How to Antique Brass, Concrete, Wood, and Other Surfaces

Recently I discovered a cool finishing product called Gem Glo.

Gem Glo Glaze

It’s an oil-based glaze made by Gemini used by professional painters and furniture refinishers to create an antique effect. That sort of finish is useful not only for making something look older, but also for making it look not so cheap.

I bought it to use on my concrete fountain project, but it came in handy just this week while I was finishing up my new mailbox:

New Mailbox

Here’s the before picture. Yikes!


The (very important) address numbers I chose for the box were really shiny brass and originally stuck out like a sore thumb. I couldn’t bring myself to spend $20 a number at Restoration Hardware for an antique brass number, so these $3 ones from Home Depot were going to have to do.

I sponged some of the Van Dyke brown glaze onto them, and ragged the excess off with a bunched up cheesecloth. Here you can see the difference.  (With the glaze, without, and then obviously still in the package…)

The glaze costs around $18 a quart at Texas Paint. I do not think you can get this at the big hardware stores. It is expensive, but the paint guy told me it would go a long way, and that appears to be true. It has a more watery yet more clingy consistency than paint, which makes it work better at sticking in nooks and crannies.

Have you used glaze or paint for antiquing? Please comment!


6 responses to “How to Antique Brass, Concrete, Wood, and Other Surfaces

  1. Does this product dry properly on metal surfaces? I tried using oil based stains on a lamp base and it stayed sticky for a long time. I finally used a very fine application of spray paint and smearing it with a brush.

  2. Yes it dries. The instructions said that the finish needed a clear coat over it. I had some extra clear spray in the garage and used that for the fountain and the numbers, and thus far they appear fine. Matte works better I think.

  3. Hi there, is the color Bronzy or Brassy?
    I cannot find antique brass, which has a greenish tint, bronze is too redish. I used to use “Design Master” brand. It’s a wonderful spray paint, especially on metal.
    Maybe they stopped making it…

  4. Neither really — it’s just dark brown. The bronzy or brassy effect would come from what’s beneath the glaze.

  5. Hi Erin, I have a problem. We just had a concrete area added to our back yard and the builder was to colour and stamp the concrete and add a antique finish. The colouring and stamping went well (it is a tan colour) but he forgot to add the antique look. My wife is very disappointed. Would Gem Go work or would it change the colour? The concrete hasn’t been sealed yet so we could still do something. Thanks for any advice.

  6. I don’t think Gem Glo would change the color, but it would be advisable to test it out on a small area first.

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