For the longest time, I have wanted to know how to make new wood look like reclaimed wood. Often times we don't have the time or access to find the amazing reclaimed wood suppliers out there. Sometimes we are in a rush and want to know that we can buy wood the right size and "reclaim" it ourselves. Well guess what, I found out how to do it, I'm here to share it with you... and it is SO EASY!
For me, since I don't own a saw, I like to go to the hardware store, have them cut my wood for me, and then bring it home to do what I do.
What is it that I do? Glad you asked!
I have gone through a few tutorials and this is what I have found to be the best yet.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- Wood you want to "reclaim"
- Sand paper (I used 120 grit, you are welcome to use whatever you have)
- Sanding Block (optional)
- A handful of screws (doesn't matter the size, a plus if they are ones that have a point)
- Gloves (optional)
- 2-3 paint brushes (one for a water wash, one for each color stain you have)
- Bowl of water
- Working surface you don't mind getting dirty
- Stain (I use MINWAX Ebony and/or Dark Walnut). I like to use two or more colors to end up with different variations of wood so not all pieces are matching.
- Denatured Alcohol(optional)
Step 1: Sand rough edges of the wood. Use the sand paper alone or with the sanding block. If you sand it after, the "reclaimed" treatment will come off exposing the new looking wood underneath... so do it beforehand.
Step 2: Now it's time to beat up that wood! On the side of the wood that you want to "reclaim" take your hammers and pound little knicks all over the wood. Besides hitting the wood straight on with the hammer, twist it a little so the side of the head of the hammer hits the wood creating various size and shape nicks. Then take the handful of screws that you gathered and place them in a rag. Gather the rag at the top so the screws don't fall out and pound the wood with the screw rag. Feel free to find other items around the house that you can bang the wood up with. These nicks are going to help make it look worn.
Step 3: Wipe down your wood with a rag. Get any sawdust or debris off.
Step 4: Staining! If you have not worked with stain before, know that it can stain anything it touches. So wear clothes you don't care about, think about wearing gloves or an apron, and place wood on a work surface that you don't mind getting totally dirty. I place my wood on pieces of cardboard.
- Option 1: Paint stain directly on wood, cover the entire surface (up to you if you want to do the back side), then wipe off immediately.
- Option 2: Cover the wood with a water wash first and then paint stain on wood, covering the entire surface, then wipe off with a rag. This technique might need to be repeated a few times on the same piece of wood to get the desired look.
- Option 3: Do a mix of both "option 1" and "option 2" to get a variety of finishes. That is what I did. Remember, part of the reason wood looks "reclaimed" is that it is mismatched and un-uniformed so you can try different techniques even if all the pieces you're working on go to the same project.
Step 5: Lay out to dry!
Step 6 (optional): I got a tip from an older gentleman that saw me near my garage working on this project. He told me, after my wood dries, to wipe down the wood with Denatured Alcohol and it will cut the sheen of the new wood. I have yet to try it, however, I am interested to hear anyone's experiences with it.
Step 7: IMPORTANT! Discarding of stain soaked rags and cardboard. DO NOT SIMPLY THROW THEM IN YOUR TRASH. If the rags and cardboard are still wet and piled on top of each other, they can start a fire. It's important to lay your rags and cardboard out to dry completely. Your rags should be crisp when they are dry, I usually let them dry overnight, you can then discard them.
Definitely don't be afraid to play around and get experimental with these techniques. Remember, part of the reason wood looks "reclaimed" is that it is mismatched and ununiformed. The beauty of doing this, it that you don't need to be anywhere near perfect to get perfect results. So try one technique on a few pieces of wood and try another on the other pieces of wood and GET CRAZY with it!
**Super excited to hear how your project goes!**
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