How to Age Wood Tutorial {guest post from Que Linda}

Great tutorial on How to Age Wood using household products. Great DIY tutorial!How to Age Wood Tutorial

Janny is here to show us How To Age Wood with simple house hold products. Enjoy! -Linda

Hello everyone!  I’m ecstatic that I get to be a guest today and mingle with fellow Craftaholics.  Thanks Linda!  My name is Janny and you can normally find me at Que Linda or at my new Etsy Shop.  Today I’m going to show an amazing technique for giving wood a rustic, aged look. So here is how to age wood!
 how to age wood
I recently made this sign out of wood from our 20+ year old gate.  Something about the weathered wood gives the piece extra character.  There’s one problem- our old gate only has so much to give.
 I came across a tutorial for aged wood for home repair purposes at Xtreme Restoration.  It works like a charm for crafty projects too.  I recently used this technique on this sign.
 (You can’t even tell the difference from 20+ year old wood!)

How to Weather Wood

Weathering wood is super easy to do and I’ll bet you have most of the supplies lying around the house already.
You’ll need:
Grade #0000 Steel Wool
Mason Jar
Oh yea- a couple of tea bags too!
Wood-  (I bought a long wood plank for under $2 at the home improvement store- then I cut it into smaller pieces.)
1.)  Tear off some steel wool and put it into a mason jar.  Then pour the vinegar in to about 3/4 full or so and screw the top on.  Exact measurements aren’t important.  I’d say I used a very small handful of steel wool.
Then let it sit for at least 24 hours. 

2.)  The next day, brew tea in a separate jar and “paint” it onto the wood.  I used 2 tea bags since I was aging several pieces of wood.  (any brand of tea will work)  It’s also okay if the tea becomes cold.  Tea has tannic acid, which will react with the steel wool/vinegar mixture.
3.)  After the tea has dried, paint the steel wool/ vinegar mixture onto the wood.  You’ll see the color start to change immediately.  I’d say that it takes about 30 minutes to completely change.  The wood will smell like vinegar afterwards, but you can wash it off with water once it’s dry.
Below you can see the difference between the treated vs. untreated wood~
Different types of wood react differently to this treatment as well.  The pine (top) turns a grayish-brown while the redwood (above) eventually turns black.  You can see how it turned black on the top right (beside the pine).  For some reason the picture above makes the pine look almost grayish blue.
This picture shows a truer color to how the pine looks after the treatment.
Pretty cool, huh?
Thanks for having me as a guest today, Linda!


That’s a great technique! Super easy, but looks awesome! Thanks for showing us how to age wood, Janny! Don’t forget to follow Craftaholics Anonymous on Facebook for exclusive Crafting Q&A!

Hi! I'm Linda, the craft addict behind Craftaholics Anonymous®, a craft blog. Crafting is cheaper than therapy, right? When I'm not DIYing something, I can be found taxiing around our 4 crazy kids or working out. Or shoe shopping... because you can never have too many shoes! Happy crafting! ♥

Latest posts by Linda (see all)

Join the Conversation


  1. 1

    That´s AWESOME!!! I´ll try it in the next weeks.That´s really a cool idea!!!Lovely greats from germany… :-) yara

  2. 2
    Susan Jensen

    Another great project. Great information. Vinegar should be in all households. I buy only by gallon size. HAPPY EASTER

  3. 3

    Wow that’s pretty cool! Thanks for sharing a tutorial! Definitely will give this a try the next time I want to age wood:D

  4. 4

    Thanks again Linda for having me as a guest! It was so fun to share this technique with everyone!

  5. 5

    I love this. Thank you, Janny, for sharing your tutorial with us. :) I already have a great idea of what project I want to use it on!

  6. 6

    Oh, this is awesome! Thanks for sharing. I love it that you use materials that are already available. (I always have vinegar and tea in my house, and there’s no problem finding steel wool either. I also have a ton of extra glass jars lying around… so this is perfect!)

