View Full Version : Aging Costumes...

07-29-2009, 12:34 PM

Whats the best way to age costumes? I'm looking to make a few costumes look "dusty" and "dirty"... keep it professional, I don't want
any "go bury it outside" responses. Hahahaha...

Thanks in advance. -Tyler

The Doctor
07-29-2009, 01:12 PM
A belt sander can give it a worn and tattered look, and a gray or brown mortar lightly dusted on it will give it that dirty dusty look. Be careful with the belt sander it can bite.

07-29-2009, 02:03 PM
Wow... never even thought of the mortar! Thanks for that! Oh, I hear ya' on the sander... hahahaha... ;) -Tyler

07-29-2009, 03:02 PM
Black and brown flat spray paint.

07-29-2009, 04:05 PM

If you have airbrushes for makeup for your haunt, I would go out to the art supply store and buy fabric paint designed to paint t-shirts. Createx and Airtex are good brands. They are simply thinned down acrylic paint and are water based. Load the paint into your airbrushes and away you go. Lightly mist the areas with a gray. The key here is lightly. It will make them look worn and faded. Use varying shades of brown and white. True dust is light colored not dark like black or dark brown. When you're done with the paint make sure you run the painted area under a dryer for a few minutes to "set" the paint. You can also throw it in a dryer or a hot car in the summer.

For stains, try rit dyes and colorfast inks to splatter and pigment them. These will creater dark spots like and interesting runs and splotches. Use an ink bottle dropper and a spray bottle full of water to create interesting effects. Remember all these things are designed for fabrics and will not stiffen like spray paint, a commom newby mistake! With proper care and minimal fading, they should be fairly cleanable. Bleach in a spray bottle works well to discolor some fabrics. Just make sure to use common sense and don't get it into your eyes or on your hands.



07-29-2009, 04:10 PM
Awesome, thanks for the tips! Def. going out to get some of the paints for the airbrush! I'll post pics of what I'm working on once it's done!

Thanks all! -Tyler

Allen H
07-29-2009, 04:59 PM
I agree with what the others mentioned and would like to add...
I will mix latex paint (greens, browns, grays) with water so it is super thin, and spatter and or dunk the piece in the mix, with the right kind of technique it can look like sweat rings, mildew, mold, or general dirt. Its important to know how clothes age special attention paid to ends of sleeves, around the neck, under the arms, and the hems of the shirts as those parts tend to show age fastest.
Also keep in mind its very easy to "age" them so much they do not last the season, so use the belt sander cautiously.
Good luck
Allen H

07-29-2009, 08:17 PM
As odd as this sounds a Cheese Grater works fantastic

07-29-2009, 11:43 PM
Dont forget about the GRINDER ...lmfao... hell yeah.... Basically anything that will wear the sh*t out of the material is great for distressing...

This aside ----> I have to harp on the ol' bury them in the backyard.... mother natures disstressing is BEST !

Just try not to make it look like most of the crap out there ( Real jagged and torn like you just grabbed a pair of sissors and disstressed a new pair of jeans ) LMFAO that just looks so damn horrible... As sick as it is here is what I have done in the past.... I pick up some meat soak the clothes in meat and whatever then bury them for about 2 mos in the ground ( The longer the better ) they will rot and distress on there own and the results are pretty cool... another thing is to bleach the color out a bit.... ( I.E. jeans ) blue blue jeans such aXX unless yer from the 50's.... Oh yeah make sure ya wash them clothes after letting them rot in the ground.... we dont need another swine virus.... ( LMFAO ) DIRTY LIL BASTARDS...

( HELL.... Speaking of which... Dont forget to take notice to our LIL DIRTY BASTARD "Dirt Spray" ) ----> We are currently out of stock ( Thanx to a few baddass customers ) But hope to have some for everyone to try out at one of the upcoming shows... We are eventually going to bite the bullet and get a booth ( Damn shows are expensive )
Why cant we bring the cost down ?? It seems as if Transworld is upwards of 5 and 6 grand for Vendors... ( Big Vendors can absorb this ....us little guys cannot )

Scaren Karen
07-29-2009, 11:56 PM
I find using wire brushes works great for fraying and give a distressed, old look. Just use scissors to put a cut in fabric and work edges with wire brush and it looks fantastic. Wire brushes can be found at most dollar stores or where paint supplies are sold.

Scaren Karen

07-30-2009, 12:33 AM
Ive seen some people attach clothing to the back of their car/truck and drag it around a gravel/dirt road. after a few miles the clothing is shredded and messy looking.

07-30-2009, 06:23 AM
Wow... all these tips are FANTASTIC! Thanks again, keep it all coming!

Malicious, can you elaborate; what's your dirt spray? -Tyler

07-30-2009, 08:23 AM
I have tied flannel shirts and jeans to trees for a few months to 'age' them. Make sure they're exposed to all the elements. Never been disappointed with the results.

Fear Unfathomed
07-30-2009, 10:03 AM
I've been curious about this stuff myself. Thanks everyone for posting these tips! And thanks Tyler for starting this thread!

07-30-2009, 09:53 PM
For natural fabrics (cotton, linen, silks, wools), I use tea and coffee to give it a nice aged stain (a yellow-brown antiquing color).

I like using different grit levels of sandpaper (from 60-300) to age areas. I start with the highest grit (which is the smoothest) and work down to the lower grit based on normal wear patters of areas.

Use a seam ripper to partially tear out seams and fray the fabric.

Always make sure to do wear and tear on areas of the garment that normally get the most abuse (hemlines, elbows, knees, seat of pants, collars, and cuffs).

I actually taught a class on costume distressing at MHC and I have the class breakdown if anyone wants it.

07-31-2009, 12:20 AM
Hey Katie!

Glad to see that you didnt get attacked by any of those animals...I have lost your outlines for your costuming class mind sending them to me again?

07-31-2009, 06:15 AM
Katie, would you mind sending me a copy of that? That would
help out greatly!

My email is scarylexington@gmail.com



Matt Marich
07-31-2009, 06:33 AM
Use watered down fabric dyes in bottle sprayers, that way you can wash the costumes. Make sure to pre-wet the area first to get the dyes to flow out. For dirt, there is no substitute for Fuller's Earth, I think Ghostride sells it. Fuller's is sterile, and much healthier than using any other airborne powders. It comes in colors as well.

07-31-2009, 07:05 AM
We use, along with other techniques already mentioned, Fuller's Earth and Schmutzstik ageing crayons. We get both products from Manhattan Wardrobe Supply. The Fuller's Earth comes in muslin "pounce" bags that allow for easy application to clothing.




07-31-2009, 07:09 AM
This is EXACTLY what I was looking for! Thanks so much for these links... does this have to be "re-aged" after a washing? -Tyler

07-31-2009, 07:16 AM
The Fuller's earth products wash out. The Schmutzstik crayons are basically giant wax crayons that you use to "color" directly on clothing. Haven't tried to wash the costumes and I definitely would not put them in a dryer.

Matt Marich
07-31-2009, 07:45 AM
Correct, thats why we pre stain the area with fabric dye or the crayons and then apply Fuller's. Dirt is a sensative issue in Arizona, we a have a bacteria in our soil that causes "Valley Fever" which you eventually grow imune to. Doesn't Ghostride carry the full line of Crayons?

07-31-2009, 07:54 AM
I believe Ghostride sells the crayons but MWS carries a more complete and varied line of wardrobe distressing products. We purchased a couple of complete distressing kits from them.