How to Make New Wood Look Old, Weathered and Rustic

 

I have a confession to make. All the wood that you saw on my art studio wall is not exactly old and salvaged.

In order to have enough wood, I had to buy some new pine boards off the shelf at Lowe’s. I actually chose furring strip boards because they are already chewed up and imperfect.

But, I also grabbed a few other supplies:

 

The Secret of Weathered Boards: 

Old rustic boards are gray and have enhanced grain and plenty of dings and character. Replicating that look can be tricky unless you have the right tools, glazes, and a few tricks up your sleeve.

I wrote another post about aging and antiquing that shares some other techniques, but today I’ll focus solely on making new lumber look old.

Weathered boards have a warm gray color. To create this color I stained the boards with Rustoleum sunbleached. Then wiped off the excess.

Next I added a little Minwax Early American and wiped it off.

The results are the blue-gray weathered look. For more dimension and detail try adding the glazing technique described below.

 

My Secret Rustic Glaze Formula:

There is nothing in this world more beautiful to me than rustic barn wood. Those dark chocolate timbers that look like they’ve been gathering dirt for decades are gorgeous in my eyes.

To fake this look I created a glaze that works wonders when wiped over new lumber.

Mix 4 parts clear mixing glaze with 2 part mocha glaze and 1 part antiquing asphaltum glaze.

Mix thoroughly. The resulting color should be a very dark chocolate color. Adjust your color by adding more mocha or more asphaltum.

Dip your flat brush into the glaze and drag it over the wood. The glaze really accentuates the grain in the wood.

Shake or tap the brush on a stick to give your lumber age freckles.

For more uniform color, brush the glaze over the entire board (don’t forget the ends of the wood.)

Rub the glaze into the wood and wipe off any excess.

Take a look at the difference:

Not bad, did you know this farm crate sign is brand spankin’ new?

I hope I fooled you. I’ll have the tutorial for making the farm crate sign later this week. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, have fun aging those new boards! I’d love to hear if you try these techniques and how they worked for you.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Lowe’s as a Lowe’s Creative Influencer. I was provided with a Lowe’s gift card to complete my project. The tutorial, photos and opinions expressed in this post are my own. I was not told what to write. #LowesCreator

 

Comments

  1. This is so good to know! I wish I’d known before I made my husband struggle with pallet wood to make a perfect octagon mirror recently. :) This is much smarter!

  2. Sandi Allen says:

    Love this technique! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love it! Oh yeah, I love this. Hope all is well!
    Debbie

  4. Looks great. Thanks for all the great tips. Cheers.

  5. I love the aged wood look! This will definitely be added to the “things to do” list for our first house!

  6. Great tips! I’m moving next month and want to cover an ugly brick fireplace wall with “aged” wood.

  7. Thanks for all these tips and for sharing your “secret” formula, Brittany. This will come in handy for me one day. Sharing it on the Worthing Court Facebook page tonight.

  8. Jenny@thelavendermagnolia says:

    Awesome. This is going in my arsenal. My hubby and I were wondering what would be a good way to either speed up the aging process or fake it!

    Shared it on my Facebook page tonight. You rock.

    Jenny

  9. Eva Stephen says:

    Amazing useful formula to age the wood as I also love the look of that old wood.

  10. I very much appreciate how you share your techniques. I have stripped and stained plenty of furniture but I know absolutely nothing about this other. I know how much I love it. Your one of the few that share step by step tutorials. I have learned so much through your blogs and say everyone of them for reference. Thank You!

  11. I love layering stains… Isn’t the Sunbleached stain by Rustoleum the bomb?? I am a huge fan (and frequent stalker) of Rustoleum wood products. The Sunbleached looks especially stunning on oak! Did you paint the greenish-blue boards on the wall too? Will you share the color name? I really love that color, as well as the color of the table base and stools!

