Create a faux wood pallet wall

Blue Cow Kitchen wall
While up in LA for a Design Bloggers’ Conference, I had dinner at Blue Cow Kitchen and was completely drawn to the rustic, modern décor—exposed light bulbs, paper mache taxidermy and a wood pallet wall, the piece de resistance.

Scott and I talked about recreating it on one of the walls in our bedroom. After doing extensive research on using pallets in interiors, I decided pallets weren’t the best option. Dismanteling them was going to be extremely time consuming, and I worried about what the pallets might have been used to transport, like chemicals.
EverTrue
While hunting down Plan B, I discovered this EverTrue Edge V-Groove unfinished pine paneling. It’s not available in store at Lowe’s, but you can order it online and pick it up in the store. I took measurements and ordered nine packages of six (design for less than $100!).

I wanted to mimic the different wood tones that I saw in Blue Cow Kitchen. We bought three quarts of stain—Jacobean, Classic Gray and Natural.
Scott cutting
Scott cut the planks at different lengths to give the wall more variations—from six-inch pieces to 48-inch lengths. He just did it at random, but it’s wise to keep several long (we left one package of stained planks uncut), so you can cut what you need as you go.
Stain colors
We concocted five different colors with our three cans of stain. We used each of them in a pure state and layered the Gray with the Jacobean and the Natural. Don’t wait until the stain dries to layer. Using a sponge brush, we swiped on one color, let it sit a few minutes and used a rag to take off the excess before brushing on the second color with a different brush and a new rag.
Stained boards
After letting the boards dry completely for 24 hours, Scott and I began hanging.
The hanging begins
Starting at the bottom left corner of the wall, we used a nail gun to fasten the first board to the wall. We worked left to right and bottom to top, completing each row with pieces of our uncut boards.
Nailing boards
Using the Japanese saw
When we got to the window, we used a small Japanese flush cut saw to cut the boards flush with the widow frame and stained the edge to match the board.
Our room

Make new wood look old

I comb through goods in thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales looking for old, fabulous stuff. I’m always drawn to the rustic, pieces constructed from perfectly aged wood with hints of patina and rust. But age comes with a price, and my frugal self can’t always justify the cost.

So I decided to experiment with faking the aging process of wood so that eventually, I can replace the glass shelves in my brother’s Vittsjo bookcases with faux rustic wood ones. I want them to look more like this.
Aging new wood
I used a scrap piece of authentic old wood I snagged at the salvage yard to use as my model to recreate the perfectly weathered gray that still highlighted the board’s wood grain.
Salvage wood model
I didn’t want too much stain to permeate the wood. I figured that wouldn’t give me the weather-beaten look I longed for, so I started brushing water on to the clean board using a sponge brush.
Wetting the board
I wiped the water away, then used another sponge brush and long strokes to apply one light coat of Weathered Oak stain. I wiped the stain away with a clean, dry, cotton rag, then went to work on the wood grain. I made my own concoction for this part—a mixture of mostly water and a bit of black paint. Using a smaller sponge brush, I traced the wood grain in small sections.
Black paint wood grainFaux aged wood
Before any of it was able to dry, I sanded the entire board with a power sander and 180-grit paper.

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