The internet is exploding with all kinds of Rustic designs on Pinterest, blogs and many different kinds of websites! Have you ever wished that you could take some of those ideas you’ve had and put them to good use, without spending an arm and a leg?
Don’t pay what they want you to pay. Most Natural “Aged wood” suppliers charge between $5-$15 per foot for boards that have been sitting beside their barns for years, waiting to be burned. There are affordable ways to get GREAT looking results!
Let me try to explain to you how to think about this; aged barn wood is obviously given the beautiful coloration over time. Years and years of temperature changes and moisture absorbing into the thirsty grains of the wood which causes these natural colours that we all love. Nature has full control of this technique and nothing else can look the same…or can it?
This is where you get to have fun! Go to your local lumber yard and buy a Pine barn board. Buy it raw because now even the bigger stores are selling “aged barn board” and the cost is through the roof. Buying new, raw pine boards is the most cost effective-way I know to go about this.
You can usually have the options to buy smooth pine. Some are smooth on one side and some are smooth on both sides (both sides is usually more expensive). Lumber Mills charge more for the extra process of planing surfaces. Some Lumber Yards sell un-planed wood (rough on both sides). This is usually less expensive and easier to manipulate for our rustic purposes.
Once you’ve purchased your lumber, you’ll want to find yourself a work space outside; whether its on your patio, your yard or wherever you’d like. Somewhere where your wood will be exposed to sunlight.
The sunlight is going to speed up your process and allow the nature effect to kick in as well.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Garden hose or any type of water access (Hose bib or well, etc.)
- 2 Paint brushes.
- Clean Soil.
- brush or broom.
- Shellac (clear coat bought at local hardware stores).
- The first thing to do is find a garden hose and fill a bucket with water.
Find some clean soil, whether it’s from your garden, or even if you have to dig a hole behind your shed, any dirt will work.
What you want to do is make a dirt and water mixture; something that will be easy to spread. You don’t want it to be too watery. As you go along, you’ll see where you need to improve your mixture. You can’t really screw this part up. That’s the good news!
Once you’ve stirred the dirt around in your bucket and your mixture is muddy (but watery), dip your brush or mop in and start covering your pine boards. Be sure to get all the ends and edges.
Let your boards lay down to dry. Don’t stand them up. You want gravity to absorb downward into the wood.
Depending on the time of day (position of the sun) and the temperature outside, the boards will dry faster obviously with more heat exposed to them. But once they’ve dried completely, you will now have to brush lightly across the surface of the boards, exposing the grains. You can brush as much dirt off as you want or leave as much as you want on. It’s really personal preference. Brushing too much off can ruin the effect as it would bring it back to new looking, raw pine.
Once the grains are exposed and no dirt clumps or chunks are visible, this is where I’d (preferably) start building whatever it is I want to build.
Once you’ve built your project, you’re obviously going to have some cuts where you’ve exposed the new wood again. Simply take your bucket and patch those places up with your dirt and water mixture.
Let that dry.
Brush off any drips of dried mud. Bring it to a consistent look for the entire project.
And finally, take your clear coat Shellac and seal the entire project. The idea is you don’t want this dirt being able to come off (especially on people’s clothes). The shellac will seal it and also make the grains in the wood stand out as well.
Here are some rustic projects I’ve built using this strategy:
As you can see, beautiful rustic glow to it! Nothing looks faked or poorly mimicked. The natural grains are exposed and the colours are poking out in a consistent, realistic manner.
Pine is a strong wood too. Once you’ve built your project, you’ll notice that there maybe be a considerable amount of weight to it. For dressers, that’s great news because you don’t want your dresser falling over when you pull on the drawers!
And obviously, having your wood sturdy for beds is great as well!
Other strategies I’ve used are simply done with one-sided planed pine. It’s a smooth finish so applying stains is very easy to do. Hardware Stores provide excellent variations of colours. It’s slightly more expensive to do it this way, but it does work!
I try to keep my style looking the same:
This method is more suitable for tables or any type of furniture that is going to have exposure to people’s skin. For example: people tend to steer towards smooth surfaced kitchen tables rather than a rough pine, dirtied style.
More details that can be added:
Hand Carving. This is one technique that I use; taking all of my clean cut edges and carving them off with a sharp knife. Etching them off so they look like they’ve been freshly cut from a branch. It creates a Cabin Effect that adds more character to the overall look.
And that’s all! Very simple and inexpensive to do yourself; now you know how to make that beautiful furniture that everyone envies! Get out there and be creative. The sky’s the limit! Be sure to share this post with your friend’s so they can have the same DIY experience as you!
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