DIY Weathered Barn Wood Stain

4 Materials
3 Days

A quick two step staining process using common household ingredients that will make any wood look like old , weathered, barn wood.

We recently covered the front of this bar with old, corrugated metal panels and trimmed it with barn wood. When we cut the barn wood into strips for the trim, it left us with some edges that did not match. See our staining process to match up the wood tones below,

Make your own Weathered Barn Wood Stain

Make any wood look like weathered barn wood.

Mismatched Trim

When we were cutting our reclaimed barn wood, we exposed edges that were not weathered. We also sanded down the top to its raw color. Here’s our process to refinish it.

Step 1: Create Tea Stain

Simply Book some water and steep three family size tea bags in a large glass jar with a lid. Let sit overnight to get strong and dark.

Step 2: Create Vinegar Stain

Place torn sections of 1 to 1 1/2 sections of steel wool into a glass jar.cover with white vinegar. Poke four air holes in the top of jar lid and loosely seal. To speed up my process I left mine outside with no lid on. The more air it’s exposed to, the faster the chemical reaction happens. Do not forget the air holes, this process needs air to work. Let sit overnight.

Step 3: Finished stain mixtures

Here’s what your mixtures should look like after sitting overnight. Notice the vinegar mixture has not changed color a whole lot.

Apply the Tea Stain

Using a paintbrush, apply the tea stain to unfinished wood and let dry completely. I waited overnight.

Sanded down bar top

Here is a before picture of the bar top after being sanded

This is halfway through applying the tea stain. Do not be underwhelmed here, the tea stain doesn’t change the appearance much. It’s important though, so don’t skip it!! Again, I let mine dry overnight.

Apply the Vinegar stain

Paint the Vinegar stain over the tea stain, and wait and prepare to be amazed. The reclaimed wood turned gray immediately.

Here I am putting the Vinegar stain onto the bar top.

The magic starts happening....

Just a few minutes later some graying is beginning to happen.


The next morning, it has changed to a smooth weathered gray. You can apply as many coats of the Vinegar stain as you wish, letting dry completely in between. We did two coats.

No more new wood!!

You can’t tell which is naturally weathered and which isn’t!!

p.s. The window in this pic was trimmed in brand new yellow pine 2x4’s that we also stained using this process!!

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Frequently asked questions
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  1 question
  • Bob Bob on Jan 28, 2021

    I tried this, using decaf tea - it didn't work. Need regular tea?

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