Furniture shopping presents the buyer with many options, and one of the most popular of these is wood furniture that has a rustic or antique look. Many stores will sell brand new furniture that has an aged look to it, but it is less expensive on many occasions to buy wood furniture that looks brand new and then age it yourself. Distressing wood is another term for the process of making it look older than it really is, and there are a couple of different ways you can go about bringing an antique appearance to your wood furniture.
Mimicking the worn look of old wood can be done using tools and objects that you probably have lying around your house already. Use a hammer or mallet to place small dents in the legs and corners of your furniture pieces because those are the areas that are most likely to be worn in wood furniture that really is old. A cloth bag or sock filled with metal nuts and bolts is another way to accomplish this part of the aging process. Yet whether you use a hammer or a bag of bolts, take care not to hit the wood too hard. You only want small dings and scratches, not overly deep gouges or splintered wood.
If your furniture is painted, sand paper will be the next thing you want to use to distress the wood. Sand different areas on the furniture so the wood grain begins to show through the paint: Your goal will not be to remove the paint entirely, only to have scratches and faded spots appear all over the furniture piece. A little elbow grease and half an hour or so will go a long way toward producing that antique look on a painted piece.
For wood that has not been painted or covered with veneer, a combination of tea and a vinegar solution can make the wood look old even after you apply the varnish. Tear up a small steel wool pad and put it in a sealable jar. Pour enough vinegar to cover the steel wool, seal the jar, and let it sit for twenty-four hours. On the day that you are ready to age the wood, you can steep a tea bag in one third of a cup of boiling water. Paint the tea onto the wood using a brush, and when the wood is dry apply the vinegar solution in the same way. This will discolor the wood and make it look older than it really is. It can also help age wood that has already been veneered.
One final way of distressing wood is to paint the wood one color and sand it or to sand a piece that has already been painted. Next, wax the piece of furniture and then paint it with a contrasting color. Sand the piece gently again and follow up with a coat of stain.
As you can see, making your new wood look antique is an easy process and one that most furniture owners should consider doing themselves. It will help you get the best-looking “old” furniture available.
Aging Wood — how to use a teabag, vinegar, and a steel wool pad to age wood
Distressing Wood — distressing wood is another term for aging it; here is how to distress your wood products
Gomestic: Age Your Wood Furniture — distressing wood furniture assistance
Making New Wood Look Old — explanation on how new wood can be made to look old from eHow.com
National Home Furnishing Association — buying wood furniture, including instructions on aging it
Repair Home: Distress Word — make your wood furniture look rustic and from the country with these instructions
That Antique Look — how to distress both wood and metal
Transforming Wood — tips to help anyone make their wood look older than it really is