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How to get a Rustic Finish on New Wood in 4 steps

How to get a Rustic Finish on New Wood in 4 steps! Getting a rustic finish on new wood can be tricky and there are several methods how to attain it.  This is just one way that I get an old wood look made easy.

Getting a rustic finish on new wood is very easy. This step by step DIY is for everyone and creates that old well worn look we all love. (well, most of us)

Wood box with hydrangeas,Four easy steps to get a rustic finish on new wood,

You all may remember my DIY Rustic Box I shared.   I had requests on how I achieved the well worn rustic finish.

It is very easy and 4 basic steps are all that are needed.

1. Stain Your Wood

I use a water based stain by Saman, in Dark Walnut.  I love this stuff.  It is so easy to work with and I get a great finish.  You can also use an oil based stain if you prefer but my small space is nearly air tight and when I am working on stuff in winter I don’t want the fumes.
Let the stained wood dry.
DIY Rustic Finish in 4 easy steps,

2. Brush on some crackle coat

(some like to use Elmers Glue for this but I prefer a real crackle coat, I find I have more control). On this particular project I used DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish crackle medium.  I just brush some on here and there some, I don’t cover the entire board.  2f4357ed-01f6-4231-81c1-87c949f34a35_400Each brand of bottle craft acrylics have their own version and all work well.
Let crackle medium dry.
(for a more in depth article on using Crackle paint go here)

3. Paint board with white paint.

I have used both acrylic latex and the DecoArt Chalky Finish in Everlasting.  Both work well, the chalky finish is a bit easier to sand off for distressing but the latex is fine if you let it dry thoroughly.  You will notice I did not thoroughly cover the board with paint, I left edges and thinner spots here and there.
DIY rustic finish on new wood,

As the paint dries the crackling will show up.  Do not over brush when applying as the crackle medium will let the paint move and you will have bare blotches instead of crackles.
DIY Rustic finish on new wood in 4 easy steps,


4. Sand, sand, sand.

Once the top coat has dried, I use a palm sander and I just sand away with 100 grit sandpaper.  Pretty soon it looks like this.
DIY Rustic finish on new wood,
and this..
DIY Rustic finish on new wood in 4 easy steps,

5. Seal and Finish the Wood

NOTE: if you are going to paint a design on the wood do not put the finish on yet, wait until you paint your design then seal the entire thing then. If you seal it now it will make it hard to transfer a design with graphite paper. 

Now to finish and seal the wood. 

You can finish it off with a clear wax or if you want it a bit darker use a dark wax (I used the clear wax then the dark wax to give it a bit more dimension).  I have seen them gone over with a grey stain to add a bit of a different finish and I am going to try that soon too.  I will share how I like it.
I have also finished them with a exterior varathane in a matte or satin finish, whichever you desire.
Right now my box is being used to store my dishes on my counter but I am making more for other things too.  So check back if you want to see what I do with them.
DIY Rustic Finish on new wood in 4 easy steps, FlowerPatchFarmhouse.comLike this..then feel free to PIN
Wood box centerpiece with dried hydrangeas and dishes, DIY Rustic Finish on New Wood in 4 Easy steps, I have a tutorial on building this crate/box, so if you wish to build one CLICK HERE)

Happy Painting….
More you will enjoy:
DIY Toolbox you Can Build
Build a Sweet heart Bench
Building My She Shed


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Lorraine Morrow

Thursday 10th of September 2020

Pam - I'm trying to make the Fall Welcome Sign and followed your 4 steps in finishing the board to get ready to paint the Fall scene, but the board will not take the transfer pattern with graphite paper. Was I not supposed to apply the step 4 - the varathane until after I painted the design? I'm trying to sand it again to see if that will take the sealer off. Maybe no one but me would be so literal with the instructions! Please tell me what I should do. Thanks,

Diane Toombs

Tuesday 28th of July 2020

I have some particle boards that are the size of your Welcome sign, but being particle board it probably won't take the Rustic Finish Steps very well. Do you have any ideas about how to get that finish? I was thinkinging of just doing the crackel part.


Wednesday 29th of July 2020

Do the crackle part then faintly hand sand in places rather than using a power sander. Also if you take a damp cloth and rub off the paint in sections it can work. It won't be exactly the same as sanding but close. Also you can leave spots more bare and just dry brush the paint over those areas and leave off the crackle in those places.


Thursday 21st of September 2017

What is the size of your letter's? 4" or 5" or 8"

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Monday 30th of November 2015

[…] Spring Tulip Wreath from Life Love Larson Chair Makeover from Rain on a Tin Roof Get a Rustic Finish on New Wood Lemon Sunshine Cake from The Simple, Sweet Life Ready to link […]


Friday 9th of October 2015

Great object for the lesson in how to make wood look old.......have pinned it and hope to gather the ingredients to give it a try this winter. Thank you for the well done tute.

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