    I want to try it on some wooden planks I already have that I’ve been using for a few years as bookcases (on top of red clay bricks). However, I have a question: I was thinking of treating the planks first with some penta (pentachlorophenol? sp?), as I haven’t done it before and I’m thinking it might get them to last longer.

    Would this treatment react in some way with the vinegar/tea/steel wool mixture?

  7. 7

    Very cute! I have been trying to find out how the letters are put on. What are you using for that here?

  8. 8

    Hello, i saw on the net that you aged a wooden panel it is awsome , could you please let me know how you did the grey finish on the pine? What did you do for the panel you made? is it with tea or without the tea? will it react the same on ash wood?

  9. 9

    Hi Linda!

    The ‘Sometimes Dream’ sign– what wood was used in that treatment? Was that the pine but after an extended period post-treatment?

    And with regards to the redwood, is the bottom right the untreated, followed by immediate look on bottom left, and some extended post-treatment time on the top right in that image?

    thank you!

  10. 10
    tom trumbower

    The vinegar smell is the only bad thing about using this method to age wood. I will try to rinse my projects with water to try to make it go away. Ironically, my biggest customer is a store that sells designer vinegars. Another method I used was to spray the wood (red cedar) with a lye based oven cleaner and it looked awesome.

  11. 11

    Do you have to use grade #0000 steel wool or can you use grade #1? I only have grade 1 in the house.

  12. 12
    Cameron Foss

    Linda thank you so much!! It’s hard to find weathered wood just laying around for so many wood furniture designs I have planned!! Huge Fan keep it up :)

  13. 13

    I was wondering how you got the tone on the third board down. What kind of wood is it? That is the exact tone I want for my dining table. :) Thanks!!

  14. 14
    heather r

    thank you for this tutorial – I’ve got some steel wool brewing now, and am going to try this out tomorrow!

  15. 15
    Russ Hunt

    My daughter loves the aged wood / rustic look, but sometime it’s easier to work with new wood (not so many cracks, not warped, etc.) Using this on a frame that will go around a large mirror, so wish me luck! Got the steel wool in the vinegar and will use it tomorrow. Thanks for the tutorial.

  16. 16

    Disappointed with how the wood turned out. Was hoping the pine would turn out like in the last picture, but it really just comes out a gray-blue color. Doesn’t really looked aged at all, just dyed gray-blue.

    1. 16.1

      Mine as well. Thought the blueish color would go away but it doesn’t seem like it…

  17. 17
    Jennifer Della-Santina

    I have a huge chalkboard in my kitchen, but couldn’t afford the ones with the really wide/aged frames so I got one with a really thin (ugly) oak frame figuring I’d replace it someday. I FINALLY ripped the ugly frame off, spent $10 on 1×4 pine boards at Lowes, and followed your instructions – it looks AMAZING!!! I love it so much – thanks!

  18. 19

    I liked the color of the mixture of Steel wool and vinegar. I have some wooden shelves. Some are painted with White color. The question is Can I use the mixture you explained on my painted shelves ? Will this work on painted surfaces?
    Thanks again

  19. 20

    I have had the steelwool sitting in the Vinegar for 24+ hours and it still looks the same . Should I wait till the steel starts to rust? or is that how you use it ?

    1. 20.1

      Yes, wait until your steel wool rusts. Are you sure its real steel wool? I’m surprised its not rusting after 24 hours.

  20. 21

    Oh yes!!
    I can’t wait. So happy I found this. Just bought a $25 pine wood kitchen table at a consignment shop.. that I was intended to stain the top of all along. But didn’t know of this simple process – and also learned that using regular stain on pinewood is not recommended.
    Thank you for the tutorial :)

    1. 21.1

      Glad you enjoyed this post! Thanks for stopping by! Good luck with your thrifted kitchen table!

  21. 22

    Can you use this method over a stain to change the color of the stain?

    1. 22.1


  22. 23

    Hello, nice tutorial!
    I want to know what the use of the steel wool btw?
    Because i don’t think i can get it in my country :(

    1. 23.1

      The steel wool changes the color of this homemade stain. It is essential, you cannot do it without the steel wool :( Have you tried Amazon?

