Hope you guys can shed a little light here...

Im on with a vintage looking build right now, but my pickup covers are shiny white new looking... any tips for ageing plastics?
I thought I might stick it in the oven for a minute, but that might result in a puddle of molten pickup cover, so how about sanding it to break the finish, then staining with tea, or wood stain?

Not one to be fussy, but ideally Id like a 'tobacco stain' colour!

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Why not just toss them and leave the pickups exposed?
I did think about it, but they are an odd shape - square one end, rounded at the other, and they looked kinda odd on this particular build
Also, Iv already cut a cover sized hole!! lol
Hey Randy I vintage my tuners by sanding them and then using a little stain on them. You can use steel wool if you want a more uniform look sandpaper will leave scratches if you use like 150 or so. I just rough up the surface stain them and then rub the stain off right away. Here's a set I did with steel wool.

Hey Ben
Yes i think putting them in the oven would be a real bad idea
i reckon the best method would be like you said some wood stain , try the inside of the pup cover first just as a tester , i dont think tea would adhear to the plastic , try the wood stain without sanding the cover first , let us know how you get on
juju.
i have heard of the smoke treatment to give white plastic a vintage look. have you ever heard of this?
Well, i know smoke will colour it over time, but I havnt heard of a quick smoke treatment... any idea what it involves Brian?
This is what I got so far. I did pretty much what Lowe said - sand paper, then wire wool, followed by stain. Let it dry a bit then jus rubbed it wit my filthy hands so it looked kinda grubby. And being as the labels had a few ciggy burns on them, I stubbed out a smoke on the cover too. Its a big improvement on the original, though I think Il try and do a bit more to it to yellow it off some.

i heard about a guy in arkansas doing this smoke treatment buy making a cradle type of some sort that will be above an ash tray where a cigarette is left burning in the ash tray with the smoke rising up onto the white plastic. if you dont smoke it might be a nasty process,but if you do smoke you could get a cheap pack of roll yer own just fer this process[get the real tobacco treatment] cause now a dayz the cigarette manufacturers have added some type of chemical that makes the cigarette extinguish itself if it is not being smoked. so i would try this experiment just for the vintage look is creates,havent yet but i will someday.i would use steel wool 0000 fine on the plastic part to be smoked before i smoke it so that the smoke can get to the plastic faster. worth a try on a future build cause who knows how long the process would take.maybe 20 cigarettes might get it looking nice and yellow. might take 40,dont know.i would say you could apply 10 or 15 treatments a day fairly easy. hope this helps.it would be a test of patience to get er done right mate.
Il give that a go Brian. I quit but the Mrs still uses them so she can do it for me! :o)
Quick update - the tea and coffee method failed miserably, even after sanding them back and leaving to soak for a few days.
Decided to leave it just as it is now though as you dont actually notice it.... which was the whole point :o)
looks a lot better after you treated it compared to the original i think you learned a cool trick to ageing plastic ben.yep.
Randy Rooster (Ben) said:
This is what I got so far. I did pretty much what Lowe said - sand paper, then wire wool, followed by stain. Let it dry a bit then jus rubbed it wit my filthy hands so it looked kinda grubby. And being as the labels had a few ciggy burns on them, I stubbed out a smoke on the cover too. Its a big improvement on the original, though I think Il try and do a bit more to it to yellow it off some.

try some used motor oil

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