4 Super Easy DIY Ideas for How to Distress Wood

Easy techniques you can use for how to distress wood.

Learn simple techniques for how to distress wood.

Like the look of distressed or weathered wood? Want to learn how to distress wood for your own DIY projects? Read on to learn some useful techniques and tricks to make it appear like it’s naturally weathered and rustically textured.

Whether flipping through decor mags or checking out popular pins on Pinterest, you will find distressed wood taking center stage in decorating and DIY. One reason is that distressed wood fit wells with many styles of decorating from Scandinavian and Bohemian style to Cottage and Vintage chic. The inspiration is endless too. Learn how to distress wood for creating your own furniture pieces, wall finishings, flooring and more.

It may seem intimidating, but distressing wood is one of the easier DIY techniques around.

4 How to Distress Wood Techniques

  1. Repurpose Weathered Wood

The easiest way to get the distressed wood look in your home is to repurpose already distressed wood. Hit estate and yard sales, the salvage yard, FreeCycle and others to find old pallets, shutters, gates, doors and more that have already been weathered by time. The work of distressing has already been done for you then!

  1. Paint and Petroleum Jelly

While petroleum jelly may seem like something you don’t normally want to use, it has its purposes. Dab it onto wood before painting with latex paint, the vaseline will keep the paint from adhering and create a distressed look without having to resort to the messier sandpaper method.

  1. Paint and Vinegar

Paint up your wood with latex paint in your color of choice and allow to completely dry according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add vinegar to a spray bottle and grab some old rags. Spray vinegar on your painted wood in the areas you would like to distress and use the rags to rub off the paint. It’s another less messy way to distress painted wood furniture.

  1. Beat It Up for Authentic Texture

Aged wood most often is nicked, dented and generally pretty beat up. In order to make your distressed wood look authentic, add age to your wood with dents, nicks and gouges made with a hammer, steel wool, an awl and other tools. These imperfections add character!

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Distressed Coffee Table image via Shutterstock

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.