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How to Make New Wood Look Old, Weathered and RusticHow to Make New Wood Look Old, Weathered and Rustic

I have a confession to make. All the wood that you saw on my art studio wall is not exactly old or salvaged. Will you forgive me if I share with you the Secret to Make New Wood Look Old, Weathered and Rustic? 

In order to have enough wood, I had to buy some new pine boards off the shelf at Lowe’s. I actually chose furring strip boards because they are already chewed up and imperfect.

But, I also grabbed a few other supplies:

Optional: General Finishes Flat Out Flat Top Coat to protect furniture.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

The Secret of Weathered Boards: 

Old rustic boards are gray and have enhanced grain and plenty of dings and character. Replicating that look can be tricky unless you have the right tools, glazes, and a few tricks up your sleeve.

I wrote another post about aging and antiquing that shares some other techniques, but today I’ll focus solely on making new lumber look old.

Weathered boards have a warm gray color. To create this color I stained the boards with Rustoleum sunbleached. Then wiped off the excess.

Next I added a little Minwax Early American and wiped it off.

The results are the blue-gray weathered look. For more dimension and detail try adding the glazing technique described below.


My Secret Rustic Glaze Formula:

UPDATE: Valspar stopped making the products I originally used. I’ve tried a lot of alternatives, and settled on General Finishes Van Dyke and Pitch Black glazes to get the same look. The good news is that you don’t need the additional clear mixing glaze.

There is nothing in this world more beautiful to me than rustic barn wood. Those dark chocolate timbers that look like they’ve been gathering dirt for decades are gorgeous in my eyes.

To fake this look I created a glaze that works wonders when wiped over new lumber.

Mix 2 parts Van Dyke glaze and 1 part Pitch Black glaze.

Secret Formula to Age Wood

Mix thoroughly. The resulting color should be a very dark chocolate color. Adjust your color by adding more VanDyke or more Pitch Black.

Dip your flat brush into the glaze and drag it over the wood. The glaze really accentuates the grain in the wood.

Shake or tap the brush on a stick to give your lumber age freckles.

For more uniform color, brush the glaze over the entire board (don’t forget the ends of the wood.)

Rub the glaze into the wood and wipe off any excess.

Take a look at the difference:

Not bad, did you know this farm crate sign is brand spankin’ new?

I hope I fooled you. Here’s the tutorial for making the farm crate sign.

In the meantime, have fun aging those new boards! I’d love to hear if you try these techniques and how they worked for you.

How to Make New Wood Look Old

92 replies
  1. Sherrie
    Sherrie says:

    I very much appreciate how you share your techniques. I have stripped and stained plenty of furniture but I know absolutely nothing about this other. I know how much I love it. Your one of the few that share step by step tutorials. I have learned so much through your blogs and say everyone of them for reference. Thank You!

  2. Cher @ Designs by Studio C
    Cher @ Designs by Studio C says:

    I love layering stains… Isn’t the Sunbleached stain by Rustoleum the bomb?? I am a huge fan (and frequent stalker) of Rustoleum wood products. The Sunbleached looks especially stunning on oak! Did you paint the greenish-blue boards on the wall too? Will you share the color name? I really love that color, as well as the color of the table base and stools!

  3. Beth H
    Beth H says:

    Hi Brittany. Just found your blog after I saw you follow me on Hometalk. I too am an avid DIY’er and furniture repurposer. (ok. Thats not a word) whatever. I love working with wood as well. I love your wood wall! I’m in the process of building a media cabinet and staining it with the new gray stain that Varathane has. Can’t wait to unveil it! (a few more days) I actually got the plans from Ana White. If you haven’t seen her blog, you must visit. It’s the Restoration Hardware Printers Cabinet. Anyway, I’m off to explore your blog, please come by and visit mine! Looking forward to hearing from you…

  4. Gina
    Gina says:

    Hi there! For the glaze… did you do the glaze on top of the first 2 stains? (rustoleum bleached and minwax american) OR are the pictures you show above of the glaze on new bare wood.

    let me know. thanks!

  5. Inspire Me Heather
    Inspire Me Heather says:

    Your wall is AMAZING – nicely done!! Thanks for posting your “how-to” on the wood (you would never know it was new wood on there!), I’ve got this linked to my weathered wood post too today!

  6. Shilpa
    Shilpa says:

    Thank you so much for this tip! My husband and I used this recipe to turn a new treasure box–to look old! It looks awesome!

    Thank you again!

  7. Kayla
    Kayla says:

    I wanted to ask a silly question. When you mix your glazes you say part. Does that mean a cup or do you just pour it in there and mix it up until you find the mocha looking color?

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Kayla, I do kind of eyeball the mixture when mixing it. But, you can experiment. I’m not sure the exact mixture, but you wouldn’t want to use cups or you’d have a LOT of glaze. But, here’s an example: Mix 4 parts clear mixing glaze with 2 part mocha glaze and 1 part antiquing asphaltum glaze. (try 1 cup clear glaze, 1/2 cup mocha glaze, and 1/4 cup asphaltum) But, even still that’s a lot of the mixture, so try halving that recipe if you only need a little. Good luck.

