Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How To: Age Wood

A few weeks ago I posted about my recent { DIY Factory Cart Table }. During that process, I discovered an amazing process to aging wood.  In the past when I needed to age wood for a project, I typically grew impatient and didn't put in the time or effort to do it right. I did the whole {hit it with a hammer} trick, and called it quits. I blame it mainly on my laziness and desire to finish the project quickly, but after researching actual vintage pieces, I really grew a true love for the real thing. But... as we all know,  sometimes you just can't always get the real thing. That's when I knew I needed to dedicate the time to more authentic process.

I will warn you that this process isn't as short and sweet as we all might hope, but it will be worth it, I promise!!! Below is my step by step process:

What you will need:
- Decking wood
- Hammer, or any hard object to hit or scrape against the wood
- Sand paper or electric sander (or both!)
- Stain
- Rubber gloves 
- Old rag or brush for stain

Step by Step:

1. Buy decking wood at your local home improvement store. I chose the most beat up pieces - chipped edges, knots, holes, you name it. If the wood looked bad, I bought it! I also used the pieces with the stamps showing from the lumber yard. It adds to the vintage feel:)

2. The edges at the end of the wood are not rounded out like the rest of the wood. I hammered these down to give it a vintage feel and also to match the rest of the wood.

3. I then began to beat the wood with any tool I could find - hammers, screw drivers, anything I could find. I scrapped, hit, and dropped. Basically, I beat up the wood as much as I could without breaking it. I will warn you that it might look like you have aged it too much, but keep calm, it will sand down later if it's too much. Some of the aging was done in random patterns, but other areas I made tighter patterns. Imagine if you found some old wood laying in a barn. It's knocked around for years, and some damage is random, but other damage is focused into one area. That's exactly what I wanted my wood to look and feel like - old, weathered and worn.

4. Once the aging process was finished, I began to stain the wood. I used a combination of a dark and light stain. I started with a lighter stain and then layered the dark stain on top. I didn't use the dark stain in all of the areas because I wanted it to look natural. Also, make sure to let the dark stain seep into the holes and cracks of the wood. Before it totally dried, I blended them together in certain areas. By doing this blending method, you get a high variety of tone in the wood. You can use a brush to apply the stain or an old rag - either will work, but make sure to wear some heavy duty rubber gloves so you don't stain your hands!

5. I then began sanding off some of the stain in random areas. More concentrated in some areas, and more rare in others. I focused sanding on the edges and corners as well to really enhance the vintage look.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you get your desired look. If you over sand in step number 5, no problem, just add a bit more stain until you are happy with the final result. 

7. Step back, and enjoy!

{ And here is the before once more }

{ And the after! }

So I hope this will help you during your future projects! I know the next time I'll be aging wood, I will for sure put in all the time and effort needed in order to make it look completely authentic. It's always worth it in the end:)


  1. Great tips for giving wood that "aged" look. I just adore reading your blog. :-) Hope you have a wonderful night!

    1. Aw thanks so much!! That means so much!

  2. amy... i lOVE LOVE LOOOOVE your blog! found you via the blog hop ! (lucky me!!!!) it is so cute! YOU are too cute!

  3. This looks fantastic! I would have sworn that it was really old wood.

  4. GREAT tutorial!! I'll pin this for sure.


  5. Oooh, I love this...I want to make an aged wood table! Stopping by from the Networking Blog Hop...I am your newest follower! I would love if you would check out my blog and if you like what you see please follow back :)
    Modern Modest Beauty

  6. Oh wow, what a difference! Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  7. Featured you this morning! Thanks again for joining us!

  8. What a great tutorial! I just pinned it and have a project in mind to use it with.

    I'd love for you to link this up to my party!


    Have a great day!


  9. Amazing transforamtion Amy. Thanks for sharing on Shabbilicious Friday at Shabby Art Boutique.

  10. Replies
    1. It is treated. The people at Lowes said it wouldn't take stain as well, but I didn't have a problem.

  11. Great post - love what you created - I am uber impressed! Thanks for linking up this week!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  12. This is fabulous!!!! I absolutely LOVE this! Great project! I'd love for you to link up this and any others to my first ever linky party, Ta-Da Tuesday :) check it out HERE ! <3 from your newest follower, I'd be delighted if you'd follow back!
    413 Sparrow Lane

  13. Great tips and tricks! My favourite material for making signs is usually a 2 x 4 so I'll have to have a look for some of the wood that already looks like it has been around the block! The before and after is such a contrast.

  14. how long did the staining part take?

  15. how long did the staining part take?

  16. Beautiful!!!!
    Do you have any idea what stains you used?
    I am about to stain a table and I love the color you achieved!

  17. I was wondering how to do this. I want to try to "age" some wood and this is perfect for what I want to do. Must feel nice to beat the pulp out of that wood! lol

  18. Which two stains did you use? I'm dying to know! I bought an old factory cart at an antique fair but after I got all six layers of paint off I realized it was plywood on top. So the wood has to be replaced but the hardware is just awesome. Your cart is exactly how I want mine to look. I've bought the wood and am about to start beating the crap out of it but I need to know the stains you used!

  19. Great step by step.

    I have found that if you put washers and nuts on a chain or a heavy duty rope, you can swing away and beat the crap out of the wood. Also used a good med link heavy chain as well to distress.

    CAUTION: Deck boards [as pictured], are pressure treated lumber and should only be used outdoors. They are treated with NASTY chemicals. I wood not use them around food at all. They also give off toxic fumes if burned.

  20. Hard to believe this blog post has over 300K views and the comments are just ignored. I appreciate the instructions but leaving parts out kinda sucks. Just saying.

    1. Hi David,

      This site has been moved to my new website www.theblissfulbee.com. I have tried my best to notify my readers and have even listed the new website in the header. I no longer manage this blog anymore, so I don't see comments unless I randomly check this blog like I did today.

      I'm actually not sure which two stains I used. I have practiced this technique many times and have noticed that the stain color doesn't really matter as long as one is a dark stain, and the other is a medium stain. So for example a good color for the dark stain would be the Minwax Dark Walnut. For the light stain, Minwax Gunstock.

      Thanks, Amy