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
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  1. 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?


  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] 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! […]

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

  3. […] 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. […]

  4. […] 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 […]

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