Friday, February 22, 2013

Fast Fix Friday: Aging New Wood

I've never been an all or nothing kinda girl, more of a middle of the road girl, even when it comes to matters of the environment. I think that if you push people too hard, they might just run screaming in the opposite direction.  So, I approach upcycling with that in mind.  You'll find my pieces are a mix of old and new that will divert waste from the landfill while creating something that people will really enjoy using, looking at or wearing. 

Sometimes, the new parts need a little help or they just don't work.  Today, I'll show you how to age wood for those rare occasions when you need to accent old wood pieces with a little new wood.  Here's the example I'll be using today:

Coca-Cola Pet Bed
I picked up this fabulous Coca-Cola crate at a flea market and couldn't wait to turn it into a pet bed.  I always add feet to my pet beds to protect the homeowners floor from too much scratching and typically they are painted the same color as the bed.  As you can see, there was no need to paint this crate.  So the to get the feet a darker, aged color than brand spanking new?  Here's the side by side:

Enter Craftaholics Anonymous!  I found this fabulous tutorial that worked like a charm.  This very simple technique works differently on different types of wood so be sure to check out the tutorial to see how each looks.

Here's how I did mine.  I grabbed a glass jar from the recycle bin and stuffed it with a piece of steel wool.  Then filled the jar with white vinegar, enough to cover the steel wool, and let it sit covered for 24 hours. 

Then I boiled up some tea and painted it onto the wood feet, I just dunked the feet into a cup of tea.  It doesn't need to be soaked, this step is not meant to color the wood. You just want to make sure that the wood is coated with the tea's tannic acid for the next step.

Once the tea is dry, paint on the vinegar.  You'll see a little change in the color right away but it will continue to darken over the next half hour or so.

Once my bed feet had dried, I wanted to beat them up a bit more.  So I wrapped them in an old T-shirt and twisted it closed then pounded them on the driveway over and over again.  Then I took a hammer to them (while still tightly wound in the T-shirt).  I know you can't see the texture in the picture but it really does add to the overall effect making the feet look as though they've been there all along.

If this is too dark for your project you can soak your feet in tea or coffee.  It's a slight change, but sometimes that's all you need. Adding varnish or lacquer will enhance the color a little more. Like here:

Pet Bed Made from a Vintage Drawer
I just needed a little color to tone down the brightness of the feet.  I soaked the feet in coffee for about an hour and let them dry before adding lacquer to them.  Now they blend rather pop out at you.

Pet beds aren't the only use for this neat little trick.  I have a pallet or two out in the yard just begging for this treatment.  How about you?  Do you have a project that needs a little age?


  1. I was just wondering what the steel wool soaking in the vinegar is for??
    Thank you
    amjohns63 at yahoo dot com

    1. whoops, email wrong
      smjohns63 at yahoo dot com
      not amjohns

    2. Hey Shawn. There's a chemical reaction that occurs when you soak the steel wool in the vinegar. It's the finished solution that reacts with the tannic acid to make the color change. No need to do anything with the wool other than soak it.

  2. You can also rust fabric to give it a lovely antique look == I found an old auto part on the street, piece of sheet iron, who knows where it was on an auto, and wrapped a couple of pieces of linen in it, left it all out in the rain for a couple of weeks, and ended with some lovely effects, for use in wall art pieces that needed old fabric. Great fun.

    I think your method of making rusty water is terrific, too, and will remember that one.

    1. Hmm, that's interesting. Wouldn't have ever thought to rust fabric but I imagine it's beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Following your Tips and Tricks via Pinterest. Great tips! Look forward to trying this one.

    1. Thanks for following along. I've fallen quickly in love with this little tip!

  5. This is such an interesting tip! I never would have thought to do it this way. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thanks for this tip. I always love being able to do something with a normal household item. And I have several items I'd like to antique like this. Bless you, Gail


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...