4 Ways to Distress Wood

Today my weathered and cracked side of style won. In another life

Miss Mustard Seed

is my mentor and I paint every wooden thing in site. I wanted to add some wood distressing elements to my home office for my

Wooden Moulding Wall Arrow

project, and while I was searching for ways to achieve the look I found some techniques that seemed too crazy to be true. Well, turns out they are true!

The first method has made its way through the blogosphere and shouldn't be a surprise. Fill a mason jar with steel wool (grab it from the grocery store in the hardware aisle), pour white vinegar until the jar is full and let it sit for about 2 hours. Then paint the mixture on the wood. 

It won't look like anything at first. You have to let it sit before the stain appears. I intentionally miss spots on the first round and then repeat with another layer. This makes some sections darker and gives it a sun-stained look.

Although my wood already had some stain on it from the steel and vinegar treatment, I wanted to give it some more depth with distressed details.

For the second method, all you need is a metal object (I used a screwdriver) and a dark stain. Bang up your wood with the screwdriver by scraping and gouging and then brush the stain over it. The stain will seep in to the dents that you made and make them stand out.

 I didn't believe this method would work at all. But I was so excited when I saw the finished result! If you want a crackled paint look then all you need is some tacky glue and some paint. Paint the glue where you want the crackle to appear in thick strokes in the same direction. Wait about a minute or two for the glue to become tacky and then paint your color over the entire piece. You have to wait about an hour before you can see the effects. As the glue dries it pulls the paint along with it so that it appears cracked! Smaller strokes of glue yield spiderweb cracks while larger, thicker strokes will give you a paint-peeling look.

The last method has to be my favorite. It reminds me of the painted wood you would fine in an abandoned house... and for some reason I love that.

Grab one to two colors of paint and soap or a candle. If you want to paint a layer on first, you are welcome to. I went straight for the soap. Rub it in thick sections of the wood where you want the paint to come off. Be messy about it. You can't really tell where it is coming off because it is translucent in small layers but make sure you leave some spots of the wood un-soaped.

Paint over the entire piece, soap and all. After about an hour when the paint has dried grab something to scrape (such as a knife or screwdriver) and lightly run the metal edge over the whole piece. The sections of paint sitting on top of soap will slide right off while the paint directly on the wood has a strong hold.

Depending on how much you scrape, the wood underneath the soap will be revealed in a beautiful weathered look!