How do I get that vintage, shabby chic, tattered look for my dollhouses? This is a question I'm asked over and over. So here's a little post about my favorite things that help me accomplish the look.
First, you may already have furniture pieces with beautiful lines that just need a little touch of revamp! You can either strip them with a furniture stripper you buy at the hardware store. Don't get the spray. There isn't enough in there and you don't have control of where it goes. Best to put the stripper on with a brush. I use Klean Strip, but any works. It's a paste and it works in about 10 to 15 minutes. You don't want to let it dry on the piece or it won't come off. You have to do it 2 or 3 time if you want it absolutely clean. But one time strip and cleaning with a wire brush or steel wool pad gives you a great shabby look. Then you can brush on some white, grey or robin egg blue in spots to look like left over paint.
Or you can use an easier method with a paint with the primer already in it. It coats everything and sticks to everything. One coat looks great, but two coats are needed if you want a pristine finish. I use Behr Paint + Primer. This is my favorite right now. No need to waste time stripping or doing 50,000 coats of paint. It's worth the money. Trust me!
Wainscoting is another big area of interest for everyone. You can use a ridged paper sold in the textured paper section of the scrapbook area in your hobby/craft store. It comes in unfinished brown or white. If you want bigger ridges get a cardboard box and rip off one side of the paper to reveal the ridges. You can even leave some of the paper to give you a more tattered look. This method is sometimes tedious if the box manufacturer used a lot of glue.
What sorts of paints do I use? Always acrylic. Easy clean up and no difference in your end product as far as dollhouses go.
Probably the most important tip I can give to achieve a perfectly shabby look is to use ink pads.
These are my favorites because the colors stay the same even if you add water. I use them on everything! You will be surprised at how much character this simple technique will give your project.