Old Masters Academy

How to Make a Painting Look Old

Acrylic painting techniques

How to Make a Painting Look Old


1. Allow the painting to dry if just completed. Apply clear acrylic to the painting to act as a base for the crackle paint application that will give your painting some age. The clear acrylic should be applied evenly to the surface of the painting following the original brush strokes. Allow the clear acrylic to dry before moving forward.

2. Prepare the crackle paint by adding the colors to it that closely match the areas you are trying to age prematurely. Not using color will result in the crackle paint turning white. Use colors that match the painting so that when it dries, it will look as though the paint is aged. Use a small amount of color for each batch of crackle paint you will use on the painting.

3. Apply the crackle paint to the surface of the painting. Apply it thickly for a more dramatic effect with large cracks or use small amounts for a subtle aging technique. Apply in the same direction as the brush strokes and allow the crackle paint to dry from one to three days. The thicker the application, the longer it will take to completely dry.

4.  Seal the crackle paint top prevent it from peeling or chipping. Use clear acrylic mixed with 50 percent water for a nice protective layer. Brush it on with a glazing brush to prevent air bubbles from forming. The clear acrylic mixed with water will strengthen the surface as well as add flexibility.

5.  Add some amber-tinted glaze or varnish on the painting after the crackle paint has dried and has been sealed. The light brown varnish will add to the look of the painting adding a certain patina that old paintings accumulate over time. Dilute the varnish or tint with 25 percent water so that the paint strokes and overall color can still be seen.

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