC American Grit from now on.
It looked like it was just the ticket. There are other aging grits and powders out there, but I had already settled on the APC clear wax as the one I wanted to try next (I had read some very good reviews) so this particular aging grit was the one I was going to try.
The problem was, I could only find a very few posts in which people talked about how to use American Grit, and I still had questions afterward. I bought it anyway, winged it, and loved the results!
(side of the little pedestal clock end table)
I realize this is aimed at a small niche of interested people. If you have no interest whatsoever in the topic I would never make you stay put and read it through! Even if I actually could. Feel free to tune out and tune back in next week for a surprise. Even I don't know what I'll be writing about yet.
Alright, here we have the APC Clear wax and American Grit, along with a chip brush for each. This wax is meant to be used over chalk paint.
For the purpose of this review/tutorial I mixed up four tiny batches of chalk paint with leftover wall paint and this lovely Chalky Paint Powder, which I reviewed here. I made makeshift little sample boards with some flat surface and some carved detail, then painted them.
I still haven't invested in an actual, expensive, wax brush, I just use chip brushes. This time I used the tip I found here of cutting the bristles shorter to make it stiffer and more like a real wax brush. It worked splendidly!
(Top half waxed, bottom half still flat chalk paint.)
I really, really like this APC clear wax! Before I tried this I had used the Minwax Paste Finishing Wax that many bloggers recommend as being cheap and 'works just as good as the expensive chalk paint brands of waxes'. I HATED it. It's a hard paste, so it was hard to work with and left crumbly bits of wax everywhere. It was also orangish-yellow, which didn't work very well over white. I suppose there's probably a learning curve to it and it did its job, but meh.
The APC wax is clear, and SOFT. You just dip a bit onto your brush and work it into the paint. You don't need very much at all, just a thin, even layer and 'scrub' it in, for lack of a better term. This is why stiffer brushes work well.
Now on to the fun part, the American Grit.
It's recommended to wait a bit after you wax before using the powder. I wouldn't wait much more than ten or fifteen minutes. It might still be pretty wet, but once it's dry or even partly dry the powder won't want to stick and it's not as workable.
I usually get a little dust on my brush, and just pounce it off randomly at first.
Then lightly work it into the wax with your brush. If you want a lot of distressing, use a lot of powder. If you want just a bit use less.
The fun of it is that it's very workable. you can leave it just how you brushed it in and let it dry like that. Or, you can take a soft rag and remove some of it until it's just how you want it. In the above photo, I wiped most of the grit away from the left side, leaving it with just a little distressed texture.
Really, as long as the wax is wet you can use a rag to move the dust around until it suits you. My favorite way is to kind of pounce the rag against the dust in the wax. It makes it less streaky and looks very genuinely old!
Ok, so let it dry, then it's on to buffing, my favorite step. It turns what you're working on from flat and drab to fab. I love the sheen of waxed paint! I just use a soft rag and rub the wax until it glows. Pretty simple.
So let's look at the results.
Well, you can certainly see the distressing on the white, but the others? Let's look more closely.
It shows up a little (a bit more than the photos show).....but not nearly as well as on the white. I'd only used it with white before, and there a little goes a long way and too much grit changes the look drastically. I think when working with darker colors you would need to be quite a bit more heavy-handed than I was here to get the desired results. If you want to use it with dark colors, don't do like I did and skimp, dump that stuff on!
I think this aging grit is at its best when used with really detailed carvings that it can sink down into. It also works extremely well with whites and creams. I love the naturally aged look you can achieve with it. I'm going to keep using it on projects and now I really want to experiment more with darker colors. Maybe I'll update this post sometime in the future with my results.
In the meantime, if you've ever used American Grit or any other aging dust and have any input on the subject, leave a comment for me below. I'm always interested in other people's thoughts and experiences. 🙂