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

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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)

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

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

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

1. Stain Your Wood

DIY Rustic Finish in 4 easy steps,

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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.

I also like using a method with acrylic paint that is very simple to achieve which you can find the step-by-step instructions here. DIY Stain with Acrylic Paint

Let the stained wood dry.

2. Brush on some crackle Medium

On this particular project, I used DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish crackle medium.  I just brush some on here and there, I don’t cover the entire board.  Each brand of bottled craft acrylics have their own version and all work well.
Let crackle medium dry. Plaid Folk Art and DecoArt Craft paint also have crackle mediums in 2 oz bottle sizes.
(for a more in depth article on using Crackle paint go here)

(some like to use Elmers Glue for this but I prefer a real crackle coat, I find I have more control).

3. Paint board with white paint.

DIY rustic finish on new wood,

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.

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.

4. Sand, sand, sand.

Once the topcoat has dried, I use a palm sander and I just sand away with 100 grit sandpaper.  Pretty soon it looks like this.

You can stop there or sand even more for a look similar to this…

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. 

DIY Rustic Finish on new wood in 4 easy steps,
Wood box centerpiece with dried hydrangeas and dishes, DIY Rustic Finish on New Wood in 4 Easy steps,

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.
Like this..then feel free to PIN
(UPDATE: 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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  1. Lorraine Morrow says:

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. Diane Toombs says:

    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.

  4. What is the size of your letter’s? 4″ or 5″ or 8″

  5. 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.

  6. Thank you so much for hosting. I am working on more and will be sure to share as I get them done.

  7. Love it and all the ways you have used it…great tutorial… thank you for sharing at Share it One More Time..Pinned!

  8. Thank you so much! I will have to drop on over and see.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial! I am going to try it out this weekend 🙂 I’ve included your post in my Five on Friday roundup today. Have a great weekend!

  10. Pingback: Five on Friday
  11. Thank you, I love the finish too and it is so easy to do. I am going to try and do my table top this way, let’s hope it turns out half as pretty!

  12. What a great transformation from new to rustic. I love it! I would buy something like this thinking it was old!!

  13. Thanks!

  14. Sure, I will work on a post for that soon and get it up ASAP! Actually have another but out and will show how I put it together for you. It may take me a week or so, so bear with me. 🙂

  15. Do you mind sharing the plans to build this? I love your rustic finish tips, will definitely have to try those!

  16. I know, I remember seeing some of those flatware drawer’d tables. And YES, I definitely pinned this on Pinterest. I am privileged to be part of some great craft/DIY group boards. The crate/box really does help save space on my counter and I get to look at my dishes too.

  17. My pleasure, Carolyn. I hope it works for you. Different types of wood may cause variations but definitely give it a whirl!

  18. Thank you, it was fun to mess around with and get an effect I love. The stain I used comes in interesting colors. I intend to play around with some other colors and see how they turn out.

  19. Just picked up a wooden wine box from a thrift store which i’m going to try this on. Thanks for the tutorial!

  20. Pam, this is a great tutorial and I hope you put it on Pinterest. I wanted to tell you, also, that I studied the cardinal lesson and that I think using a long, narrow box for dishes is such a good idea for someone who is short on shelf space or who just wants the dishes handy to the table. Remember the old kitchen tables with the flatware drawer in the table. Now, that was a good idea!

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