Home » Thrift Store Decor » How To Make Paint Look Old Using Waxes And Toners

How To Make Paint Look Old Using Waxes And Toners

There is more than one way to make paint look old. I’m going to show you four ways to do just that today. These special paint techniques to age, antique, or make the paint look old are super easy.

4 Wood Trays Four Special Paint Techniques Petticoat Junktion project

I painted these four wood trays using four different techniques to age the paint. Then, I spruced them up with recycled belt handles.

After looking at the paint techniques and all of the trays, you’ll have to let me know which is your favorite color and technique.

trays before

I found the four wood trays at my favorite junk shop. They were three dollars each-you can’t beat that! Do the trays look heavy to you? They each weigh between 10 and 11 pounds. I know because I weighed them on my vintage kitchen scale!

painted trays

The day I painted the trays, I felt like experimenting. I have days like that, and sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. This was a good day.

I selected a popular paint color for each tray. Then I used various products on the trays to make each of them special. four special paint techniques Petticoat Junktion

I like all of the trays, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the black one. I bought belts at the local thrift store for $1 to $2 each, and I cut some of them up to make the unique handles.

I saw this idea somewhere months or years ago and loved the look. While I was searching for drawer pulls for the trays, I remembered the belt idea.

wood tray handles from recycled leather belts

The belt handles could be nailed or screwed on, but I used decorative tacks. This was easy, and I had the tacks on hand. The handles are decorative and not functional. Now we will look at the paints I used and the products that make the paint look old.

white paint distressed

First technique: The white tray is painted with Beyond Paint in Off-White. This paint is great. It’s an all-in-one primer, paint, and sealer. The paint is perfect for kitchen cabinets , too.

distressing white paint

I applied two coats of paint and distressed the paint with 100-grit sandpaper. This is the simplest technique for making the paint look worn or old. Distress the paint as much or as little as you like. A clear wax can always be applied to add extra sheen or for protection.

recycled belts for tray handles

I cut up the thrift store belt to make handles. I used the belt’s reverse side because it had a softer finish. Not sure what the material is.

tacks and leather belt for tray handles

I nailed the belt pieces to the tray using upholstery tacks. As I mentioned before, these are purely decorative, and on the heavy wood boxes, the belt handle would probably pull off if you tried lifting the tray by the handles.

waxed paint

Second technique. The black tray is painted inside with brown latex paint and the outside is Beyond Paint in Licorice. The white finish is Barnwood Wax from FolkArt.

black paint

This tray is two colors because I started painting it brown and then decided to go with black on the outside.

Barnwood Wax

I applied the Barnwood Wax using a soft, lint-free cloth. I just rubbed the wax on and then rubbed off the excess until I got the look I wanted. I don’t think they make the Barnwood Wax anymore but you can use a thin white wax or a whitewash technique to get the same look.

recycled leather belts for decorative tray handles

It’s the same process as for the white wood tray above but a different belt. This finish kind of has an alligatored look like old furniture finishes get sometime.

good with a hammer

I also tacked this belt on. I’ve mentioned being lazy, and you can see I take the easy route.

white wax over black paint and a recycled belt for a handle

How pretty is that? All of the belts I bought were faux leather, but they still look good. The day I went to the thrift store, I couldn’t find any belts made of real leather. They probably go pretty fast.

toner for antiquing or aging paint

Third technique. The brownish tray is painted with Beyond Paint in Pebble. Pebble is a neutral color, but it has a little pizazz, too. This is one of my favorite colors.

Caromal Colours Toner gives the tray an antiqued or aged look. I use this product on painted furniture all the time.

brush on toner for aging

You brush the toner over the paint. Then, wipe it off with a dry or damp rag.

wiping back toner

A damp rag will remove a lot of the toner; a dry rag does just the opposite. The toner seeps into the little dings and crevices in the tray.

It’s best to wait until the paint has cured for several days before using wax or toner on a paint project. The paint may come off in places if not dried well.

