Get the Vintage Barn Wood Look with Brand New Wood


Hi ya’ll!  Are you as in love with the vintage barn wood look as I am?  I have an obsession with old wood- whether it’s a weathered piece of fencing laying on the side of the road or a well-worn piece of barn siding on sale at one of my local honey holes.  (The term honey hole is widely used in the furniture refinishing world- it’s how us DIY’ers refer to those awesome hole in the wall places where we find all of our old goodies. 😊)

But what happens when your stash of old wood runs empty?  Today, I’m going to show you how to get that vintage barn wood look with a brand new piece of wood.

I found this cute little lantern under a pile of other goodies at my local thrift store.

Before Lantern and Hook

I can hardly ever pass up a lantern- they’re such a fun way to add charm to your décor.  I gave it a quick coat with one of my favorite spray paints, Rust-Oleum Chalked Spray Paint in Serenity Blue

Rustoleum Serenity Blue

Normally I prefer to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and brush apply it, but this lantern was really tiny and I was not looking forward to hand painting all those little slats.  Spray paint to the rescue!

While I spray painted the lantern, a small wall hook and a few other goodies, my DIY’er in training was working on her own project- a wooden cabin birdhouse for her Pappy’s 60th birthday. 😊

Erica DIY

I distressed the lantern and wall hook lightly with this fine grit sanding sponge and then sealed them with Annie Sloan Clear Wax.

Check out Part II of my Chalk Painting Tutorial to see how I seal with wax.

Distressed Lantern and Hook

I knew an old piece of barn wood would be the perfect backdrop to this cute little lantern, but I didn’t have even a single sliver left.  Plus, it was only Monday and my favorite honey hole for barn wood wasn’t open again until Thursday (I’ve told you before that I’m super impatient, right?) so I decided to make my own.

First, I dug out a piece of pine wood from my scrap bin.  It actually turned out to be the perfect size so I didn’t even have to trim it (I love it when that happens).

Scrap Wood

The first step was to sand the edges smooth and round off the corners with a 320 grit sanding disc and my DeWalt Orbital Sander.

I know this seems counterintuitive to the “old” look, but this step will limit the potential for splinters.  To help maintain the old look, I usually sand a bit haphazardly angling my sander and pressing it harder into some areas than others.  This gives the edge a wavy look.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this process, but you can see the end result (aka the “wavy” edges) in a few of the photos below.  If you’re interested in learning more, let me know and I can put together a quick tutorial.

The next step is to give the wood that well-worn, aged, beat up look.  To do that, place your wood on a soft surface.  I placed mine on the carpeted section of my SheShop.  Then, CAREFULLY, beat the would with a piece of metal chain.  Any chain will work- an old dog leash, a swing set chain or a couple feet of chain from a local home improvement store (they usually sell it by the inch).

Chain Distress

This part of the process is funny and will make you feel a bit silly, but I cannot stress this enough: be diligent and take care or you could hurt yourself.  I never do this process when other people are nearby and I don’t swing the chain like I’m trying to hit a home run in baseball.  Pine is a relatively soft wood so light easy swings will be enough to get the look you’re going for.

For some added age and distressing, you can also randomly hit the wood with the front and back of a hammer- again, CAREFUL is the name of the game here.

Hammer Distress

Now its time for stain.  I used my favorite Minwax Finishing Cloths in Dark Mahogony.

Minwax Finishing Cloths

I love these-they are a huge time saver.  Check out this post for my list of time-saving DIY products.  These finishing cloths are pre-soaked with stain, have little smell and dry in an hour.  Just wipe on, remove the excess with a clean cloth and an hour or less later, you’re ready to go.

Stained Wood

The stain helps to highlight the age marks we applied with the chain and hammer.  This could be the final product if you prefer (I built a headboard where I stopped after the staining step), but dry brushing on some paint really adds to the vintage look.  I actually started dry brushing just about 15 minutes after applying the stain.

Check out this post for a complete dry brushing tutorial.  To achieve the vintage barnwood look on this piece, I first dry brushed with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Coco.

Coco Dry Brush

Then dry brushed with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Ochre and Old White.

Lastly, I decided to add just the tiniest bit of dry brushing with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence and then sealed with Annie Sloan Clear Wax.

Provence Dry Brush

Provence is very close in color to the Serenity Blue Chalked Spray Paint I used to finish the lantern and I thought it would tie the entire piece together perfectly.

I added some hooks for hanging to the back of the board then attached the wall hook to the center of my finished barn wood. I attached everything with basic construction screws and a ratcheting screwdriver.  That’s another plus to working with a soft wood like pine- no drill necessary.

I hung my finished lantern from the mounted wall hook and voila!  Instant charm!  Giving this piece of new pine the old barn wood look took less than an hour.

I hope this post has inspired you to create some vintage barn wood looks as well.  If you can’t find a honey hole, just make your own!

Keep creating!

blog signature (black ink)- actual size


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