The Best Stain for Weathered Wood Look

If you love farmhouse and rustic, you’re probably also wanting the best stain for weathered wood look too! Those things go together like peas in a pod right? Learn how to give wood a weathered look right here, right now!

Have you ever tried to get that barn wood look on new wood and the color just looked fake? Or have you looked at the price of faux weathered wood?? It’s expensive!

So why not DIY weathered wood yourself.

Here’s how!

Learn how to paint faux weathered wood instead of staining here. Because sometimes you aren’t starting with raw wood, or wood that can even be stained. Paint it instead!

The Best Stain for Weathered Wood

The Best Stain for Weathered Wood Look

I have tried a few products hoping to get the perfect barn wood finish. But they all seem to just look fake.

Nothing has worked for me until I finally tried this DIY weathered wood stain.

If you like painting or refinishing, you most likely already have these two ingredients in your home!

DIY Weathered Wood Stain

Have you ever heard of homemade stain?

It’s a simple recipe with vinegar and steel wool that turns wood different shades, just like a stain. But without the strong chemical smells or the price tag.

I mean sure, a quart of Minwax stain is less than $10, but what if you could make the same amount of stain for less than $5?

Plus there are no VOC’s and it’s eco-friendly! AND it looks more authentic. What more could you ask for?

First things first, if you want it to really look like weathered wood, you will want to recreate the dings, scratches, and gouges that you see in real weathered wood!

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How to Make Weathered Wood

Keep in mind that this should be done before you apply any stain. So after you mix up your stain, grab some of these tools and start making weathered wood!

Here are a few ideas on how to make weathered wood from new wood.

  • Hammer
  • Metal Chain
  • Screws and Nails
  • Screw Driver
  • Chisel
  • Rough Rocks
  • A Paved or Dirt Road

Take your hammer to the wood and get your frustrations out.

Lay some screws and nails on the wood and hit them a few times randomly on the wood.

You can drop a heavy metal chain on your wood to create dents in the wood.

Or scratch up the surface with a screwdriver!

You can use a chisel to take some wood from the edges as well.

And even drop rough rocks on the wood.

If you really want to look crazy, you can drag your wood down the road and back to create a lot of scratches and gouges. Yeah, I’ve definitely done this a few times. haha!

Once you have it scratched up to your liking, you can sand it down a bit with 220 grit sandpaper and then stain it.

Supplies for DIY Weathered Wood Stain

How to Make DIY Weathered Wood Stain

1 Put a pad of steel wool into an empty mason jar (I used a pint-sized jar).

how to give wood a weathered look

2. Pour your distilled white vinegar into the jar, making sure to cover the steel wool completely.

how to give wood a weathered look

3. Grab the lid to the jar and LOOSELY screw on the lid. You don’t want to screw it on tightly because of the chemical reaction taking place inside of the jar.

how to give wood a weathered look

4. Now the hardest part – let it sit for 15-24 hours.

The longer it sits the darker the stain will get. I did this before bed one night so I could easily be patient.

After waiting patiently, grab the stain, some gloves, your wood, and a cheap paintbrush.

how to give wood a weathered look

5. Remove the steel wood pad from the vinegar.

Don’t throw it away until you have tested the stain and know that it is the right shade for you. If you want it darker, place the steel wool back into the vinegar and wait a few more hours.

Keep repeating this process until it is just right. Once you know it is just right you can dispose of the steel wool.

**Just a reminder -before applying the stain to all of your wood, test it out on a scrap piece of the same type of wood.

how to give wood a weathered look

6. Apply your new stain just like you would any other stain, except you don’t have to wipe it off. Simply dip your brush into the stain and brush it on.

It will look clear and it may look like it didn’t work. Don’t worry! The stain has to react to the wood, this usually takes about 15 minutes to complete.

how to give wood a weathered look

7. Let it dry completely and then add more coats if desired. That’s all there is to it! I found it fun to see what different shades I could get by trying the stain at different stages.

how to give wood a weathered look

That’s all there is to it! I found it fun to see what different shades I could get by trying the stain at different stages.

Mix up the recipe!

Once I found a shade that I liked I poured some of the stain into a new jar (without any steel wool) and kept the rest of the vinegar with the steel wool to see what new shade I could get in a few hours.

There are many other recipes out there just like this. They use the same principle, vinegar and some form of metal to produce different colors of stain. Try using balsamic vinegar or red cider vinegar instead of distilled white vinegar and rusty nails instead of steel wool to get different colors!

It really does give the appearance of the popular barn wood finish!

I love to hear from you! Let me know if you’re going to try it or if you already have! I can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S. If you like this tutorial, please pin and share for your family and friends!

The Best Stain for Weathered Wood

More Weathered Wood Ideas for You!

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  1. That’s brilliant. I wonder what would happen with a bit of paint in it.

    1. Did you do any kind of protective coating to protect the surface from moisture rings?

      1. Hey Kathy!
        Yep I would put 3 coats of water based poly on it to protect it.

  2. I would like to try this for my shiplap walls. Have you receied any other feedback since you published this?

    1. That would be a great project! I would just recommend trying out the stain on the wood first so you know what it’s going to do. It will look different depending on the type of wood.

  3. Bill Eckert says:

    I think I’m going to go through a lot of vinegar…This information is priceless. I’m intrigued with the idea of using different elements like rusty metals, steel wool, and different kinds of vinegars. to achieve custom colors and shades. Thank you.

  4. Ginger Brown says:

    I tried using water based polyurethane but the finished product does not look the same as the original did before the poly. Any suggestions ? The original distressed wood look I achieved looks great but I am disappointed in how the polyurethane makes it looks. These are pantry shelves so they really should be protected

    1. I have the same question. I hope someone answers it for you 🙂

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