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.