Painted wood, worn wood, new wood and old wood…

Posted on September 15, 2016

Photo credit: Malenka Originals

Worn floors, recovered painted paneling, barn wood or pallets have become increasingly sought-after materials by artisans and craftsmen. Why?

There’s a style of furniture that’s currently trending on the market, in part because of its unique and colorful style. Since it’s built from old, worn wood, sometimes painted, sometimes greyed, it evokes a feeling of history, of having passed through the ages, and has all it needs to act as the masterpiece of your living room or bedroom, as a work of art would!

With a few simple techniques, a little imagination and some leftover paint, it’s easy to breathe new life to furniture you already own, or some that you can find at a flea market or yard sale.

Dresser with grey doors
Photo credit: barnboardstore

Here are a few quick ideas for bedroom and living room furniture:

  • Replace drawers with old wood board and do the same with the top surface;
  • Replace doors with reclaimed paneling or wood pallets. Painted wood can be sanded with an orbital sander to lessen the worn-out look to your taste, which can then be finished with Buffing wax.
  • Old doors and barn wood can have a new life as beautiful bed headboards.
  • Louvered doors painted with different colors and purposely stressed and worn out will give a lot of character to a minimalistic, sleek decor.
  • If you don’t have access to reclaimed wood but you really want to obtain this kind of “recycled wood” finish, it’s rather easy to imitate with new wood.

A few tips…

  • Begin by brushing the wood with a metallic brush (a barbecue brush will do just fine!) while making sure you’re moving the brush in alignment with the wood grain, in order to dig into the surface. You’ll get a slightly textured surface which will provide a most interesting finish.
  • If you have a soft spot for worn out, reclaimed barn wood, there are some ways to get something pretty similar. Take a look at our article titled How to age or weather wood.
  • You can also paint the wood with your favorite color, and then brush it or sand it in some specific areas to reveal bare wood.
  • Once the paint is worn to your liking, apply a coat of colored buffing wax or finishing oil. This process will provide a tint to the exposed bare wood, while granting an “old patina” look to the painted areas. Waxes and oils also act as protection for your “newly aged” furniture.
  • Feel free to use leftover acrylic or latex paint. The more matte the paint is, the easier it’s gonna be to sand to achieve the worn out effect we’re looking fore. To obtain the increasingly popular chalk paint effect, you can add between one third and one quarter of whiting powder (Calcium carbonate) to your paint, which will provide a powdery and matt More paint is matte easier it will be to sand to create wear. To give it a painting effect chalk, so trendy right now, we could add between a quarter and a third of the amount of whiting powder (calcium carbonate) which will give a powdery, matte effect.
  • You can also dilute paint with water to obtain a transparency effect. Apply the mix with a brush and gently wipe with a damp cloth to obtain the desired intensity.
  • Remember to always have a few pieces of wood handy to practice your techniques before you start on the actual piece of furniture!

Have fun with your project!



Wood finishing blog

Ardec's blog offers original content regarding the universe of wood finishing: techniques and tricks of the trade, project ideas, tools and products.

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