How To Weather Wood

Woody Jackson | Last modified on January 27th, 2022

Weathering wood is when a craftsman or craftswoman intentionally causes damage that gives their work an aged appearance. This type of art and craftsmanship has been around for centuries, though it is now more popular than ever thanks to the booming popularity of rustic-style furniture.

How To Weather Wood

In this article, you will learn how to create weathered wood using five different methods. You’ll also be able to find out what weathering wood is and a ton of other stuff. So come on in and check it out!

What Is Weathered Wood?

Weathered wood is a surface finish that appears aged, weathered, and worn, especially after heat treatment. A number of wood finishing methods can create this look on finished wood products. Weathering wood is achieved by applying chemicals and heat to the surface of the wood.

What Is Weathered Wood?

Since wood that has been weathered is aesthetically pleasing, it has a wide variety of uses. These can range from weather-beaten fences to weathered barns. Weathering is often imitated with paint, stain, or similar methods on new wood surfaces. It also refers to the process of treating wood products to recreate or preserve a natural weathering appearance.

How To Weather Wood: 4 Ways That Work

People use many ways to create weathered wood, but there are five that work the best! These are: fake wear and tear, go gray, mix up a richer wood stain, and weather with paint.

Fake Wear And Tear

This is one of the easiest methods to learn! It doesn’t take much time. All you have to do is find a worn piece of wood, and copy it by rubbing it with sandpaper! If you want the weathered look to be noticeably different from its original state, use various grades of sandpaper. Using an electric sander also speeds up the process significantly.

How To Weather Wood: Fake Wear And Tear

Go Gray

The most versatile method is to use a gray stain. This stains the wood by depositing a fine layer of pigment on the wood’s surface. It doesn’t take as much time to do, but it gives you a lot more control over the weathered look of the wood surface. 

How To Weather Wood: Go Gray

To use a gray stain:

  • Remove any old finish from the wood surface by sanding it down with 80-200 grit sandpaper.
  • Lightly sand (100-120 grit) using an electric sander
  • Sand again using 400-600 grit paper, going over areas with light sanding before (120+ grit).

Do this until you see some grey color begin to appear in your sanding marks.

Mix Up A Richer Wood Stain

Another way to weather your wood is to get more color into your stain. This gives the wood more depth and color! 

How To Weather Wood: Mix Up A Richer Wood Stain

To use a richer stain:

  • Apply a base coat of any wood finish you want (this could be paint, varnish, or just a thin layer of stain), and wait for it to dry completely.
  • Apply the same finish to the entire wood surface again (or cover another coat of stain).
  • Let that dry completely before continuing. Apply a layer of dye over the entire wood surface. This will be the weathered color in your wood.

Weather With Paint

  • The following method is to weather your wood with paint. This involves two steps. First, sand it down using 80-200 grit sandpaper, and then stain it with a rich color. To use this method:
  • Sand down the entire wood surface, using 80-200 grit sandpaper until you have a gray surface. Use the same technique as above (use more paper, go over areas that aren’t gray with paper, etc.)
  • Apply dye over the entire wood surface as well (or stain on top of paint). This is where you choose your “weathered” color.

How To Weather Wood With Paint

The next method is where you use paint to get a weathered look. This one is much more time-consuming and challenging, but it can be done if you really put your mind to it! 

To get started:

  • Paint the entire surface of your wood with any variety of colors (I used a dark gray, but you can try any color as long as it has paint on top). You must cover all areas of your wood surface. You can even use a paint roller or brush if you are using a large area. I personally prefer to use a roller.
  • Once you are done painting the entire surface, let it dry for 24 hours or more. This could take a while. Whenever your paint is dry, sand it down using 100-120 grit paper to get rid of any remaining old paint.
  • Sand using a medium grain (200-300) sandpaper. It doesn’t have to be perfect yet.
  • Sand again with 400-600 grit sandpaper until you have a weathered look and feel to your wood. You can use the same technique as you would with the gray stain (go over areas that aren’t weathered enough).

How To Weather Wood With Vinegar

This method takes a long time and a lot of patience, but it’s worth it! 

To start:

  • Apply one coat of white wine or white vinegar over the entire wood surface. Let this sit for 5-7 days until the whole wood surface is soaked in vinegar.
  • Sand down the entire wood surface using 80-200 grit sandpaper.
  • Apply another coat of your finish (I used whitewash from this point on). Wait for 5-7 days. Sand down your wood again using 100-150 grit sandpaper.
  • Apply more whitewash if necessary until you get a weathered look! You may also need to add more coats of varnish or paint.


How Do You Make Wood Look Weathered?

The best way to make wood look weathered is to use a stain. The darker the stain, the more aged your wooden object will appear. Because of this, it’s important that you prepare and seal the wood before staining it with any color.

How Long Does It Take To Weather Wood?

The process to weather wood is very time-consuming. For large projects, about 1 month of work can be expected to weather wood depending on what type of wood is being used. For smaller, individual items it usually takes a lot less time due to the amount of work that needs to be done.

What Is The Fastest Way To Weather Wood?

The fastest way to weather wood is to use rough sandpaper. Sandpaper can be found in hardware stores, lumber yards, and home centers. Sandpaper comes in a variety of grits that measure how fine the sandpaper is. Grits range from a course at 60-80 grit and fine at 220-320 grit.

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