How to Age Wood — All Your Queries Answered

How to Age Wood – Step By Step

A lot of people prefer wood that gives them a rustic, shabby vibe over wood that is cleanly polished and clearly new.

Every day, people shift their interior designing preferences according to their moods. And currently, everyone feels at home when a room is all about antique accessories.

However, with the increasing need for all these relics, picturesque ornaments, furniture, and other decorations, it’s actually become very hard to get your hands on something old, yet original. And in case you’re lucky enough to find a reliable place for it, it’s often way too expensive.

Oh, guess, I’ll have to settle for less.

Absolutely not! As the popularity for old school designs has increased, people have come up with solid ways to make new products look old and rustic!

This is especially true for wood, people just love the look of faded, rough wooden furniture. And if you’re one of those people, you’re lucky to have found us!

We’re here to assist you through the process that will teach you how to age wood.

Without any further drag, let’s look into it.

How to Age Wood — All Your Queries Answered

Why Do People Prefer Old Wood?

Old wooden items, especially furniture, have the ability to enhance the beauty of a room by softening the aura into a casual environment.

It has become extremely popular to keep old, shabby wooden furniture at home, or even outside in a yard.

You might be surprised to know how admired old wood furniture is, making it hard to find on the market — and if you somehow manage to find some for yourself, it will likely be extremely pricey!

Perhaps the best reason why people have suddenly started expressing their desire for these antique, weathered and textured pieces is because they look more natural and have an authentic appeal.

People have a tendency to go for a more natural look in their woods than a perfectly smooth, glossy finish.

For similar reasons, we did some research to save you from the trouble of prolonged digging and found you techniques that people have tested to give your wood a more natural, weathered look!

Easy Ways to Make New Wood Look Aesthetically Vintage!

With the escalated desire for vintage looking wooden items, over the years people have come up with a number of aging methods that can make your new wood look old.

By employing the use of these solutions — which can be easily achieved in your very own home — you can give your wood the look that exactly appeals to you.

Following our aim, below we’ve listed all the artificial wood aging methods that you can use depending on your needs. All these methods are truly rewarding, and we’ve made sure that they work through filtering the web, saving you from any troubles.

1. Steel and Vinegar-based Aging Solution — This method of wood aging is the most commonly used.

To follow it, you’ll need finely separated steel wool and vinegar. That’s it!

To make your stain, you need to let the steel wool sit in the vinegar for a whole day. You will watch the solution gradually get darker as the day passes. This also means that the longer you let the steel wool sit in the vingar, the darker the stain you’ll be getting.

So, for a darker stain, the recommended time is a span of five days. But if you want a very subtle gray look, you can even take the steel wool out after 30 minutes to one hour.

Now, you just have to apply the stain on your wood.

But before that, we recommend that you subtly sand the wood. This is because the stain tends to adhere more firmly to slightly grinded surfaces.

At the end, just use a paint brush to spread the stain on your sanded wooden surfaces evenly.

2. Tea Staining — This is our favorite way to give wood an old school appearance. The procedure employs the use of brewed tea and sandpaper.

After brewing tea, you will apply it to the surface of the wood like you would apply a stain with a paintbrush. But before doing that, grind the surface. Again, the reason behind this sanding is to get better adherence for the tea stain.

There are two ways to change the intensity of this staining. One, you can make a light or strong brew — whichever you like more — and two, you can add as many coats as you want.

We just want you to end up with whatever you have in your mind for the perfect results!

3. Coffee Staining — Coffee staining is very similar to tea staining. In fact, it’s almost exactly the same, you just replace brewed tea with brewed coffee.

Coffee stains are darker so it should be employed when more visible results are wanted.

One thing to know is that coffee and tea stains can also be used along with the steel wool and vinegar method. This will give you even better results for your rustic, vintage wood.

For that, before applying the coat of vinegar and steel wool solution, apply a layer of tea or coffee stain. This will give you sharper and darker colors for the end product.

4. Using Baking Soda — This is something that we like to refer to as sun-bleaching of the wood.

While in most methods the goal appearance is a darker tint, this is the opposite and thus the wood type that bleaching works best for is tannic woods.

The initial step is to make a paste with equal parts baking soda and water.