  12. This is so cool! I am going to be posting it to StuffDOT in my BIY bin!

  13. Hi Brittany. Just found your blog after I saw you follow me on Hometalk. I too am an avid DIY’er and furniture repurposer. (ok. Thats not a word) whatever. I love working with wood as well. I love your wood wall! I’m in the process of building a media cabinet and staining it with the new gray stain that Varathane has. Can’t wait to unveil it! (a few more days) I actually got the plans from Ana White. If you haven’t seen her blog, you must visit. It’s the Restoration Hardware Printers Cabinet. Anyway, I’m off to explore your blog, please come by and visit mine! Looking forward to hearing from you…
    Beth

  14. This looks really great and easy to make at home. I’m definitely going to try it, I’ve always liked when wood looks older. Thanks for posting.

  15. Hi there! For the glaze… did you do the glaze on top of the first 2 stains? (rustoleum bleached and minwax american) OR are the pictures you show above of the glaze on new bare wood.

    let me know. thanks!

  16. Your wall is AMAZING – nicely done!! Thanks for posting your “how-to” on the wood (you would never know it was new wood on there!), I’ve got this linked to my weathered wood post too today!

  17. Thank you so much for this tip! My husband and I used this recipe to turn a new treasure box–to look old! It looks awesome!

    Thank you again!

  18. I wanted to ask a silly question. When you mix your glazes you say part. Does that mean a cup or do you just pour it in there and mix it up until you find the mocha looking color?

    • Kayla, I do kind of eyeball the mixture when mixing it. But, you can experiment. I’m not sure the exact mixture, but you wouldn’t want to use cups or you’d have a LOT of glaze. But, here’s an example: Mix 4 parts clear mixing glaze with 2 part mocha glaze and 1 part antiquing asphaltum glaze. (try 1 cup clear glaze, 1/2 cup mocha glaze, and 1/4 cup asphaltum) But, even still that’s a lot of the mixture, so try halving that recipe if you only need a little. Good luck.

  19. Isaac Esparza says:

    Hello I tried your technique, here is what I did:

    I applied the sunbleached first (about three coats) and then let it dry. Afterwards I applied the early american. I did not obtain the blue-grey results in the picture. What would you recommend I do to achieve those results.

    • Isaac, it probably depends on your wood you are using. I used pine. I also only stained it one coat. You might try mixing a latex paint in the color you like with water to create a wash instead of using a stain.

  20. I think this is the best method I’ve seen online for making wood look antique! However, I’m a little worried with my teeny tiny budget that the three glazes are going to add up to be a lot. I tried looking up the cost but couldn’t find anything. I was wondering if perhaps you remember approximately how much they cost?

  21. I LOVE repurposing items, especially boxes. I get a regular shipment of acai juice and the shipping containers are an EXCELLENT size for bathroom waste cans, storage bins, etc. At first I was covering them with decorative contact paper, then I began decoupaging them with magazine pages (another item I hate to toss—beautiful pictures, why waste them??). Any other ideas for giving these boxes a make-over and new use??

  22. There is also wallpaper & anaglypta wallcovering that resembles wood. Burlap, canvas, or feedsacks are other ideas. Thin unfinished veneer also comes in sheets, but that would be more expensive.

  23. Hi there!
    I love the look of your glazed wood and decided to head to lowes and get all the stuff to try to make a “wainscoting” for my bathroom. I used a different wood than you and it definitely turned out darker than yours. It doesn’t have any grey to it and it looks just like the mocha brown color. What do you suggest I do to get less brown and more grey? Thank you!

  24. Could you be so kind as to give me your suggested recipe for a Grey weathered finish (not blue!) with a touch of brown undertones? And which wood would be best? Thanks so much!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Then I wiped a glaze over the board to further age it. (Read my tutorial for making new wood look new.) [...]

  2. [...] 2. Making New Wood Look Old [...]

  3. [...] the unfinished wood looked against the ambiance of the room. I did some research and ended up using this blog’s instructions showing how to make a secret rustic glaze formula. I was extremely impressed with how [...]

  4. […] hangers, use a rope or twine and decorative pins, find some artsy knobs and put them on a painted piece of wood, hang hooks like these directely on the wall, mount a long towel rack and use s hooks. The […]

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