I love vintage ornaments and Christmas decor. The patina of time just adds something special to them whether its a bit of fading, tinge of tarnish or the flattening of colors into a mellowed palette. Sadly, the good stuff is expensive, fragile and gasp, you better not re-craft it into anything but its original purpose. So, using some techniques I've developed over the years, during my stints as a department store visual designer, I cheat and make my own "vintage" using less than the best. I'll use dollar store decorations.
To recreate the vintage look we have to either create the illusion of age or deconstruct the finish somehow. Here are some simple ways to do it.
1) mimic age using pigmented paste wax
Using a soft lint free rag rub on a coat of pigmented paste wax. The wax I use is Howard's in a dark oak color. The wax dulls the mylar like finish and alters the colors to more of an antique hue. Fake silver becomes more champagne and gold becomes more brassy. The snow like mylar glitter starts to resemble glass and Mica glitter which was used in the early 1900's. The paste wax can be buffed once it is dry and removed selectively with either steel wool or a scotch brite pad. Notice on the mylar plastic tinsel tree and wreath how the paste wax makes the tinsel look like the old silver and tin used in days gone by. I love it.
Paste wax is flammable and contains petroleum distillates. Keep away from children, flame and heat sources until cured and always wear protective gloves and provide for fresh air ventilation.
2) Distress the finishes using steel wool
3) Use Rub-n-buff to mimic glass or metal
4) distress using fingernail polish Remover
Fingernail polish remover is flammable and contains petroleum distillates. Keep away from children, flame and heat sources until cured and always wear protective gloves and provide for fresh air ventilation. It may also dissolve and soften some plastics. Please test an inconspicuous area first if you are experimenting.
Using a combination of the steps above, I distressed a bunch of ornaments in a variety of sizes. Most of them I bought from the Dollar Store, Target, Michaels and Wallyworld aka Walmart. Keep an eye out for heavy discounting as the season moves on and start working on next years big wreath or faux vintage assemblage. Using the ornaments from this post, here's what I created. Share with me your newly vintage ornaments over on Facebook or Instagram or drop a comment or questions below. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from me to you!
Welcome to my Embellishments Journal, it's a new feature. I will be posting about some of our projects, sharing pictures and interesting things. Chime in, ask questions and keep your arms and hands inside the ride until it comes to a complete stop. -Aaron
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