Sometimes when you are doing a mod part of the theme of it requires that the bright, shiny new parts be made to look old. This does not necessarily mean destroying or damaging it… but it can if you like.
Some of the more popular ways to do this include: creating “wear” on the item, faux finishes, and weathering the finish you already have. You can even use a combination of all the above.
Be sure to remove any sensitive electronics before you do any of these things, or you will damage your hardware.
One way I like of creating scratched-up wear on something is to just get dirty and do it. I like to use regular old dirt or mud. Get a handful of it and start playing with the item. Hold it and handle it the way you would when you use it. This helps the wear look more authentic. Depending on how much rock is in the dirt, it will scratch a lot or a little. Use finer dirt for a more subtle look. You can use files to gauge the surface. It all depends on the level you want to go to.
Faux finishes can be pretty cool also. Sometimes the look you are going for requires the surface to look like metal. Considering that most things these days are plastic (or if you have to make it yourself, it could even be fiberglass, Bondo or plaster), you can make it look like anything from steel or copper to gold. Another great thing is a lot of faux finishes have actual metal in them so you can weather these finishes the same way you would the real metal.
Weathering is really cool and very popular, so getting supplies is super easy. Your local art store will most likely have what you need. Look for patina green/blue for coppers and bronze, or rust solutions for irons.
Here is what I did for this demonstration:
I took a regular Logitech computer speaker and made it look like it was made of metal and sitting out in my yard getting all messed up for weeks.
Here is what I started with.
I decided to use an iron faux finish on the body of the speaker and copper on the base, ring, and speaker itself. The first step was to take it all apart.
Here are the base and ring being painted with copper faux finish which contains copper metal:
Here is the speaker painted with copper. When painting something like a speaker, be prepared -- you could damage it. Also only apply the paint with a small paintbrush. This will help prevent runs from ruining your stuff.
The next step is to weather the faux finishes. For the iron-covered body of the speaker, I used a rust solution. I did not paint this on; I dipped the paint brush in the solution and let it drip over the body. It was important to me to keep the look of rust, and it rusts more where water would run across the surface.
For the copper items, I used a patina-green solution. For the speaker, I painted it on very carefully. For the base and ring, I was a lot more liberal with it.
Here is the speaker after being weathered:
Here is what it looks like after it is was done:
The most important part is to just be creative. Use what you have, you’d be surprised about the stuff you have laying around the house and what it can do.