I am the first to admit that I have an unhealthy obsession with Anthropologie. Their store displays alone are among the first memories that inspired my love for Interior Design, and their magazines are a whirlwhind of lifestyle jealousy. Among their treasures lurking inside the stores are their one-of-a-kind vintage pieces sourced from around the world. (I asked, and it is actually someone's job to find these pieces by travelling all over. I'm quite sure I would give my firstborn for that job.)
These vintage pieces all have that "aged in a french countryside" patina to them that makes them perfection, but alas, 'tis not always in one's budget to spend $600 on a chipped, broken bird, like the one on the right.
One can, however, create this textured look with some garage sale finds, paint, and a secret ingredient, which you will never ever guess. OK, there is a giant picture of it of it below, so you might guess it: Dryer sheets. Used, to be exact.
I honestly have not encountered a garage or estate sale that does not have at least one pottery duck, so finding one should not be an issue, but choose whatever pottery you have. It doesn't even have to be a duck, but that just seems silly because ducks are awesome.
Step 1: You'll want to add some texture. Genuine pieces have this matte, mottled, flaky, licheney crumbly look and I wanted to start out the base by screwing up the glossy sheen, which is where the dryer sheets come in. If you're really gung-ho, you could also chip off a few pieces with a hammer, but I didn't because like the intelligent klutz I am, I assumed I would be dropping them in the near future. Rip up the sheets into a bunch of pieces, and make sure that there are no straight edges, the stringier the better. From there dip in a mixture of 50/50 glue and water (or you could use flour and water) and spread on the pottery. I also used a few paper towels, but mostly dryer sheets. You might want to do a few layers of this in some areas, but leave other areas bare. I will admit, after this point, it looks not good, and not not good in a good way. I promise, it gets better after the paint.
Step 2: From there, it needs a layer of paint. Actually, more like 4. Here is where I wish I had started with a light grey or beige, but I went with white instead. You could also go with a mossy green, just keep in mind this will be painted over many many times. One of the best things I did was allow parts of the dryer sheet/paper towel to show through, which added parts of off-white. You might also want to leave bits of glossy ceramic to show through as a contrast.
Step 3: Lots more paint, thinned down, and I used Elmers glue to give it a crackled finish. What you do is brush a thin layer of glue to a painted surface, then brush another paint color (mixed with a bit of water) over it while it's still wet, and try not to use too many brush strokes. I used a light greige color over some parts, then followed up with another coat of white, then some green accents. It is a bit hard to tell in the pictures below. Some of the original pottery colors also showed through some of the dryer sheets and I left that alone because I liked it. You can choose what look you want, the bird in the Anthropologie store from above had a lot more color to it, it's up to you.
Step 4: And now, for the beak. I wanted mine to look really chipped, so I added a thick layer of glue to it before brushing on a muted orange color. I also dabbed a bit with a paper towel, and once it was dry I chipped some off with my nails. I forgot to take pictures of this step, sorry. And the next one. but you can see them in the final pictures.
Step 5: MOSS. I have a love affair with moss. It grows on everything here in the Northwest and it still baffles me that people pay good money to get it removed. So sorry you don't like the added character on your roof, crazy neighbors. Of course, I'm sure once I own a house and find out that it destroys it I will probably change my tune. But for now, I love it and I wanted to try it out, but not with real moss. I found this tip somewhere on the internets about a DIY moss using yet another gem from the laundry room: dryer lint. You mix that with green paint and spread it around, and I must say, from afar, it looks great but up close, not perfection. I tried that out on the bigger duck but decided against it for the other one. I wound up trying to rip off what I could because I didn't love it. I do, however, think it would be great for Halloween decorations. So yeah, you might wanna ignore this step unless you have some preserved moss to glue on.
Step 6: Put something in it. I put plants in it. Here are the pictures:
Give this a go on pretty much anything: terracotta pots, old china that is "too granny" for you, candleholders, or whatever floats your boat, it will also give items a bit of a nautical left out at sea look if you have that decor going. Let me know how it turns out!