This past weekend I spent some time researching simple design ideas on how to make new wood look old. The goal was to keep costs low and make 3-pieces of new 2×12 Douglas Fir Wood look weathered or have the appearance of reclaimed wood. The following is a step-by-step process for a do-it-yourself project on how to weather wood. I used the following examples of weathered wood to use as an inspiration for the look I was going for.
How to Weather Wood:
- Wood (I used Douglas Fir)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Steel Wool (I used Grade 2)
- Rubber Gloves
- Plastic Drop Cloth (recommended)
- Wax (optional)
Step 1: Add the apple Cider Vinegar to the bucket and soak the steel wool in it.
Note: A chemical reaction occurs between the acidity in the vinegar and the steel wool, creating a dark tinted solution. The longer you let the two set, the darker the tint. I waited about two hours.
Step 2: Using my rubber gloves, I used the steel wool to apply the solution to two test strips of wood – one 2×4 and the other 2×12.
Note: I recommend this step so that you can practice the application process as well as figure out how dark you want your look to be. Below is what the wood looked like after one application and after letting it dry ~ about 20 min in 75 degree weather (note this may vary for you). Notice that the wood turned a slight tint of gray and it had some dark specks in certain areas.
Step 3: Continue applying solution and allowing to dry every time to check for the desired tint. In the end, I did 4 applications over a 24-hr period.
Note: You may want to carry your piece of wood inside to check how it will look like with indoor lighting. Note that it will look darker inside than outside.
Here’s my test strip after several applications. The top portion has two passes of the solution, the two on the bottom right and left were a total of three passes, and the darkest one was a 4th pass. That was it for me, 4 passes and I had created a weathered wood look on a new piece of wood.
Step 4: Once you determine the tint you want, move on to the pieces you will be using and follow the process. Below you can see how the solution starts to dry after the first pass.
Step 5: (This is optional) I applied a wax coat to the wood after it had dried using a cloth to give it a little bit of a shine and seal the finish. This was just my preference and may not be a necessary step for you; but a seal will give it a nice shine to the final weathered look. Finally, I recommend you use a cloth that will not give off lint as you’re applying the wax so that the lint wont stick to the wood.
I used this wood to build my own platform bed. All in all I spent about $60 and really enjoyed the process. I will do another DIY on how to build your own platform bed in a future blog.
One last tip on how to weather wood, if there is any sap in the wood, use a razor to scrape away and then apply the vinegar solution. Although those spots were a little lighter in the end, I think it added character in creating a weathered look on the new wood.
Remember, this can be used on any of your carpentry DIY projects to create a reclaimed wood finish! I will definitely use the same process when doing my DIY coffee table project.
What did you think of this DIY? Did you try this process? Share your photos with me and I will post them on my blog!
Tags: aging new wood, aging wood, build your own coffee table, DIY bed, DIY coffee tables, DIY how to weather wood, DIY platform bed, how to age wood, how to make wood look old, inspiration, inspirational design, reclaimed wood, simple design ideas, table top, vinegar and steel wool, vintage, wood finishes