  8. Isaac Esparza
    Isaac Esparza says:

    Hello I tried your technique, here is what I did:

    I applied the sunbleached first (about three coats) and then let it dry. Afterwards I applied the early american. I did not obtain the blue-grey results in the picture. What would you recommend I do to achieve those results.

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Isaac, it probably depends on your wood you are using. I used pine. I also only stained it one coat. You might try mixing a latex paint in the color you like with water to create a wash instead of using a stain.

  9. Amelia
    Amelia says:

    I think this is the best method I’ve seen online for making wood look antique! However, I’m a little worried with my teeny tiny budget that the three glazes are going to add up to be a lot. I tried looking up the cost but couldn’t find anything. I was wondering if perhaps you remember approximately how much they cost?

  10. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I LOVE repurposing items, especially boxes. I get a regular shipment of acai juice and the shipping containers are an EXCELLENT size for bathroom waste cans, storage bins, etc. At first I was covering them with decorative contact paper, then I began decoupaging them with magazine pages (another item I hate to toss—beautiful pictures, why waste them??). Any other ideas for giving these boxes a make-over and new use??

  11. pj
    pj says:

    There is also wallpaper & anaglypta wallcovering that resembles wood. Burlap, canvas, or feedsacks are other ideas. Thin unfinished veneer also comes in sheets, but that would be more expensive.

  12. Kelli
    Kelli says:

    Hi there!
    I love the look of your glazed wood and decided to head to lowes and get all the stuff to try to make a “wainscoting” for my bathroom. I used a different wood than you and it definitely turned out darker than yours. It doesn’t have any grey to it and it looks just like the mocha brown color. What do you suggest I do to get less brown and more grey? Thank you!

  13. Dandy
    Dandy says:

    Could you be so kind as to give me your suggested recipe for a Grey weathered finish (not blue!) with a touch of brown undertones? And which wood would be best? Thanks so much!

  14. Leigh Wood
    Leigh Wood says:

    I am wondering if I could use Valspar antiquing glaze lightly OVER my painted EXTERIOR shutters? Most glazing projects I see are for indoor projects. I love the look of the waxes used over chalk paint but I don’t think I can use any waxes on exterior wood. My shutters are painted a french blue using oil based paint and I want to add a little patina to them.

  15. Michael
    Michael says:

    Hi. I am trying to locate all the valspar products you have listed and am finding it somewhat difficult. It there any alternatives or do you know where I could find these products? I tried lowes and they did not have it.

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Michael, I noticed that our Lowe’s doesn’t carry it either. I actually called Valspar today and they confirmed that it is no longer manufactured. I’m looking for a similar product and will get back to you or I’ll have to write a tutorial on creating your own Asphaltum glaze ;-).

  16. Michael
    Michael says:

    Hi there. So I found all the valspar products finally. My project that I am doing is with brand new douglas fir and I already sanded it down pretty good. Is the effect with all the valspar products going to show up like your did being sanded?

  17. Emily
    Emily says:


    I really like the antique look to those boards. I am trying to do something similar with a pine headboard – totally brand new. But I want it to look more like the white and faded pieces you have on your wall. (Actually the board to the right, at the top of the star, is Exactly how I want my headboard to look.) How did you make the boards lighter?

    Really beautiful wall, by the way!

  18. Patrick Monahan
    Patrick Monahan says:


    It seems that they do not make the translucent color glaze anymore. Do you know of any alternatives? Or can the glaze be effective without?

    Thank You

  19. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    Hi, I need some help. I used a oil based rustoleom stain weathered gray. Which came out looking a very blue grey. I did some researching to tone it down. They said use a Ralph Lauren glaze tinted Black Silk. The man at Home Depot told me I can not use that as it is a water based glaze. I need this furniture done in a week and need help on toning it down. Any answers would be appreciated. She would like a true weathered look.

  20. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    I will be doing to secret rustic glaze formula on a wood plank top coffee table. Do you think I need to do a polyethylene coat on top to protect it from stains?? Thoughts?

  21. Fay
    Fay says:

    Just found this tutorial & I’m loving it. How long do I need to wait between applying the miniwax & the next coat?
    If I wanted to get more of a honey colored board, what paint colors would you recommend I mix with the clear mixing glaze? Thanks

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Fay, you need to wait until the minwax is dry to the touch (not tacky.) Regarding the honey color, I’d start with a stain color that will mimic that color. Then if you want more depth and aged look you can follow up with the glaze.

  22. donnie bowers
    donnie bowers says:

    Love this !! Did you have a color added to the rustoleum sun bleached ? That bleu is so pretty, would be overjoyed to know !!

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Donnie, I don’t think the blue color in that photo is accurate. I think the photo came out a little blue. The sun-bleached stain gives a cool gray. You can purchase a sample of blue paint and water it down to create a wash to tint your boards a little more blue. I suggest testing it on some scrap wood first.

  23. Carolyn Bubp
    Carolyn Bubp says:

    I use to have a bottle of the Valspar antiquing glaze but used it all up bought it at Lowes and they now tell me that I have to buy a case from the company as they no longer sell it individually at the stores. Need a bottle to finish a project I am working on, please let me know if you know of a place where I can buy a bottle?

