I recently saw something cute in one of my favorite local shops, but whew! It was not worth the hefty price tag! It looked so very easy to make, so I snapped a picture with my phone and returned a few days later with my husband in tow to get his take on it. I wanted to look at it again a little more closely and I wanted to know for sure that it would be as simple as it looked. Yep, no problem. He said we could do it easily. The first thing I had to do was find some barn wood. It is kind of a hot commodity right now, with people just like me using it to create all kinds of things. I found some for sale but I was not about to pay his inflated prices not to mention that would defeat the whole purpose of this DIY!! I thought about just going and helping myself to some from an old barn out in the rural part of the county. But I didn’t particularly want to get shot (that would be a first) over one of my projects, so I moved on to Plan B.
Hmmmmph! I would create my own barn wood!!! I purchased some poplar boards from my home improvement store and used a concoction that I researched online that just so happens to work like a charm. I was very skeptical at first, primarily because I am such a huge fan of real barn wood. I couldn’t imagine that this would truly look authentic! Now I will be honest, the first time I tried this I was not patient enough, (remember, not one of my strong suites.) Even if you think you might want to try this, go ahead and get your “stain” mixed up, it really looks better when left to sit a few days. Before I stained my boards, I distressed them! I went into my husband’s shop and just pulled out some random things, I proceeded to beat up my boards. It was quite liberating! I imagined it was the IRS!!! Distress as little or as much as you want. I really thought I had overdone it on some of my boards, but I don’t think there is such a thing!
For the stain, add to an empty clean jar with lid:
Vinegar (apple cider vinegar gives a more blueish tint) One or two cups should be plenty, depending on what you are staining.
Shredded up piece of steel wool. I used fine.
I’ve seen this done adding coffee grounds or tea to the mix, I have tried this with coffee grounds, but for me I didn’t really see any difference.
That’s it!! That’s your stain. Doesn’t it look yummy!!
After sitting for at least 24 hours (I recommend a few days) drain off the steel wool, use any paintbrush to apply the stain. Let dry. If you would like a darker finish, apply another coat. Let dry.
TIP: Keep in mind each piece of wood takes stain differently. Even if you have two pieces of the same kind of wood, it is possible that they will turn out looking completely different from each other. Which honestly just adds character!!
I then washed my boards with a milkwash, which is just watered down white paint. I used some interior Sherwin Williams wall paint that I had on hand. Add a little water to the white paint, depending how light or dark you want it. I used 4:1, 4 parts paint, 1 part water. Stir. Adjust as needed as you go along. It shouldn’t be dripping off the rag, but it will be very thin. Use a rag to wipe on, applying it to the whole surface. I did mine very lightly, but there is no right or wrong, depending on what you want your end result to look like. I wanted more of a gray, but if you like the way it looks after using the homemade stain, then you don’t even need to do the milkwash step. I was very pleased with the final product and I can’t wait to share with you what I made using my DIY barn wood!!!!