    2. 23.2
      J. Ames

      If you can’t get steel wool, you can use any old bits of metal. That’s what I did, but due to thrift rather than availability.

      I used old nails (some already rusty), a chopped up metal hanger, and whatever other metal bits I could find. Just make sure it’s iron or steel that you’re using, as the vinegar is reacting with the iron content in the steel wool method.

      Using nails and a hanger, it takes a week or more to get the required mixture. When it’s a urine or apple juice sort of colour, it’s ready. You may be able to use it right from the jar, but I remove the metal and strain mine with a kitchen towel to get rid of debris. I then dilute with water 1:1. Not entirely sure if diluting is necessary, but I read to do so in another tutorial.

      1. Thanks for the tips!

  23. 24

    We bought a cottage in October and are working on furniture and decor pieces. We have done queen sized “barn board” headboards for all of the beds using this method and the result is absolutely beautiful!

    Has anyone tried sealing the wood after applying completing the staining process? If so what did you use and how were the results? Would really hate to destroy the look of the stain but want to protect it!

    Thanks so much for the easy highly effective method. Can’t wait to start our next project…a barn board mason jar dining room light!

  24. 25

    I just used this technique today on some pine wood planks we’re using for shelving and I can’t believe how well it worked! It’s a great non-toxic way to stain untreated wood. Honestly, we use a lot of vinegar in day-to-day housekeeping so the vinegar odor is hardly noticeable and dissipated quickly. Thanks for a great and easy tutorial!

    1. 25.1

      You are so welcome, Sheila! Glad to help :)

  25. 26

    Hi Janny,

    I actually want the pine to turn a grey silvery color, any reccomendation how to accomplish?

  26. 27

    Can I use this process on a cutting board? I would think yes since it’s all natural but wanted to get your thoughts or feedback/tips if you have done it, thanks!

    1. 27.1

      I don’t think so because it does utilize rust/steel in the processing and I don’t think those are healthy to consume.

  27. 28

    Hi! I love this, but was wondering if you know how this technique would work on teak outdoor furniture, which is what I have? thank you!

    1. 28.1

      I don’t know! Sorry! Try doing it on the under side of one of your pieces to test it out first.

  28. 29

    l have a quick question about turning pine black watco made a black stain but l can’t seem to find it. Does anyone know how to make it, its an awesome color when done.

  29. 30

    my wool has been soaking 24 hrs now with no change. I looked at my vinegar its pickling vinegar. Do that made a difference?

    1. 30.1

      Yes, you need to use the correct vinegar

  30. 31

    I used this aging process on a pine wooden trunk today. It turned out good but it sort of looks like I missed a few spots. Can I brew more tea, paint some on, and then put on more vinegar/steel wool mixture to bring out a color?

    1. 31.1

      Possibly, but most likely there could be some oil or something in your wood that repelled the stain the first time. But you could always try again and let it sit longer.

  31. 32

    I love the way this looks and have used this technique on new wood. I have an old dresser, if I strip and remove previous finish, will this work? Am thinking of experimenting.

  32. 33
    cori timmons

    I did this and ended up with a reddish color, I ran out and mixed more the exact same way and now I end up with a brownish gray. where did I go wrong?? Please help!!

    1. 33.1

      Hmm, was the wood the same? Did you leave it in longer?

      1. cori timmons

        The wood is the same, the only thing different is the first ones were done outside in the sun, would that quicken the drying, causing the color to be different?

  33. 34

    Hi there,
    Do you still have the template for this sign ? I have been searching for this template for awhile.


  34. 35

    Hello Janny. This is the exact info i needed. The tea wash is what i was missing. I am making a table top to replace the glass one that “someone” broke and is still in the doghouse for.

  35. 36

    I need to age white (painted I think) yardsticks for ornaments. Do you do anything differently if the surface is painted?

    1. 36.1

      You would need to remove the paint first.