Finding authentic old barn wood is more challenging than you’d think! It can be costly even if you’re lucky enough to find this treasured wood. So here’s how I made new wood look like old barn wood with distressing techniques.
I love the look of AUTHENTIC old barn wood, but it’s EXPENSIVE! Since I was determined that my kitchen island would have a barn wood top, I had to improvise to stay within our budget!
Purchase New Wood
First, determine what wood to use for your countertop. 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.
Also, you will need to use wood clamps to hold the boards in place until the wood glue has dried.
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How To Make New Wood Look Like Old Barn Wood?
Once you have the top attached, it’s time to turn these new boards into old barn wood.
First, the wood is distressed by hammering nails and screws into the surface. Using a file, you can round 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 were pulled from an old barn.
You can see nail and screw marks on the side of the wood.
How To Stain To Look like Old 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 is 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 blended until I was 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 too light, you can always add more stain.
At this point, you want stains to 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 the second coat of sealer in about three days. Trying to build up the sealer too quickly will result in bubbles and possible peeling of the sealer.
We love the results of this project and have used the technique for several other projects, such as our open shelving, stair steps, and front doors.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! If you are looking for more DIY projects, you may enjoy How to build a Faux Apothecary Cabinet.
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