Antiquing Wall Decor with Sophisticated Finishes

Antiquing your own wood or metal wall decor is simple and creates a unique look for your home! You can give any surface an antique and aged look within hours. In this project, we’ll be using Sophisticated Finishes to give wooden letters an antiqued metal look, but you can also use surfaces such as ceramic, glass, plastic and metal.

Deciding on your look can be the toughest part! Below is a Sophisticated Finishes reactivity chart so you can see which metal surfaces work best with which antique finishes and tints. Remember that any clean, residue-free metal surface will also react the same as the metal surfacer.

Sophisticated Finishes Reactivity Chart

Materials for Antiquing:


Copper and Green Patina Antiquing

You can create a beautiful, aged copper patina look with ease. Almost any surface can be transformed to look old and worn with age.

First, prepare your wooden surfaces by applying a layer of Gesso. You could also substitute Sophisticated Finishes Primer and Clear Sealer for this step.

Let dry then apply your first layer of the Sophisticated Finishes Copper Surfacer to the letters that you would like to have a patina look. Shake the copper surfacer well. Pour a little bit at a time into a plastic cup or container and apply the first coat. Allow the first coat to dry for one hour. Then apply a second coat.

When you’re ready to apply the patina finish, do not allow the copper surface to dry completely. Wait about 3-10 minutes and while the paint is still tacky, apply the Patina Green Antiquing Solution. In a drier, arid climate, the paint may become tacky within a minute. The sooner you apply the patina solution, the brighter and more dramatic the color will be. Move the solution around so that it forms drips and puddles to vary the final look.

The patina should begin to show within minutes. You can also build the patina by allowing the first layer to dry for a few hours and then applying another coat on top. Be sure to use a different brush for each of the metal surfacers and antiquing solutions or just wash and dry brushes between use.

Iron and Rust Antiquing

Creating a rusted iron look on wood or any other surface is simple! You can get any surface to look weathered and rusted with just a few simple steps.

To get a rusted look, first apply a layer of gesso to your wooden item and allow it to dry. Then apply 2 coats of the Sophisticated Finishes Iron Surfacer, allowing at least 40 minutes to an hour between coats. Be sure to shake well before applying.

For an orange colored rust, allow the last coat of the iron surfacer to dry for a minimum of 2 hours. For redder colored rust, allow the last coat of iron surfacer to dry for 24 hours (but no longer than 36 hours). For best results, apply 2-3 coats of the Rust Antiquing Solution, allowing 40 minutes to dry between coats.

Play with the solution by letting it pool up and then lift up the item to allow drips to form. Apply more solution above the drip and allow it to drip some more. You can also splatter and drip the solution around, just be sure it is enough to pool up a bit. This will give you a darker and more dramatic rust look in the end.

Adding Texture and Dimension

Antiquing flat surfaces can be fun, but also a challenge, since there’s not much variety in the surface. For adding a more dramatic look, you can add a bit of gesso through a stencil with a pallet knife to get some texture.

Allow the gesso to dry and apply the Copper Surfacer to the gessoed areas. Let some of the copper surfacer drip down. Let dry and apply a second coat. Wait until the second coat is tacky and apply the Green Patina solution. Let it settle in the spaces between the texture as well as drip down the copper dripped areas.

You can also add dimension by building up the wooden layers. Try using alternating colors/patinas for each separate item in the layer. When dry, stack and glue the pieces together for an interesting look.

Sealing Patina or Rusted Surfaces

Sealing your antiqued surfaces is optional. If your item will come into contact with other surfaces, you may want to seal it to protect those surfaces. The unsealed surface will rub off on and stain other items (such as fabric). If the rusted item comes into contact with water, it will drip rusted liquid as well. Hanging on a wall or displaying on a mantle should be fine, but if the items will be sitting on a tablecloth (a frame or wooden box for example), then you should probably seal the surface. If you want to seal the surface, let the rust finish or patina fully mature over 3 days before applying a coat of Sophisticated Finishes Primer and Clear Sealer. The sealer will go on milky white but will dry clear. Allow the first coat to dry for 4 hours then apply a second coat.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to antique wood letters for home decor and that you’re inspired to antique paint something of your own!