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How to Weather Wood

Now that we have stopped moving around the country, and have settled into a house (finally) I am really enjoying being able to do some of the stuff I want, and pull out those supplies that have been packed up and moved from house to house! Boy does it feel good! I love working with wood and that is just something you don’t get to do a whole lot of while moving around. So today I’m going to share with you how to weather wood for when you want new wood to look old! I’m not going to lie, there are a few steps involved, but it’s easy (if I can do it so can you!) and TOTALLY worth the final product, I promise (See how I use this technique on a Wood Shim Vase)

How To Weather Wood

Make new wood look OLD with this tutorial on how to Weather Wood. Click through for instructions


Before we get started, you will need to know how to make my DIY Wood Stain. So go ahead and make that, because it needs to sit for at least 24 hours before you can use it! This will give you time to gather up all your other supplies and do any prep work! So let’s talk about all the other supplies you will need.


– DIY Wood Stain
– Minwax Dark Walnut Stain
– Lint free cloth or brush
– White Acrylic Paint (or any appropriate kind of white paint)
– Steel Wool (Grade 2 – Coarse)
– Gloves
– Protective Eye Wear (safety first!)


Let’s talk about our wood real quick. For this tutorial I am using regular ole wood shims, so depending on the type of wood you will be working with, the overall look might vary. Different woods soak up things differently. I just want you to be aware of that before you get started, so you might want to test it somewhere if you have a specific look in mind, ok? Ok! So first you are going to stain your wood with the Minwax Dark Walnut using your lint free cloth (or brush) and let this dry. If you are finishing a piece of furniture you might want to give it a light sanding when you are done. I didn’t do this since I was just working with wood shims, but you should sand between coats if you are looking for a nice finish!

Make new wood look OLD with this tutorial on how to Weather Wood. Click through for instructionsOnce that has dried (and sanded if necessary) You are going to dry brush on a thin coat of white acrylic paint. If you aren’t familiar with dry brushing first put some paint on a paper plate and spread it out kinda thin, then take a dry brush (I like to use the cheap ones from Wal Mart for this) and just get a tiny bit of paint on the end of the bristles. Try and ignore my wintery dried out hands and focus on the paint ; )

Make new wood look OLD with this tutorial on how to Weather Wood. Click through for instructionsNow you are going to just brush this along the wood, re dip in the paint as necessary, but don’t get carried away because you want your brush to remain dry, so get every bit of paint off you can before you get more on there. When you are done it should look like this.

Make new wood look OLD with this tutorial on how to Weather Wood. Click through for instructionsOnce your paint dries, you are going to sand and distress it with your Grade 2 Steel Wool. This is where you are going to want to wear your gloves and wear protective eye wear. Trust me on the gloves, steel wool will be sticking out of your fingers! No fun! Keep sanding until you are happy with the look!

Make new wood look OLD with this tutorial on how to Weather Wood. Click through for instructions

Now clean off any dust residue on your wood, and you are going to apply a coat of the DIY Wood Stain that we just made with the same grade steel wool you used to make your stain! Let fully dry before you apply another coat, because the color does change quite a bit once dry. When you are happy with how it looks, give it a light sanding with a dry piece of the steel wool you applied the stain with. So here is a visual of how the process will look and how the wood changes.

Make new wood look OLD with this tutorial on how to Weather Wood. Click through for instructionsNow you can seal it with your favorite Polyacrylic and finish up any final steps you might have!

Make new wood look OLD with this tutorial on how to Weather Wood. Click through for instructions
If you make anything with this process, I would love to see how it turns out, you can check out my Rustic Wooden Clock Tutorial

DIY Large Wooden Clock

If you are looking for the tutorial on How to Make the DIY Wood Stain, you can find that HERE

Make your own DIY wood stain using just steel wool, vinegar, and instant coffee


and here is how I used all those wood shims : ) DIY Wood Shim Vase

Learn how to make this beautiful Rustic Wood Shim Vase via cherishedbliss.com

Looking for more inspiration? Come and pin with us! : )
Visit Cherished Bliss’s profile on Pinterest.


