Ways to Make New Wood Look Old and Rustic

There’s something about aged wood that makes them so attractive. The unique character that comes with its distinctive patina, texture, and color can instantly create a warm and soft vibe in any space, making it homey and comfortable. Not only are old-growth wood attractive. They are also superior when it comes to durability and longevity as they took decades or even centuries to mature. We can’t buy old-growth wood anymore but we can use reclaimed wood as an alternative. Unfortunately, the price for reclaimed wood can be surprisingly high. 

If you want to make new wood look old and rustic, there’s really no need to buy reclaimed wood especially when you are on a budget. You can skip the high prices and tight supply lines just by using materials that you probably have on hand already. With these methods, you can transform new wood or any piece of furniture to look beautifully worn. Here are the three ways to do that. 

Age Wood Using Liquids 

The wood’s color and patina change over time under different conditions. For instance, light wood generally darkens due to moisture build-up while darker wood turns lighter when exposed to UV after many years. This is how old get their unique color and character and you can replicate their look by applying liquids like water, vinegar, stain, or tea to new wood. 


  • Water and Stain Method


Staining new wood is the simplest and quickest way to make it look weathered. You can use any stain of your preference, just simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Start by sanding the wood to remove any coatings and create a smoother surface. Then lightly brush the wood with water to allow the stain to be easily absorbed into the wood. Let it dry and then brush the stain then finish it with paste wax or polyurethane. That’s it. 


  • Vinegar and Steel Wool Solution 


You can also age new wood with vinegar and steel wool solution. First, fill your glass jar with vinegar, just about halfway. Shred the steel wool and put it in the jar as well. The vinegar will dissolve the steel wool. Let it sit for a day. The result will be a darker stain. Then brush the vinegar-steel wool solution onto the wood and let it dry thoroughly. The solution will give the wood a darker color. Lastly, finish it with paste wax or polyurethane.

Age Wood Using Paint

Painted surfaces of old wood often lose their color after many years. Most of the time, that’s what makes them attractive and that’s what we want to duplicate. In doing so, the process is really simple. All you have to do is to use two coats of different colored paints. Usually, you can just use white paint or any light color as the bottom coat and top it with something that’s bolder like red. Here are the steps. 

  1. First, paint the lighter coat. Apply enough paint onto the wood so the first coating is substantial.  
  2. Wait for the bottom coat to dry completely before painting it with the topcoat. Use another brush when painting the top color coat. 
  3. Let it dry thoroughly and then lightly sand the wood to expose the lighter base coat. 

Another way of aging wood with paint is to use stain as the base coat and white paint as the topcoat. With this, simply brush the stain onto the wood and while it’s still wet, brush the white paint as the top color coat. While doing this, you will see that the white paint lightly mixes up with the stain. Let it dry and finish it by lightly sanding the wood just enough to make it look old and rustic.

Age Wood Using Mechanical Methods

Aged wood is not spotless. In fact, their dents, scratches, cuts, splinters, and wormholes are what make them aesthetically unique. To duplicate this, you only need to distress the wood using household tools. For this, you will need a hammer, nails, metal chain, sandpaper, and other materials. 

For starters, you can lightly hammer a metal chain to create dents on the wood. You can also lightly tap some screws onto the wood to create scratches. You may also want to try putting nails in a sock and tossing them into the wood to create patterns. Try experimenting on scrap wood first before working on the final wood as the marks left by the distressing tools are permanent. 

Just Buy Jasperwood at Rustic Lumber

If you don’t want the hassle of staining, painting, or distressing new wood yourself, you can just buy new wood, stained to look like reclaimed wood at Rustic Lumber Company. This is one of our custom products and the color variations are beautiful. Jasperwood is from Cedar or Fir species so the qualities are superior. If you want to make your home or just a part of it look old and rustic, this is the fastest way to do that. Contact us for your lumber needs. Rustic Lumber is with you every step of the way.