How to Weather Wood FAST (Barnwood Effect)





Introduction: How to Weather Wood FAST (Barnwood Effect)

This Instructable and video will show you how to achieve a QUICK weathered wood effect to simulate what would otherwise take months and years of water and sunshine to accomplish.

Step 1: How to Weather Wood (Barnwood Effect)

This is an old method I use for achieving a gray "weathered" effect in wood. I also show you how to use a wire brush for an even more pronounced effect.

Things you will need:

  • Steel Wool (#000 or #0000)
  • Vinegar
  • Wire Brush
  • Board (I use Pine, but also show the effect on Poplar and Red Oak)
  • Spare containers (small bucket, a couple of cups, etc.)


  • Place one of the steel wool pads in a container large enough to hold it.
  • Pour vinegar into container until steel wool is fully submerged.
  • Let this sit for at least 24 hours.
  • (OPTIONAL: For best effect, use wire brush to prepare board. SEE VIDEO.)
  • Pour the dissolved mixture into a new cup. (Pour through a coffee filter to catch any small steel wool bits.)
  • Add water to dilute the mixture. (In the video I show 1-to-1 water-to-vinegar mix.)
  • Apply to wood.
  • Wait while the vinegar mixture reacts with the wood. It will gradually turn a grayish color.



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    7 Discussions

    I tried your formula and it worked fantastic! I used some pine stakes I wanted to age and made a sign post. Next time I will try aging it with a wire brush. I love that effect! Thank you for sharing!


    1 year ago

    Very nice indeed. I imagine if you can install the wire brush onto an oscillating saw you can finish a wide area easily. My elbows & shoulders would not bear the scrubbing punishment.

    Very cool!!! Definitely trying!! Thanks for sharing!

    How long does it normally take for the graying to begin and to end?

    1 reply

    I have seen it change the wood in a matter of minutes, when the sun is out and I use a fine mist, instead of soaking the wood. If you soak the wood, it can take a couple hours or so. Usually by the next day you see how it will really look, long-term.

    This look was popular in the late '70's in the Chicago area, I wainscoted my kitchen with pine barnboard to good effect, it also provided some insulative value too.

    1 reply

    I imagine that looks good! Especially with the barnwood wainscoat against drywall / solid background. I have used this on exterior cypress siding, to good effect. Vinegar is also a mild bug repellent. (Though only the carpenter bees seem to mess with cypress.)