    • Ashley says

      Thanks Lisa! You actually want to make sure the paint is dry before you you sand it…. but doing it while it’s still wet could be a cool look too… I might have to go try that now ; ) Thanks for stopping by!

      • Heidi says

        Hi Ashley! Love this! I have one question…in the picture where you show how you distressed it with a hammer, how did you get those uniform lines along the bottom of the board??? I love barnwood that has that look but have never been able to distress it that way myself. Thanks!

    • Ashley says

      Thanks Allison! I haven’t tried it on anything big yet, but I’m dying too! Let me know if you do it, I would love to see : )

    • Ashley says

      Thank you so much Amy! I’m so ready to give it a try on something bigger : ) Thanks for stopping by and pinning! xoxo Have a great night!

  1. says

    I have a paint stick chevron table top I’ve been waiting to finish because I wanted JUST the right look….I think I found it. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    • Ashley says

      Thanks Jocelyn! My sister and I want to make some photo backdrops with it! The first thing she said was it would look good behind her food, lol!

  2. Cally says

    I used your technique for a growth chart in our new house. I had never heard of the DIY stain but it turned out exactly how I had envisioned it . Thank you for this tutorial! I don’t know how to post the photos on here.

  3. says

    Can’t wait to try this on a project I am planning for my mud room! Going to weather a 5′ long pine board and affix oversized wrought iron coat hooks to it…our big family needs all the organization it can get! :) This stain effect will go perfect with our rustic theme. Thanks so much!

  4. Susan jesky says

    Hello Ashley. I love how the wood looks . It is exactly what I want to do on some sliding doors I have in my bedroom . But they are alraedy painted white . Do I need to sand them down to bear wood to achieve the same look or can I some how get the same look with out all the sanding

    • Ashley says

      To get it cloesest to this look, yes, you would need to sand them down. Mainly because you can’t stain over paint like that, so you would loose all possibility of getting that wood look. It also depends onw hat kind of doors they are. Are they standard closet type doors or are they real wood/lumber? Typical doors won’t have that wood grain to it, so that would play into the look of it quite a bit as well. If you happen to have a picture handy, I could take a look and see what might be your best option : ) my email address is ashley.cherishedbliss at gmail dot com : ) Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Andrea says

    I notice that you mention the DIY stain at the beginning but you don’t actually use it in the step by step. Did I miss something?

    • Ashley says

      Hi Andrea! You use the DIY wood stain right after you sand and distress it with the steel wool. I talk about how I applied it right under the picture that shows the steel wool. Please let me know if you have any other questions! : ) Thanks for stopping by!

      • Andrea says

        Thank you, I couldn’t see it for looking!! I have never used the DIY stain after, usually on the bare wood, great idea. Thanks !!

      • Chris says

        Hi Ashley, for some reason the link to the DIY wood stain does not open correctly. It says the page cannot be found. Can you post it again? I’d like to weather a picture frame this weekend!

  6. Cliff says

    This looks great! Have you tried it with any colors other than white?
    I’d like to try it with a pale light blue to match our outdoor decor. Maybe white and the blue would work together?

    • Ashley says

      Hi Cliff, I haven’t tried it with any other colors. I have been wanting to test out a red for a barn wood look, but haven’t had a chance. It can certainly be done, but since you are dry brushing it on, the color doesn’t appear as rich as it does in the can. So when I put a bright white on there, it looks aged and is slightly see through. You can always paint it on a little thicker and just really sand down the spots you want the stain to show through.

