DIY Aging Wood


Hello my fellow Mass Appeal crafters!

Barn wood is all the rage right now in home decor but real barn wood can be expensive. On our Mass Appeal segment we are going to show you how to get that aged look without the price and the long wait. Here are a few quick and inexpensive methods for you to try!


Ammonia ages wood but takes about a week. Just pour some ammonia into a bag, put the wood item into the bag and twist tie it off. People age baskets with this method as well.

Baking Soda

Baking soda ages wood with a subtle yellow color. The effect isn’t as dramatic as the vinegar method. I use 1 box of baking soda and 2 cups of boiling water and paint it on the wood. After waiting 24 hours, I then use the vinegar method for further aging.

Coffee and Tea

Black coffee and black tea work for slight aging. Again, I paint on coffee AND tea on wood. Wait for a few hours for the liquid to dry, then move on to the vinegar method.

Food Coloring and Rit Dye

Many colors can be achieved by using food coloring or rit dye. You can get this look by applying the baking soda method. After allowing the wood to dry, paint on green, red or and blue food coloring. One drop in a cup of water usually works great!

Vinegar and Steel Wool


Wood item

Distilled White Vinegar

Steel Wood Pads

Hydrogen Peroxide ( for a darker finish)

Covered Jar or Spray bottle

Hammer, Screw diver, Paint scrapper, etc. (This is to get the flawed weathered look so any household tool will do)

Matte Waterproof Varnish

Step 1: Cut the steel wool pads into small sections.

Step 2: Pour 2 cups of distilled white vinegar into a covered container, then add the steel wool.

Step 3: Wait for a minimum of 24 hours. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter or cloth and pour the mixture back into the container. The longer you wait, the darker brown the stain will be. If you want a grey stain, 48 hours is perfect. For a dark brown stain, add a few splashes of hydrogen peroxide, then wait for 48+ hours.

Step 4: Pound out some shapes with your tools, scratch the wood diagonally with the paint scrapper. The more you do this, the more aged the wood will become.

Step 5: Spray the mixture on the wood. Wait for 12-24 hours to dry.

Step 6: Take your paint scrapper and drag more lines into the wood. Spray the mixture into the lines. Repeat!

Step 7: Seal your project with a matte waterproof sealer.

You can also get beautiful effects by painting different colored stains into the flaws and layering the stains. Paint diagonal lines with each stain, adding more flaws with your tools. (More info on this tomorrow)

All these methods will be tried on the show tomorrow, provided we have time. I use ALL the methods on the show (except the ammonia) and the look is exactly like barn wood! Remember, the darker the wood, the better results you will get because the wood has more tannin content. Coffee and tea also have tannins, so you are adding more to the wood before the chemical process. Oak gives the best driftwood effect. Poplar doesn’t give much affect because it is too light. However, that is the wood I had as a sample for the show. Mahogany will turn to an ebony color with the vinegar method. Be sure to test the stain before using it on a project and time your chemicals so you can replicate your stain color.

Let me know how it works for you! You’ll see me tomorrow and I hope to see YOU at Fancy That Antiques!

Warm regards,

Malena and Bruce