Skip to main content

How to Age Wood

It's easy to age wood with common household items.


  • : Lye is a hazardous chemical. Never mix lye with aluminum. Wear safety glasses, chemical-resistant gloves, and a vapor-resistant mask when using lye.
  • Step 1: Distress the wood Distress the wood by beating the surface with a chain, rock, keys, or other implement that will scar the surface.
  • TIP: Lye will also change wood's color, texture, and appearance, but is caustic and can cause chemical burns.
  • Step 2: Sand wood Sand the wood lightly to smooth any rough spots.
  • Step 3: Brush on coffee or tea Brush on coffee or tea with a paintbrush to add a patina to the wood surface. Aged wood typically has dark spots from handling and air exposure.
  • Step 4: Rub in dirt or coffee grounds Rub dirt or coffee grounds into the wood surface once it has dried completely. This further accentuates the distressed areas in the wood.
  • Step 5: Brush on stain Brush on wood stain with a clean paintbrush.
  • Step 6: Brush on lacquer Apply a coat of lacquer using a clean paintbrush after allowing stain to dry completely. The lacquer seals the wood and gives a finished look.
  • FACT: Did you know? In 2008, Scientists in Sweden identified a 9,500-year-old spruce as the world's oldest living tree.

You Will Need

  • A solid piece of quality wood
  • A chain
  • a rock
  • or keys
  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Strong
  • cold coffee or tea
  • Dirt or coffee grounds
  • Wood stain
  • Lacquer
  • Lye (optional)
  • Safety gear (optional)

Popular Categories