Creating an antique look is possible, whether your material is real wood or particle board, also known as chipboard, MDF/LDF fiberboard and OSB. Some precautions need to be observed; however, creating an antique look for particle boards allows renters and dormers to enjoy a more luxurious look within budget.
Remove stubborn grime, old color and old finishes. Use an ammonia-based cleaner on particle board with veneer, but use only a dry cloth on bare particle board. Never use moisture on particle board, as moisture soaks and damages the board.
Use sandpaper on all surfaces. Veneer needs more vigorous sanding, but be careful not to damage the board. Wipe off any residual dust particles.
Prime the board with shellac using a foam brush or foam roller. Brush on with even strokes. Let dry overnight, then apply a second coat and let dry another night.
Apply two or more coats of paint in your desired color, letting each coat dry overnight.
Start creating a used, antique look by sanding/distressing the new paint lightly over the entire piece of furniture. Sand corners, knobs and raised areas to create a time-worn look.
Apply stain and while still wet, wipe off some stain with a clean cloth, letting enough color seep into the crevices and ridges. At this point, paint color will show through, with the stain and sanding creating the wear and tear look of an antique. Buff with a second clean cloth when stain is almost dry.
Apply a coat of polyurethane; let dry for two to three days. Repeat for two or three more coats, letting each coat dry well before applying the next layer. Polyurethane protects the particle board from scratches, chips, stains and damage from liquids.