I Love the look Of AUTHENTIC old baRn wood but its EXPENSIVE! Since I was determined that my kitchen island would have a barn wood top, I had to improvise to stay within our budget!
Finding authentic old barn wood isn’t as easy as you’d think! Even if you’re lucky enough to find this treasured wood, it can be very expensive. So here’s how I made new wood look like old barn wood with distressing techniques.
purchase New Wood
First, determine what wood to use for your counter top. We choose new 2 x 8 pine boards because I like the look of a thicker board.
Next, you need to cut the boards into lengths to fit your cabinet top or island. In addition, you will need to use a plate biscuit joiner, joining biscuits, and wood glue to attached the boards together.
Also, you will need to use wood clamps to hold the boards in place until wood glue has dried.
Once you have the top attached, it’s time to turn these new boards into old barn wood. First, begin to distress the wood by hammering nails and screws into the surface. Using a file, you can round of the edges where the boards with attached. We had pulled some vintage handmade nails from an old door frame and I embedded some of those nails into the wood. You want scares and nail holes in the wood because that is what you would have if it was pulled from an old barn.
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Stain to look like Barn Wood
The first step is using Minwax Classic Grey Stain. Apply the oil based stain with an absorbent cloth and protective gloves. This first step ages the wood to a fine grey finish.
Once the surface was sufficiently covered, (not necessarily dry)begin layering with Minwax Gel Stains in two – three colors, mixing them into the original stain and creating light and dark areas on the wood. For this project I used Walnut and Aged Oak Stains.
I used a cloth to apply the stains and basically just blend until I’m happy with the colors.
Buff the Stain
Once you are happy with the colors, use a clean cloth to buff the surface. If an area becomes to light, you can always add back a little additional stain.
At this point you want stains dry for approx. one week and then apply a very thin coat of Matt Polyurethane to seal the surface, using a sponge roller.
Note: I always apply a thin coat to start and second coat of sealer in about 3 days. Trying to build up the sealer to quickly will result in bubbles and possible peeling of the sealer.
You can see how we built the DIY Kitchen Island Here.
We love the results of this project and have used the technique for several other projects such as our open shelving, our stair steps and our front doors.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! See how to build an Faux Apothecary Cabinet here.