  24. Megan Kelly
    Megan Kelly says:

    Thanks for this information! My husband and I just finished an accent wall in our bedroom using pallet wood this weekend, and your blog was really useful! We definitely took your idea of staining the wood, as the pallets we salvaged were not doing well aging on their own.

  25. Kathryn Friebe
    Kathryn Friebe says:

    I absolutley love this and it is perfectly the look i am going to try and create for a hutch i am redoing. I would like the inside back panel to be the heavy blue -grey weathered barn wood and the outside more of a white wash aged wood look. I just want to make sure I got this process right. Do you start with sunbleached stain, then miniwax early american stain and wipe off and then you would proceed with the secret rustic glaze??? OR do you use first?

  26. Chris
    Chris says:


    Thanks for your efforts in putting together this tutorial. My results so far haven’t been quite what I was hoping for. I did the first step of the sunbleached stain, let it sit for about 5 min. and then wiped off. Then I waited for drying time, then did the minwax step. At this point the board still looks very grey like the minwax stain didn’t do anything. Two questions….was I supposed to apply the sunbleach and instantly wipe it off? After that am I supposed to go straight to the minwax without waiting for dry time?

    Thank you

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Chris, I don’t let the sunbleached stain sit long at all. Just wipe it off immediately. I think I added the Minwax shortly after. You might want to try two coats of the Minwax. And make sure it is stirred up well.

      • Chris
        Chris says:

        Thank you so much for replying Brittany! I tried wiping off immediately and going straight to the minwax and that came up with much better results! Now my question is do you go straight to the glaze as well, or do you let the stain dry overnight first?


  27. Linda L Weeks
    Linda L Weeks says:

    I will be checking out the other posts in this technique! It looks wonderful! I must admit, I like the wood with freckles the best!

  28. Heidi Comito
    Heidi Comito says:

    Is this technique effective on the outside of the house that gets direct sunlight?
    I have burnt and clear coated (did not sand the wood before or after) the outside of my house twice in 2 years because I get direct sunlight, and the sun continuously fades it all away everytime. I can’t keep the weathered rustic look.


  29. Lori Hartman
    Lori Hartman says:

    I have some white glaze and dark glaze. Could I put on the white thickly and then glaze the wood again with the dark glaze? I don’t have a vehicle to go the store and I’d really like to try this today. Thanks for your help.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Liked this tutorial? I think you’re going to love my Secret Formula for Aging New Wood: […]

  2. […] Are you amazed? I used almost all of the pallet wood and scraps that I had lying around my workshop! I purchased just a few 1″ x 4″ pine boards for the ledges. Then  made those new boards look old! […]

  3. […] How to Make New Wood Look Old, Weathered and Rustic […]

  4. […] Reclaimed wood seems to be the perfect material to make DIY gifts out of.  We have made a few different custom wall hangings using various types of reclaimed wood and love the rustic look.  We found out that a family friend was replacing some of his older barn boards and were lucky enough to snag a few for our stash!  Barn wood and pallet wood are great options for this project, but don’t rule out other sources of lumber.  We’ve actually used old decking boards for tons of projects.  If you can’t find any wood to reclaim, take a peek at Brittany’s tutorial on how to make new wood look old, weathered, and rustic. […]

  5. […] you want more sign projects, see how Brittany made new wood look old and created a wooden sign here. Come see all the spring projects I’m up to at Decor […]

  6. […] that look with new lumber. To get that rustic look, you either need old reclaimed lumber or the skills to stain and distress new wood. I chose the first option and bought reclaimed rafters from The ReUse Warehouse in Durham, […]

  7. […] glaze for the bedroom’s wooden ledge. i wanted it to look a bit reclaimed/rustic. i followed these directions more or less to make […]

  8. […] How to make new wood look old, weathered and rustic […]

  9. […] Color Glaze; Mocha, Antiquing Glaze, Clear Mixing Glaze I found a tutorial on how to make wood look rustic from Brittany Bailey over at Pretty handy Girl. Thank you […]

  10. […] Pretty Handy Girl: How to Make New Wood Look Old … – I have a confession to make. All the wood that you saw on my art studio wall is not exactly old and salvaged. In order to have enough wood, I had to buy some new pine …… […]

  11. […] How to make new wood look old, weathered and rustic […]

  12. […] Chalkboard lids tutorial here. As a follow up to this post, I shared my top secret recipe for making new wood look old! And how to get the true chippy paint look: You may also want to check out my gallery […]

  13. […] hangers, use a rope or twine and decorative pins, find some artsy knobs and put them on a painted piece of wood, hang hooks like these directely on the wall, mount a long towel rack and use s hooks. The […]

  14. […] the unfinished wood looked against the ambiance of the room. I did some research and ended up using this blog’s instructions showing how to make a secret rustic glaze formula. I was extremely impressed with how […]

  15. […] 2. Making New Wood Look Old […]

  16. […] Then I wiped a glaze over the board to further age it. (Read my tutorial for making new wood look new.) […]

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