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How to Age Wood (almost Instantly)

I love the look of aged wood, and I use a lot of it in my projects. However, there are times when I need a certain size, or in this case, a certain something (a clothespin) that I don’t have in my pile of beat up old lumber. I wanted to make a flour sack pillow, and I saw a nifty way to finish it off at Funky Junk Interiors by simply tying it off with jute cord, and adding a clothespin that seems to hold the bag closed. Really cute! But, I needed a clothespin, and a brand new one with a shiny new hinge was simply not going to work for my project.
So, back to the clothes pin issue… I went and got a bag of new clothes pins, and simply dipped them in “magic juice” and once they dried, I had old, rusty clothespins to use on my pillow. And what is magic juice you ask?
  • how to age wood fast diy, diy, woodworking projects
Magic juice is a combination of Apple Cider Vinegar and steel wool. Yes, steel wool, and it will age wood almost instantly! Here’s how to make it. Buy apple cider vinegar with the “mother.” This is a very acidic vinegar, and the acidity will dissolve the steel wool. While you can buy steel wool in the furniture refinishing aisle at Lowe’s, its much cheaper to use SOS pads (or the generic equivalent. If you use them right away, be sure to rinse all the soap out of them. Or, use them until the soap is gone for dishes, then shred them up and save to make your magic juice.
  • how to age wood fast diy, diy, woodworking projects
I usually make my magic juice in the vinegar bottle, and if you do this, it’s probably a good idea to put a label on it, so someone doesn’t decide to use it for cooking, or whatever. Once the label is applied to the bottle, simply shred the SOS pad, and stuff it into the vinegar bottle. The magic juice will work best if its allowed to sit for three or four days, but will produce results if it sits overnight.
  • how to age wood fast diy, diy, woodworking projects
Magic juice can be put into a spray bottle for applying to larger pieces, or it can be applied to the wood with a rag. For smaller wood pieces, like my clothespin, age the wood by simply soaking in a container of magic juice for a day or so. If the wood is soaked, it won’t lookany different until it is taken out of the juice and dries. The dissolved steel wool provides the gray coloring, so the more steel wool that is dissolved in the vinegar, the darker gray the final color will be. It can also be used to rust some metals, although it can take a bit longer. The hinges on my clothes pins rusted quite nicely!
  • how to age wood fast diy, diy, woodworking projects
So, I was able to make my grainsack pillow, with a cute, aged clothespin to hold it closed! I'm on the look out for a few more grain or feed sacks so I can have enough pillows to go across my porch bench!
  • how to age wood fast diy, diy, woodworking projects

To see more: http://www.flyingc-diy.com/2013/07/05/how-to-age-wood-almost-instantly/

  • Jerry
    Jerry Gentry, AR

    I'll be making some awesome toe pincher coffins for Halloween. Thanks for the tip!

  • Eric Wood
    Eric Wood Owasso, OK

    It turned my bird houses made from new rough cedar fence pickets almost black! I tried diluting it, same result. Not happy. Had to paint over it.

  • Cliff.oswald

    If you use regular steel wool, it has a light coat of oil on it to prevent rusting. (That's why the SOS pads work better, but such a waste.) Just wash the wool with some soap and you will get good results.

  • Dag Tomas Lindmark

    I use vitamin C powder in water. It is the acid that do the trick. When you add steel woll you can see small bubbles of gas when it is dissolved. It's a good idea to have the jar a litle bit open. Always try the solution on a bit of the wood you want

  • Sandra Naquin Pellegrin


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