DIY Distressed Wood


Distressed wood furnishings and fixtures never seem to go out of style. A distressed wood look brings an antique element to household accent pieces or wood panels and trim, giving it a soft, rustic appeal. With a few tools, special paints and shellacs, you can create the rustic look on any wood material that you like.

Things You'll Need

  • Nuts, bolts and screws
  • Canvas bag
  • Water-based stain
  • Shellac sealer
  • Painter's brush (premium quality)
  • Alcohol
  • Powdered-colored pigment
  • Wood glaze
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Dry cloth
  • Clear wood polish
  • Place a handful of metal nuts, large screws and heavy bolts in a canvas bag and tie it tightly closed. Hit the wood surface with the bag to create dents and dings. Concentrate on the edges, which is where wear and tear most naturally occurs.

  • Smear the wood with a water-based stain paint. Run the stain over the dents and bruises so that they will appear darker. Rub off any excess with a clean cloth. Seal the wood using a shellac sealer to maintain the stain's appearance.

  • Create cup marks on the wood with a round-based metal container filled with hot water and a wet underside. Leave the container on the wood for 10 minutes.

  • Mix alcohol with a powdered-colored pigment of your choice according to the manufacturer's directions. Apply the mixture to the wood with a premium quality 2-inch or 3-inch paintbrush, covering the entire wood surface. Rub the mixture into the wood well to create a darker finish. Apply a coat of clear wood polish once the surface dries.

  • Use a paintbrush to apply distressed wood glaze using long, even strokes in the same direction as the wood's grain. Allow the paint to dry overnight. Use a 100-grit sandpaper to sand random areas on the surface. Apply more pressure to areas that would naturally wear more quickly, such as the legs and edges on a table. Clean the surface with a dry cloth to remove excess dust. Coat table with a wood finish.

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