Stately English gardens were designed with statues or small buildings, called follies, in the distance. The current market for vintage and antique statuary is brisk and the statuary can command high prices, so garden designers may be deterred from purchasing vintage statues. Many modern companies manufacture replicas of the traditional statuary in metal, concrete, stone and plaster, but the process of adding a patina and antique look of the statuary is up to the new owners.
How to Make Garden Statues Look Like Antiques
Clean all dust, dirt and pollution from the statue. It should be clean so that the finishes will stick to the surface. This is the most important step in creating the piece.
Look at the statute to determine the sheltered parts. Sheltered parts include any areas under arms, drapery, hair or the bottom of the legs in a seated statue. These parts would be darker after years of age.
Look at the statue to determine what parts are exposed. These would be the lightest-looking part of the statute. They should look like they were exposed to years of weather and sunlight.
Determine any parts of the statue that may have been exposed to years of wear, parts that may have been rubbed by branches or touched by garden visitors as they were seated on the statue or held onto as handrails moving from one level to the next.
Determine where animals, particularly birds, may have landed or built nests in the statue. These will usually be crevices in the design. Add weathering to this part of the statue, usually a dark color with spatterings of white.
Paint in the sheltered wear. The color used will depend on the statue composition materials, but it will usually include a dark gray for a concrete statue, dark brown on metal statuary, or dark brown for use with a wooden statue. Use the paint on the sections underneath where the snow, rain and weather would not have worn. Apply the first layer of paint in a light coat and allow it to dry before adding any additional shading.
On the most exposed areas of the statue, use the steel wool in large circles to add wear marks. Begin with the finest grade steel wool and step back to view the overall wear design. If the grade is not rough enough to make visible wear marks, continue with the next roughest grade of wool.
If the statue is close to the ground or a water feature, use a fine spray from a can running from the bottom of the statue up a few inches. Begin with a paint one tint darker than the statue. Allow it to dry then blend in the paint edges with the steel wool.
Use the hose to wet the entire statue. Imagine rainwater pouring over the statue, and note where the water drains over the design. Mix the dark black or gray paint with a dark green. Using long, small strokes, insert the paint, while the statue is still wet, into the cracks and design elements where the water drains. Allow to dry.