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Aging Techniques for Mixed Media & Collage by Tatiana Kuzyk
Tatiana Kuzyk : Aging Techniques for Mixed Media & Collage

Simple Aging Techniques for Mixed Media & Collage

From a Contemporary Artwork to a Vintage, Antiquated Gem!

By Tatiana Kuzyk

A friend of mine was recently telling me about his father's antique books collection and commented, "You know, it takes one hundred years for a book to become a hundred-years-old." Hmm, I thought to myself, that's true, but give me a new book and I can 'age' it within hours by decades and, with some help from a couple of tools, by a century. Of course it will not be a genuine antique, but it will look like one. I love to explore new ways to alter images and backgrounds I work with. Think about any given artifact and its whereabouts from its creation to the moment you're holding it in your own hands — to whom it had belonged in the past, who had put his or her individual imprint upon it, who loved and cherished it, to whom it might've been a painful memento of a lost loved one. Each antique forever carries its silent secrets.

You can use a photograph, a sheet of a scrapbooking paper, pages from a magazine or a book, or even one of the countless royalty-free clipart imagery available online, and by applying one of the below techniques, 'turn back time' on it. Anything is a 'go' when it comes to the CAP — Creative Aging Process, except for an anti-wrinkle cream or Botox. The best part is, you can't get it wrong — heck, press a sole of a muddy rubber boot against the face of your image and you've collapsed time by, at least, ten years.

The following aging techniques are just a small sample I regularly experiment with and I sincerely hope that they will provide you with enough inspiration to explore and invent some of your very own.

I want to share with you a Golden Rule of Altered Art Making — Subtracting is as important as Addition (no math skills required). It will make all the sense to you while being illustrated by a multitude of examples as I will refer to this priceless rule throughout the article.

CAUTION! Altering images can be VERY addictive, proceed with ABANDON!

Suggested Materials:

In order to simplify the process I'll list all supplies used in the following techniques. Feel free to substitute or combine colors, mediums, tools and products' brands.

  • Variety of imagery of your choice including photos, scrapbooking paper, newspaper, magazines, handmade paper etc.
  • Golden Acrylics Glazing Liquid (Satin)
  • Golden Heavy Gel (Matte or Semi-Gloss)
  • Golden Self-Leveling Gel
  • Golden Clear Tar Gel
  • Palette knife
  • Acrylic Flat Brushes in various sizes (I used # 7,8,10 and 40)
  • Candle Lighter
  • Golden Liquid Acrylics: Quinacridone/ Nickel Azo Gold, Titan Buff, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Paynes Gray, Nickel Azo Yellow, Interference Red Oxide
  • Paper towel
  • 1 Make-up sponge wedge
  • Golden Archival Varnish (spray)
  • One or more rubber stamp with or without inkpad (I'll tell you about applying liquid acrylic paint to the surface of the stamp as an alternative to ink)
  • Wire brush
  • Small plastic cup


Picture 1

Picture 2

Gather all elements you want to include in your project and decide which ones must be altered before they will be permanently attached to the surface.

Picture 3

If you are using any printouts or photocopies, and I strongly urge you to only work with copies, not originals, I recommend that you apply two coats of Golden Archival Varnish to the surface. Because of the chemical content of this product make sure to work with it only in well-ventilated areas (I use my garage with doors open). Archival Varnish will create a transparent protective layer that will prevent any color or ink bleeding when you apply gel mediums or paints to the surface. This product also contains UVLS filters that will protect your artwork from UV-induced damages.

Picture 4

Next: Initial Altering Techniques »