Asked on Jun 28, 2014

How can I age or distress on canvas?

Edith L
by Edith L
I made a porch rules subway art sign on canvas. I want to tone it down a bit, or age it. Can I use a stain on this? Or do a paint wash over it? Thanks!
  11 answers
  • Darla Darla on Jun 28, 2014
    It depends on what kind of paint you used to make your sign. If it was acrylic, you can put an earth-tone brown or gray acrylic or oil wash on it, and crumple up a paper towel or rag to dab off most of the wash. If you used watercolor paint, you will have to seal it before you do anything to it.
  • Jennifer G Jennifer G on Jun 28, 2014
    Tea and coffee 'age' fabric items really well. Just brew a strong cup and go to town! You can dip, spray or blot, depending on the effect you want. It dries darker, so do a coat, let it dry and do another if you want more 'aging'. Just make sure whatever medium you used to create your artwork is moisture resistant or it may run or bleed when you apply the tea or coffee to the canvas. NOTE: I usually do the tea stain to the fabric BEFORE I paint on it to avoid messy bleeding/dripping issues. Have Fun!
  • Edith L Edith L on Jun 28, 2014
    I used acrylic paint, does that matter?
    • Jennifer G Jennifer G on Jun 28, 2014
      @Edith L Paint up a scrap and try the tea/coffee on it first. I'd hate for your beautiful project to run… Once dry, acrylic paint should be okay, but I'd still do a test first to make sure :)
  • Edith L Edith L on Jun 28, 2014
    Oh, and I plan on sealing it after because it will hang outside, but in a protected area.
  • Sandra Sandra on Jun 28, 2014
    To distress I would use sand paper.
  • Deb Miljure Deb Miljure on Jun 28, 2014
    Try a tea stain. They used to use it to cover up stains on table cloths. You will need real tea and a bucket big enough to put your piece into and don't forget to steep for a while before you use it.
  • Edith L Edith L on Jun 28, 2014
    Here is the sign, I just want to tone down the blue a little.
    comment photo
    • Jennifer G Jennifer G on Jun 28, 2014
      @Edith L So pretty! A sea sponge, cheesecloth or even cotton balls would work to dab the tea on it. You don't really have to submerge (or soak) the whole thing. A spray bottle of tea/coffee would also work for faster coverage (and possibly a more even look).
  • Marcie Evanko San Miguel Marcie Evanko San Miguel on Jun 28, 2014
    Try a sample with the tea, but almost would be more tempted to use an antiquing paint over it with a sponge brush or even one of the large sponges with lots of holes. Do small sections at a time and use a crumpled paper towel to lift to the level you want. I know when I did ceramics they had a specific paint for antiquing, but then I just switched to craft store acrylic paints as they were much cheaper. Probably an earth tone as previously recommended would give that weathered, aged look on the main blue color. If you need to after it dries you can do another coat if you want darker.
  • Edith L Edith L on Jun 28, 2014
    thanks for all your ideas and suggestions.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 29, 2014
    Having done a lot of painting in the past, I would caution you to lay the piece flat and work carefully so it does not run and bring down your paint with it. A fine mist would be the best. If you want it distressed, then any bloopers caused by putting wet on dry will give you that look you are going for (paint reacts strangely sometimes). Have some soft clothes (or q-tips) handy to dab up any extra spray you might want to lift off.
  • Edith L Edith L on Jun 29, 2014
    thanks for that advice, Jeanette.