When I hear people talk about the word “patina” it seems to always be paired with a certain object.   I hear the word patina often used when someone is describing the aqua blue on an aged copper piece.  The deep brown of a metal object that has rusted past the beginning orange stages and onto the brown and black texture of an object truly aged by time is also considered “patina.”

rust,rusty, metal, yellow, car

Wood can also acquire a certain coloring, or patina, when it has been exposed to the elements of time, weather and/or physical contact.  This is the reason why people will lose their minds, like they just won an Olympic Medal, over barn wood or even your own storm ravaged wooden stockade fence panels that you put on the curb.  Those fence panels have turned a beautiful brown or silvery gray that is considered solid gold in the Junk World.  Why?!  Because it’s hard to replicate what nature has taken years to achieve.

 Peeling paint, shabby, blue, white, shabby, shabby chic

I have found myself, in the course of running my little antique, vintage, salvage and junk business, being requested to replicate age.  In other words: counterfeiting, reproducing, forging…okay, fine let’s just go with…

faking it.

 Why would I fake it instead of just using the real thing?

The first answer that comes to mind is time.  It takes a lot of time for a brand new, super shiny galvanized bucket to acquire that matte, silvery aged layer, for a metal object to rust past the new metal look or even past the initial orange stages of rust, or for wood to darken into a warm brown or silver into a gorgeous gray.  It can take years of rain, snow, wind and sun to transform a new object into an aged one.


The other answer I have as to why I fake it:  expense.  Years ago, a farmer might’ve paid you to demolish and remove a barn that is dangerously close to caving in on itself.  Now, that same farmer has become savvy to current trends and is charging an obscene amount of money, by the board foot, for that same barn wood.

 Texas Barn

For my own projects, and at the request of customers, I have faked rust, counterfeited the powdery layer on galvanized metal, replicated aged wood, forged the peeling paint look and even pulled a full on Houdini Heist while making a wooden object look like old, weathered zinc.  I loved every minute of it, too.  It’s the challenge, I think, because this is not your normal science class but, instead, a Mad Hatter’s Heist in how to pull “a fast one.”   First you see a wooden table, then POOF! Now you see an aged zinc metal table…

So welcome to…

The art of Faking It

a new sometimes series on Houdini style hacks to recreating rust, aged metal, worn wood, weathered stone and more!


  1. Cora
    April 16, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    I want to hear more about the “Poof” of a wooden table to an old metal zinc table. How did you do THAT!

  2. Derek
    April 16, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Thank god this article was about patina…hahaha
    Yeah, I love “relic” guitars. If done well (realistically) they actually cost more than a brand new shiny one! But there’s a reason. They give the player that feeling of playing with stories nobody knows. People wonder and imagine those stories of what happened to that “old” guitar. It somehow sounds better too. Might be just imagination, but isn’t imagination what inspires the most? And isn’t it inspiration that makes the world all better? Well then, money well spent I say.

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