Oil Rubbed Bronze Makeover

3 Materials
2 Hours

If you saw this at a flea market or yard sale would you pass on by it because it looks so dated? It didnt have any chips or cracks but yet it wouldn't steal your attention enough to give it a second thought? Well you should have bought it!!

antique bronze vase makeover

For just a few dollars and a few hours of your time it could be totally transformed, let me show you how. First, you'll need a small crock of chalkboard paint and a bottle of craft paint in a metallic copper finish. You'll also need a paint brush and some old rags.

antique bronze vase makeover
antique bronze vase makeover

I made sure the vase was dusted, cleaned and dry before I started to paint it, as you'd do with all used items. To prevent drips and enable me to paint near the bottom easier I used a block of wood to elevate it and a food tray cover to protect my work area.

antique bronze vase makeover

So basically its set up almost on a turn table because I can turn the vase around as I work since the wood block twists easily on the plastic cover. Here it is with the black chalk paint applied, one coat was almost sufficient except for a few areas where the pattern grooves were deep.

antique bronze vase makeover
antique bronze vase makeover

The paint dries very quickly but I allowed for 24 hours before I went on to the next step of applying the metallic paint.

For this step I found I needed to work quickly because I wanted to wipe most of the paint off before it dried on to the surface. I worked in patches, using circular motions to ensure that the paint got into the grooves.

Next, I wiped that patch area with the damp cloths to remove most of the metallic paint, no need to scrub! This allowed me to still have both colors visible, the top one doesn't block out the base coat because you remove a lot of it.

antique bronze vase makeover

Above photo shows how it looked when the metallic paint was applied over top, while the bottom shows how it looks after it was wiped. The copper-bronze metallic highlights the pattern beautifully.

antique bronze vase makeover

Once this was dry I gave the entire vase a protective coat of Min-wax furniture paste and buffed it to a silky smooth finish by hand. The lint free rags I had cut up were perfect for this, t-shirts are perfect!

antique bronze vase makeover

It went from a tired, dated, green look to a rich, antique, bronze finish, here's how it looks now!

antique bronze vase makeover

I had some reeds and twigs here already in other vases so I chose a grouping that tied in nicely with the vase finish. Here's how it all came together.

antique bronze vase makeover

Here's the before and after side by side to show you the dramatic transformation. It now looks like a million bucks, well maybe at least a hundred! I was super pleased with the outcome and for minimal effort and cost.

antique bronze vase makeover

As a side note I realized the copper metallic I bought seemed too pink for my taste so I added a few drops of bronze metallic paint as seen below. That was my personal preference that I thought I'd share with you. Another note is all of these paints are water clean up, no fumes and fast drying.

antique bronze vase makeover

Maybe I've inspired you to give those dull, dated items at the thrift store a second look and a much needed makeover. Experiment, try new products because after all thrifted items cost less. Youll get to explore your creative side and possibly transform an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan! Most of all have fun during the process!

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Teresa Anderson-Briney
    on Mar 12, 2018

    I have two "lamps" that I inherited that are made of some type of metal..looks like bronze. They came from India and look like they were vases to begin with, then converted to lamps. Any suggestions ?? What can I do with them??

    • Diane Navyac McClellan
      on Mar 26, 2018

      I've redone quite a few lamps with the different types,of spray paints....some metal some glass. They turned out nice. A few I just changed the color and sprayed the flock type paint, where it's kind of rough....turned out great. Lamps and shades are outrageous,buying new

Join the conversation

8 of 13 comments
  • Sls32892805
    on Mar 14, 2018

    Now I will be on the lookout for old lamps that have that shape, right?

    • Sea Trace Creations
      on Mar 14, 2018

      Yes, great idea but this was bought as a vase or urn for flower arrangements I just updated the finish. Have fun and happy treasure hunting!

  • Patricia
    on Apr 3, 2018

    Love the result you achieved!

    • Sea Trace Creations
      on Apr 21, 2018

      Thanks, I was super pleased and I'm about to try this method on a moose antler next for rustic decor.

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