In this post: Love the look of old wood but don’t have any old barn board kicking around? We’ll tell you how to make any wood look old in 3 simple steps – even new wood!

We adore reclaimed wood. At least how it looks. Not so much the price. You see, we don’t live near an abundant source of old barn wood. And what is found near us is definitely not cheap. So we’re going to show you how to make wood look old in 3 simple steps!

how to make wood look old

We used this method at our Bungalow on the shelves we installed above our desk for our home office space makeover.
how to make new wood look old

Paired with the black iron brackets, don’t the shelves look a little antique or vintage?

We also employed this same process on our open kitchen shelving and our Restoration Hardware look shelves.

kitchen open shelves

kitchen pantry open shelves

Wanna know how we do it?

It’s really easy, I promise!

How To Make Wood Look Old

To make new wood look old, sand all of the edges until smooth and slightly rounded in spots. Then bang up the wood to mimic wear and age using an assortment of things (hammer, nails, keys, etc.). Using a foam brush generously apply a dark walnut stain, making sure to let it accumulate in the dents and grooves you’ve just created. Let it sit for a minute or two and then wipe off the excess with a clean lint free cloth. Allow to dry thoroughly.




Step 1: Sand all the roughness out of the new wood. Round the edges a little bit to make them look worn and loved.

Step 2. Use whatever you like to add dings and dents. Hammer, keys, chain. Be sure to smash up the edges too.

Step 3: Use a super dark stain (with grey undertones, not yellow/orange) like Minwax Dark Walnut. The secret here is to apply the stain with a brush, let it sit for several minutes, then gently wipe off the excess with an old (lint-free) rag.

By using a brush, the stain really sinks into the dents & dings, making them nice and dark.

That’s it! Not complicated, not too messy, pretty crazy easy!!!

Do you have any projects you’d like to tackle using new wood – while making it look old? Do you use this same method? If not, how do YOU make new wood look old?


shannon photo and sig oct 2022