  7. JaneEllen says

    I am going to be trying all you’ve shown us, see which I like best. So glad you shared all these great techniques.
    When I have steps to do on one project I just do one of those then work on something else for while. I set a timer so I don’t forget (or I will forget when I get so engrossed). Manage to get time consuming things done that way and other projects worked on. Don’t have small children so can keep working. Oh yeah there’s the hubs, almost as bad a small kid, thinks when he hollers I should drop what I’m doing and run to him, of course him coming to me would be out of the question. Not saying this nasty, just telling like it is. But I love him, 46 yrs end of this month. If he could find some thing to do away from house once in while that would be ok too. Sometimes 24/7 is bit much for me.
    Enjoy the season. If I can remember how I’ll send you photo of how my boards turn out. Don’t hold your breath tho as I tend to be digitally challenged. Just got new computer yesterdawy and haven’t opened box yet, half afraid of how to get going with it. sigh.

  8. says

    Hi! I found this just now and I’m hoping that it’s not too late to get a reply :) I’m thinking of making my own small coffeetable with thks method. So the thing is, I want the wood to be really soft. Do I sand it to the softness I want before starting with this method, so before starting with the staining ? I’ d really appreciate the reply, thanks! :)

    • Ashley says

      Hi Janina! Yes, you want the wood to be in the condition you want it before you apply any stain. If you are doing a coffee table, I would suggest applying several coats of polyacrylic to it as a sealer to keep it clean and give it a nice smooth finish, you will sand in between those coats, but if you are looking for a really smooth finish, you definitely want to get it there before any stain. I would also suggest starting with a rough grit sandpaper, and gradually moving up to the very fine, that will give you the best finish : ) Good luck!

  9. says

    Hi Ashley, can you do this look with red paint instead of white? Do you know how to make a distressed red barn door? Im in the process o opening a cafe and want to install a red barn door on rollers. Im even thinking of calling it “Red Barn Door Kitchen”

    Thanks, Chef Silvia

    • Ashley says

      Hi Silvia, You can definitely do it with any color you want. You might just want to test it on a scrap piece of wood to make sure it turns out the way you like it. But the color has nothing to do with the process : ) Have a great weekend, and I’d love to see how it turns out!

  10. says

    Hi Ashley!
    Thank you for the great tutorial! Today I built a small storage rack for my kitchen and tryed your method. It looks gorgeous and I love it. First I used dark brown stain, tourquoise colour (chalk paint), white colour (chalk paint) and finished with wax (clear and dark wax).
    Tomorrow I will build a second rack for the other side of my kitchen and then you can see it on my blog :-)
    Madam Rosmerta recently posted..French BenchMy Profile

    • Ashley says

      Thanks so much for sharing with me! It looks gorgeous with the color! I’ve only ever done it with white, so I think I might have to try it with some color now! Have a great weekend!

  11. Briana says


    I love this tutorial. I am distressing an old door with windows I turned into just a window. One question – for the DIY stain, do I scrub the wood with the soaked steel wool or just dab it over the wood??


    • Ashley says

      Hi Briana, I’m not sure I entirely understand which part of the process you are referring too… but I didn’t ever use the steel wool to that I used in making the stain to apply it with. I used a fresh piece of steel wool to apply it to the wood and gently rubbed it across the top. Steel wool isn’t necessary to apply it with, I just already had it out and on hand. You can just use a foam brush if you would rather do that. The steel wool does get a little messy… and make sure you wear gloves because it will certainly poke you! Good luck and have fun!! Let me know if you have any other questions!

    • Ashley says

      Hi Bre, the one I used is oil based. I’ve never personally used the gel, but I would think you could still use it for this process. You might just want to test it out on a scrap piece of wood before committing to it ; )

  12. says

    if the piece I’m doing this on is a cherry coffee table, do I sand it down and apply the stain anyway or do I consider this my stain And move on to the white paint?

    • Ashley says

      Hi Kasey, since it is already finished it probably has a poly finish on it that is somewhat glossy. You can paint over this with the chalk paint and use it as your “stain” but it might change the outcome. What I would suggest if you are going for an older look is to just kind of rough of the stain on the coffee table a little bit and then continue on with the process : ) Good luck! Would love to know how it turns out!

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