How To Make Old Wood Pretty?

3 Materials
15 Minutes

How to make old wood pretty. Wouldn’t you love to know how to make old wood look pretty?

Welcome to Cloches & Lavender where I share crafts, DIY's, decorating ideas.

Before I get into my post, let me give you a bit of a backstory.

First off, when my husband was out doing his morning run, he saw an old radio cabinet out for garbage day. Now finding pieces in our neighborhood like this is very rare. He ran home to get his SUV and threw it in the back and brought the piece home. He said, when he saw, the piece, his first thought, Cindy will love to make this wood piece pretty for her office/craft space.

When he came home, and he mentioned what he had brought home I was excited. Well, when we went into the garage to take a good look this piece needed too much work. Normally I am all in on working to make a wood piece pretty. However, this piece was beyond anything I have worked on before.

The piece was peeling and needed detail woodwork before I can even begin to think of the wood being pretty. However, there were pieces I knew I would be able to make the old wood pretty. So, we began taking the cabinet apart to save the old wood. It may not look that bad in the picture, but it was very warped and peeling.

Pieces Old Wood We Did Keep

To begin we took the handles off and I did give these a BIG cleaning to make pretty.

Next, my husband cut the legs off. These are pretty and I have been deciding what I want to do with them. At first, I was thinking candleholders but honestly how many candleholders can I have? So, making my own architectural pieces from them may happen.

Lastly, we did keep the front covering to the speaker. This is the project I am sharing with you today to make old wood pretty again.

Wouldn’t You Love to Know How I Began Making an Old Wood Speaker Cover Pretty

First of all, I gave the old wood a deep cleaning with warm water and vinegar. Next, because it was so dirty, I did another cleaning with Lysol wipes. Now isn’t the time I want to waste these, but I felt I had no choice.

Now I added a coat of Kilz primer and let it dry. Primer needed to be added because the dark color of this old wood tends to bleed through paint.

My Next Step to Making This Wood Pretty I Glue Appliques to Add a Touch of Elegance

Next, using glue I add appliques to the old wood piece to add elegance. These also make this old piece more attractive. After placing the appliques where I want, I put some books on top to add pressure to make sure they adhered well.

If you have a need for furniture appliques, I recommend checking Etsy. They are relatively inexpensive and have great selections.

Now I Am Ready to Add Chalk Paint to My Old Wood

I’m painting this how to make old wood pretty with ASCP Old White Chalk paint. Generally, with chalk paint I don’t have to prime. However, as I said above the dark finish will bleed through so priming was necessary. Because I did prime one coat of paint is all I needed.

After adding one coat of Old White this old wood was beginning to shine and look pretty again.

Adding Wax to My Wood Project to Add Character

Next, I begin adding the wax. Here I use two stencil brushes. I begin adding clear wax in small areas. Then using my other brush, I add a bit of dark wax.

After the dark wax is added, using a lint free rag I buff well. This is namely done so the old wood project will not be sticky. If wax is not rubbed well this happens and is not a good result for a project.

Lastly, To Make the Old Wood Shine I Add Champagne Paint to the Appliques

Lastly, using an artist’s brush I brush the appliques with Rub N Buff in Antique Gold. I love all things French and for the most part, there’s gilding on many pieces adding a lovely touch.

I’m thrilled with the finished product. This how to make old wood look pretty will be going in my office/craft room.

What do you think? Do you enjoy making old pieces new again? I would love to read if you enjoy making old pieces new again.

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Cindy Cloches and Lavender
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2 of 6 comments
  • Linda Abate Linda Abate on Mar 01, 2022

    Looking a the picture of this cabinet,it definitely shows the beautiful detail work on the front and legs. It would have been nice if the entire cabinet could have been saved and turned into a nice bar or book shelf of some sort. However, what you did to the piece you salvaged turned out lovely. The detail pieces you added look fantastic. A job well done.

  • Imp Imp on Mar 01, 2022

    Pretty indeed. I agree, it's too bad you couldn't save the enter piece it has so much character. I have redone a lot of furniture, so I know some pieces just can't be saved.