Faux Barn Boards!




About: My wife and I have a home haunt called Terror On 20Th....I love to build props...everything from a casket to pneumatic monsters! I am also a presenter, speaker and course teacher at Halloween conventions.

So the old reclaimed Barn board look is really the "in" thing. It can be very expensive for the real thing or even the reproduction stuff at your local big name store. Here is a very cheap way to get some nice results using everyday things to make new cheap wood look very old. This project cost me about $60.


Safety first...This project uses many materials, pressure treated wood, torch, paints. Wear protective eye wear and gloves. Be in a well ventilated area....be smart!

Most of these supplies are basic...

1. Paint, depending on the room you may want to decorate...I pull colors from what is in the room...drapes, furniture, picture frames, carpet. For this application there were many grays, whites and wood items. I used antique white, a medium gray and black. Flat latex interior wall paint....(it was mostly stuff I had in the garage).

2. I used cheap pine wood dog-ear fence picket planks..$1.10 each, very light. Now these are pressure treated so it means they have been coated with chemicals so when they are new I wear gloves.

3. Benzomatic torch....just one of the things I used

4. saw...Jig saw, chop saw or circular....you can even just use a hand saw.

5. paint supplies...brushes, roller, rags, water

6. Elmers glue all...I get it in the gallon for about $15.

7. for the painting I used a leftover section of plywood 2x2'

8. a level

Step 1: Let's Get Started!

1. So the boards will be new....and they will look it. I first lay em out in the driveway for a day or so turning them over every few hours...try to dry em out as much as possible. To get rid of the bright tan and orange color I mix up a black wash. Just some black latex paint watered down.....enough to turn the water black. It goes a long way. I just brush the black water on and let it dry. This gives a nice sorta stained gray look as if the boards have been sitting for a long time.

2. So I like to get the unpainted boards done first. I stack a few up and drill a few holes, screw in several drywall screws, bang with hammer...just beat em up a bit...remove screws. I do this on all of the boards.

3. Using the hang held torch I start to go to work on the planks.....a few, I take extra time and go dark with the burning...a few I go medium....the burning really brings out the grain. I follow the grain with the torch to make it look more natural. So depending on how large of an area being covered you may only need 2 or three.

Step 2: Painted Boards

1. using my 2'x2' plywood I put a good few blobs of paint on it....in the center...about 3-4 inches apart with the stir stick. Using the roller I run it over the paint just a few times...you don't want to "load" up the roller.

2. run the roller over the board....it will look blotchy...just repeat this step until you get the look you want. I do one color at a time. Be sure to make them different....some with more paint, some with very little.

3. I did also ad some white on top of a few of the gray boards after they were dry

Step 3: Cracked Paint Boards

1. Start out with a base coat....when the paint cracks this color will show through.IMPORTANT!!! You can use a satin or gloss paint for the base color but NOT the top coat...it will NOT crack!! I used black and dark brown but have used other colors.

2.After the base color has dried very well paint on some Elmer's glue...I use a brush...with a plastic cup I filled with some glue....a good medium coat. I do 3 boards at one time.

3. You MUST watch the glue....when it gets tacky it's time to put the top color on. If you let the glue dry it didn't work as well. Brush on a medium to heavy coat of top color.I used flat white. DO NOT keep going over the top...one or two brush strokes.

4. I have found that if you use a heavy coat of glue it seems to make bigger cracks.

5. Let the boards sit.......the effect will start to happen in about 10-15 minutes.

6. Once dry.....several hours. I splattered a bit of dirty paint water on them and wiped off with a rag. They just looked to clean and fresh....I also splattered some on the other boards.

Step 4: Cut and Install!

So for this application we wanted good contrast so we cut down to smaller boards. All of the "dog Ear" tops were cut off to start with. I cut 3 at a time (using a chop saw). Then almost in the middle but I didn't want them exact same lengths. You will need several short ones 12" to alternate the pattern.

1. I used a brad nailer for this but you can nail them in by hand or even just use a good contact glue. Start out on one side and from the bottom corner. I used a 3' plank to start with against the corner. I also used a level just to keep the boards looking straight. There are also very small gaps in between the planks in case I had to adjust to keep level.

2. Work from the bottom up, it also helps to have someone standing several feet away to let you know what colors you need next to keep a random pattern. We had many boards laying on the floor to choose from.

Have fun!!

Step 5: Peeling Paint!

Bonus step!! Soooo I came across this on You-Tube for furniture and gave it a try...very cool look.

1. Boards are painted a base color...as with the cracked look this is what will show though.

2. Once dry, using gloves, I dab on spots of Finishing Paste Wax.

3.I top coat with a heavy coat of color...be careful not to use to much pressure over the wax spots.

4. Now there are a few things you can do....wait until the paint is dry and then scrape off the sections with the wax...this will give clean tears in the paint and really sell the look of peeling paint. OR you can scrape off the spots while the paint is able to touch without getting it on your finger...this will also scrape more of the paint off and move some under damp paint...it gives a more worn look.



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    11 Discussions


    23 days ago

    The wood burning reminds me of the Japanese technique of burning the surface of wood to make it resistant to water. It's called shou sugi ban and is incredibly beautiful. I snarfed a photo to post which shows the results of that technique.

    Great project!


    24 days ago

    What type of glue is Elmers, it is a name we do not have in the UK, is it PVA?

    4 replies

    Reply 23 days ago

    Yes! It's white and the consistency of pancake batter. In the US we also call it "school glue".


    23 days ago

    Love the look!! I had no redecorating plans but now i do!


    24 days ago

    Excellent info, all around. The glue/paint trick is going into my long term brain storage, so thank you tons for that alone. And a great looking wall, my wife will want me to do the same in our place! : D

    1 reply