Raise your hand if you’ve been drooling over the Artisan vases from Pottery Barn. OK, that’s everyone! Those sculptural vases are popping up everywhere and they look amazing. While it’s fun to window shop online, I can now tell you it’s even more fun to make your own DIY Aged Vase! And no, it doesn’t involve digging up garden soil.
I’ve been seeing a few aged pottery projects recently but they’re all based on rubbing mud on your vase. As a gardener, I have no problem dirtying my hands with potting soil but bringing it into my home? I couldn’t wrap my head around how cleaning the vase would fare long term. I decided to make my own DIY Aged Vase with what I imagined was durable dirt: wood stain!
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For this DIY Aged Vase hack, you’ll need…
- Old vase and/or pots
- Paint in Black and Cream colors
- Wood stain in medium and dark
- Baking soda
- Old rag or sponges
- Fine-grit sandpaper
Find more materials here 👇
Watch the video
Step 1: Paint the vase black
This is the pot I found at my local thrift store. It reminds me of the kind of pots used for pickling or making vinegar. I loved the shape but was not a fan of the color or the sheen.
First off, paint your thrifted vase with black paint. It doesn’t matter if your paint is matte or has a sheen. The point of this step is to create a base layer that will show up when you sand the vase at the end.
Once you’ve painted the whole vase, sprinkle some baking soda over the fresh paint. Make sure you create uneven areas with puddles of baking soda. The powder will stick to the wet paint. Some of it might fall off, that’s fine!
The baking soda will help make your vase look aged. When you apply the next coat of paint, the powder will react with the water in the paint and bubble up, creating rugged areas all over the vase.
Step 2: Apply the cream color
Once the layer of black paint has dried fully, cover the whole vase with cream-colored chalk paint. The baking soda will start to bubble up and you might already see some black paint peeking through!
Tip: Make sure you paint in horizontal strokes to give the vase a hand-turned ceramic look
Step 3: Rub on a light wood stain
When your cream chalk paint has dried, prepare your wood stain. I diluted a medium oak stain with a ration of about 1/4 wood stain to 3/4 water. This will depend on your wood stain so try this dilution on an inconspicuous area of the pot. If it seems too dark, dilute it more until you get a very light tan water.
Rub the diluted wood stain over the entire vase using horizontal strokes. Don’t try to make it perfect. In fact, the more imperfect the better!!
Step 4: Age the vase with dark wood stain
You’ll now have a pot that looks like one of these perfect cream gesso vases from the 90s, which is definitely not the look we’re going for!
To give the pot more dimension, dilute some dark wood stain (like walnut or dark oak) and rub it along the bottom and top of the vase. The best advice I can give you here is: make a mess! Make it uneven, make it dirty, we all spend our lives trying to keep things clean so this is cathartic. Enjoy!
Next, use some full-strength dark wood stain to rub around the top of the vase. With a fine paintbrush, apply some stain to the base of the handles and along the curve of the handles.
Basically, you’ll want to highlight areas of the vase that age fast due to frequent handling: the bottom, the handles, and the mouth of the vase.
For the final touch, use the dark wood stain to create imperfections on the body of the vase. Rub here, splatter there, feel free to get creative at this stage.
Before you walk off proudly with your newly aged pottery, give the whole vase a very light sanding with a fine-grit sandpaper. You can insist more in some areas, like the mouth of the vase or the handles, to reveal the black base paint.
Do take a step back every now and then to check out your vase with a fresh eye. It’s easy to go overboard. Rule of thumb: less is more 💚