The Ultimate Guide on How to Distress Wood

The Ultimate Guide on How to Distress Wood

Distressed wood gives any piece of furniture a unique, weathered look that adds character and interest to any space. But weathering wood naturally is a process that takes years or even decades to accomplish, and genuine antique furniture can be expensive.

Taking on your own DIY wood distressing project is a great option for achieving the same look in a short amount of time for a low cost. There are many routes you can take when learning how to distress wood. You can choose to use a stain on the wood or use tools to mimic years of wear and tear. You can also learn how to distress painted wood for a unique weathered look.

Learn more about how to distress wood with our ultimate guide:

Creating Wear and Tear

Those learning how to distress wood usually love this first step. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can mimic the wear and tear that naturally comes to wood over decades of exposure to the elements. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Gather hammers, nails, and any other tools you have on hand that can be used to bang on the wood.
  • Bang the hammer or other blunt object against the board to create large dents.
  • Create “wormholes” by poking nails into the wood in random patterns.
  • Use a chisel to scrape at the edges of the board.
  • Slam a chain against the board or walk on the board over gravel to create small indentations.

 Staining the Wood

The next step in how to distress wood is choosing a stain to give the wood a unique color. Stains come in all kinds of shades and tones, so you can choose a stain to give the wood a yellow tone, cherry tone, or even a driftwood look. Once you have purchased the stain you’d like to use, follow these steps to give your wood a new look:

  • Sand the wood you’ll be distressing to ensure the stain adheres to the surface.
  • Wipe the surface clean of dust and debris.
  • Use a paint brush or rag to apply the stain to the wood.
  • Repeat layers of stain until you’ve achieved the tone and depth of color you’re after.
  • Consider layering multiple colors if you still haven’t achieved the right color.

 How to Distress Painted Wood

Learning how to distress painted wood is similar to the process of distressing stained or bare wood, but you’ll want to take note of a few slight differences before you get started. We’ll walk you through the process of painting the wood and then explain what to do next:

  • Begin by sanding the surface so the paint will adhere better to the wooden surface.
  • Choose a light shade of paint and apply it with a light hand. You don’t need to cover every inch of the board—leaving some random patches will work to your advantage while distressing the wood.
  • Allow the paint to dry for up to 24 hours.
  • Choose a more bold color for the topcoat and paint a second layer.
  • Let the paint dry until it is slightly sticky, then wipe the top layer of paint with a damp rag to expose the layer underneath.

Now that we’ve walked you through how to make wood look distressed, it’s time for you to get DIYing! Your distressed wood piece will be sure to add character and interest to your space. You can further complete the rustic look by adding a sliding barn door. Artisan Hardware has a wide selection of beautiful barn doors that can take your room to the next level. Find inspiration for your home by visiting Artisan Hardware online today.