Antiquing paint Petticoat junktion how to use waxes and toners

See what a difference an extra step makes when you paint something. You can use any of these techniques on painted furniture or home decor items.

dark wax for antiquing and aging paint

Fourth technique. The bluish turquoise paint is an oops paint sample. You have to love the price of 50 cents. Howard’s wax in Golden Oak gives the paint an aged look.

rub on dark wax for aging and antique effect

Always apply wax with a lint-free cloth (old sheets work great). Howard’s wax is available in neutral or clear also and there is a walnut color that gives a deep color to paint.

Wait about 20 minutes, then buff the wax with a dry lint-free rag. Buffing the wax is what makes it shine.

waxes for antiquing paint

Like toner, the wax also gathers in the dings and crevices of the tray, adding to the aged look.

I made a short video on how to antique painted furniture using toner. You can see it at the end of the post, or you can go to that post here.

It’s time to tell me which technique is your favorite or which you want to try.

I listed the products below, and all can be found on Amazon except for the Caromal Colours Toner, which I linked to their website.

Products used for this project:
Beyond Paint
Howard’s Wax – Golden Oak (no longer available try this Liberon wax instead)
Caromal Colours Toner
Painted Finishes Barnwood Wax (try this white wax instead)
Upholstery Tacks

How To Use Waxes and Toners to Antique or Age Paint Petticoat Junktion

How To Use Waxes and Toners To Make Paint Look Old

Be sure and watch my video on How To Antique Furniture…

How To Antique Furniture Video Tutorial


As always, thanks for being here and have a great day, Kathy

Kathy Owen founder of Petticoat Junktion
 | Website

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Funny that I found this, because I have three boxes already. I planned to use these for our cats after I put leather handles on them. They are to sit on a long and low dresser under the living room windows. Thanks for reminding me what I wanted to do with them. I will make each one a different color also.

  2. No! Use them in a project. I brought home a bunch of Dad’s old belts on my latest visit to him. I plan to make some more recycled belt projects!

  3. How is this for serendipity – I was cleaning out my husband’s closet today as he passed away recently and guess what I found? lots of leather belts which I am definitely not going to throw out now.

  4. I love the trays! The colors are great. Thank you for sharing this tutorial, Kathy 🙂 I’ll definitely be trying out one of these methods for my next project.

  5. I think if the sides were shorter, they would make great casserole holders, and help keep casserole warm longer. Love the handles and the colors you chose

  6. Kathy! I would be the one at the booth picking up each one saying, ‘Oh I love this! Wait! I love this one! & this one too! Oh rats I’ll take them all!’

  7. Those handles do make such a big difference Kathy and I’m loving your experimental paint techniques. I can’t really decide which one I like more, but I think I’m leaning towards the blue. I’ve always been partial towards blue and brown

  8. Hi Ann, I haven’t written the post for that yet. Hopefully it will be coming on Tuesday! Stay tuned.

  9. I love these and the belt idea is great! I love adding things to my stash of stuff and leather belts will definitely be something I’ll use in future projects! Thanks! Pinning 🙂

  10. Love all four finishes equally, Kathy and would have a hard time picking just one from your booth. The leather handles are perfect too. Pinning to share.

  11. Your trays look awesome Kathy! I just picked up a couple of great belts for .50 each last week for this very purpose. 🙂

    I love the colors.


  12. Love the trays. I’ll be looking forward to your post where you talk about the different paint techniques. Black one is extra awesome.

  13. These are fantastic 10-11 pounds each, like weight training. Can’t wait to read painting techniques


  14. I love all four of those trays Kathy… and the leather handles… LOVE!

  15. I love the tray’s! They all turned out really nice. I like the handles with the decorative tacks. I wouldn’t be carrying them around, I would use for decorative purposes. I can’t pick a favorite, I like them all. Can’t wait to learn your technique’s.