Apply this baking soda paste all over the surface of your wood and let it sit in the sun for about six hours. If you want more intensified results, you can either let it sit for a bit longer — but not too long to avoid damaging the wood — or spray white vinegar over it.

Later on, clean off the dried paste from the wood with water. You’ll see a fresh, gray tint on the wood. To make it even grayer, you can repeat the process just as many times as you want.

5. Using Paints — As the name suggests, this procedure includes the use of paints. For this, you will need paints of a few desired colors, paintbrushes, sandpaper, a hammer, and a piece of cloth. A market manufactured wood stain is optional.

Firstly, use the hammer to (as gently as possible) bang down any sort of perfectly measured edges on the wood. This will give your rustic, weathered wood a more original look.

Later on, sand the surface for better adherence, followed by the desired number of the layer of paint. You can use both paintbrushes and a cloth because you don’t want perfect brush strokes all over the wood surface.

You don’t have to wait for the paints to dry before making the second and third coats, and so on. (Because our goal is to make it look as rough as possible!)

Once the paints have dried, sand the surface again to remove any smooth textures that the paints might have provided. Do this (relatively) carelessly and your look will be achieved!

If you want to make another color change, you can add an optional wood stain on top. This wood stain can be anything — a homemade steel wool and vinegar solution, a tea or coffee stain, or even a market manufactured one.

If the first try wasn’t enough to bring you your desired results, no worries! You can repeat the steps again.

But before concluding whether to add another coat, you should wait for the stain to dry, as wet stains look different.

Fake Wear and Tear

The ways mentioned above are only different ways of staining wood to change the color of your wooden floors, doors, furniture, or decorations, but there are additional ways that can make your wood look rustic and authentic.

As you might have deduced already, these methods include ways to damage the physical appearance of wood to make it seem old and weathered.

There are a number of things you can use to distress the wood in a number of different ways. Some of the most commonly used tools are listed below.

  • Sandpapers — These help grit and sand smooth surfaces to make them rougher in both appearance and feel.
  • Hammers — Hammers are used to bang down sharp and well-measured edges on the wood.
  • Nails — By hammering these extremely gently into the surface of wood to a very shallow depth, you can create holes in your furniture.
  • Drills — Again, you need to be extremely gentle so that you don’t end up damaging anything important. So, you have to be as shallow as possible to create random holes or scuffs (if you’re using a sanding bit) that also vary in size.
  • Wires — Wires can be dragged along the wood to create scratches and lines in unique patterns.
  • Chains — If wood is hit roughly with string chains, it will create a good number of random bumps and blunts in the wood, making it look weathered.

All these tools and items together will help you damage your wood in the desired way. Together with stains, this fake and intentional damage to the wood will help you achieve a distressed look!

How to Age Wood — All Your Queries Answered

Potential Harm

Of course, when you’re trying to damage your wood in the literal sense, there’s a whole list of added dangers that come with it.

For instance, you need to be extremely careful and apply only a certain amount of pressure or you will end up with a broken piece of wood that you will eventually have to discard!

This is a tricky action to pull off. For example, you should use high quality wood to carry this out as lower quality woods probably can’t handle intentional abuse. Still, you need to be extremely gentle so as not to break the whole product.

If you save yourself from a major mishap and purchase good quality wood, it will endure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does This Really Result in a Distressed Look?


All of the provided methods offer different paths for achieving your desired look. Use the process that works best for you.

Don’t be afraid to try multiple methods either!

Are Some Methods Harmful to the Wood?

This depends on the method you’re choosing to go with as well as the quality of wood.

Methods like tea staining and painting won’t damage the wood unless it’s in very poor shape. However, processes like fake denting, scratching, or anything where you’re using more force obviously have a negative impact on the wood and should be carried out rather carefully to avoid any major damage that compromises the integrity of the object. In short, just be patient and aware of how much damage you’re inflicting at a given time.

Final Verdict

We agree that the aged and weathered wood looks pretty cool.

Now that you’ve reached this part of the article, we can confidently say that you know everything that you need to get started: you now know enough to now artificially age your wood.

Natural aging is a long process and takes decades to actually achieve the “vintage” appearance people want. With the methods above, you can make the aging process faster and weather your wood within a week or so.