Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tutorial: How to Age Wood…Restoration Hardwood Style

I thought I would share an easy tutorial on how I age my wood for my miniatures.  It gives the project that "weathered look" that is so popular now.


  • White Vinegar
  • Extra Fine Steel Wool
  • Mason Jar or any jar with a tight lid (I usually make 2 batches)
  • Coffee grinds
  • Tea Bags (old okay)
  • Dirty paint water
  • Large popsicle sticks for testing color

Fill jar half way with White Vinegar
Depending on jar, add 1-2 pads of Steel Wool (I tear the steel wool in small pieces)

Extras to Add to Mix:
Add coffee grinds, old tea (open tea bags and pour in tea leaves)
Add dirty water from cleaning paint brushes (use dark color only)
If you are making 2 different batches, try adding the extras to one and not to the other to see what kind of results you will get.

Place lid on jar and shake, then shake again. Place it on a shelf or outside and let it work its magic for a few weeks. (Check in on the jars, giving them a good shake)

After a few weeks, you will notice how the vinegar is working with the steel wool, creating a dark, rusty effect. That's when you can start working with it. 

I test the color on large popsicle sticks different ways. 

  • Stain and leave on for different times.
  • Stain, let dry, sand lightly, then stain it again.
  • Stain, sand lightly to reveal the aged wood.
  • Staining the wood with a Mini Wax Stains, applying my mixture on top

There are many ways to play around with this stain…be the creative person you are!

Once you have the desired effect, sand lightly, apply a clear wax over your project and rub. I will be as smooth as butter!

Here's a sample of my miniature photo staging. I used the stain and different paint techniques on the floor and window frame :

Update: I just stained a bunch of wood, this time I was looking for that "silver" color. I used only white vinegar and fine steel wool. I love, love this color. 

Aged wool, Silver
These are going to make a wonderful bed

Here's a project I completed with the above wood sticks.

Miniature wall shelf with box created using age wood technique

Miniature wall shelf with box and hooks

All photos taken & owned 
by Anita Smiley