How to Make Wood Look Weathered Gray

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The easiest way to make wood look weathered gray is to just buy that color of stain and apply it to your woodworking project. It’s really that simple, and I’ll show you everything you need to know. Enjoy.

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The Weathered Gray Look

How-to-Make-Wood-Look-Weathered-GrayIn furniture, the weathered gray look is huge right now. This is an extremely popular color, and it blends in the rustic look of aged furniture with a classic color that goes with just about any type of room design.

Rustic furniture is also big, and these pieces look like they have been family treasures for hundreds of years. In reality they are brand new woodworking pieces that have a great looking stain applied to them.

In this post, I’ll show you the secret to applying an excellent looking at the weather great finish that you will be super proud of.

On top of that, I’m going to show you the easy way to do it, which means you look like a pro without a lot of effort.

If you are new to wood finishing, start with: 10 Step Guide to Wood Finishing

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Select the Best Weathered Finish

The first thing you want to do is go online and select the best weathered gray finish that you possibly can. Since this is so popular, there are a lot of options, which is actually a good and a bad thing.

The bad part about this is that you can be taken advantage of by somebody putting inferior product in a fancy looking can. Make sure that when you buy your stain that you purchase a name brand that you recognize. That’s how you avoid any problems.

The good side is the popularity has also created a lot of variations on the same flavor. You can find a couple different versions of this weathered gray look and pick the one that makes you the happiest.

Even among grays, there are differences. Look at a couple of your different options, and even find a couple of pieces that have that finish applied. When you find the one you like, you’ll know, and you can buy it.

See Also: The Best Time to Learn About Wood Finishing as a Beginner

Distress Your Project First

The weathered look is best used on furniture and that also fits into the rustic genre. These are pieces that have an old look to them even though they are new. They have simulated distress, and little nicks and dings are just part of the look.

When you’re making a project brand new, it can be difficult to build something that already has the look of a 100-year-old piece. This is where doing your own distressing and making your project look old is important.

When you add a little bit of your own rustication to your project before you use your weathered gray stain, you combine the two looks and it really helps sell the color. Take a look at my guide below, and I’ll show you 23 great ways to do this really easily.

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See Also: 23 Easy Ways to Age Wood and Make Wood Look Old

Prepare the Surface for Stain

After your distressing is complete, it’s time to prepare the project for staying. This is a really easy part of the project, and you can either use a cloth or an air line to complete the step. An air line is easier, but a cloth will work just the same.

One of the biggest enemies to a nice looking finish especially when dealing with wood stain is surface dust. Wipe down your project completely and remove all dust and debris before you apply your stain.

It’s easier to do this with an air line, and all you have to do is blow off the project to get rid of all the dust. Also, take the time to fill-in any voids or defects that need to be addressed. You can get away with a lot with rustic piece, but address the problems and fix them.

See Also: Rustic Wood Staining Technique

Apply Your Rustic Gray Stain

The best way to apply a stain like this is to use a folded up clean cotton cloth as an applicator, and work in sections. This way you carefully treat each part of your project with stain, and things don’t get out of hand too quickly.

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When you use an applicator or a rolled up cloth to apply your stain, it forces you to apply it in small amounts and work carefully. The last thing you want to do is dump out stain on your project and then try to play catch-up with your rag.

It’s actually really hard to do this, and odds are that where you dump the stain will always look a little different than where you wiped it. Instead of falling for this, simply transfer stain from the rag to the piece in small areas.

Work one section at a time. Apply enough stain to finish the section completely, and then spot shot any areas that need a little bit more, or need to be wiped out. Once you’re finish looks nice and even, proceed to the next section.

One of the cool things about this weathered look is that you can have a second thin area without it distracting from the look of the piece. It’s actually a good idea to have a little variance in your final look that way the piece matches the style.

See Also: 12 Awesome Uses for 80 Grit Sandpaper

Additional Distressing

After your stain is completely cured, you can come back and use some of the distressing techniques that you already read about. You can also use additional techniques like glazing to add another layer of interest to your project.

The point of a rustic gray look is to simulate a piece of furniture or a project that’s been in the family for hundreds of years. With that in mind, look to common areas that the piece would be touched to remove some finish, and simulate wear.

Edges, and handles get touched a lot. These tend to rub the stain off and have a rustic charm. You can do the same thing on your piece, you just have to select the areas that would be touched the most and send back to finish a little bit.

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See Also: Rustic Picture Frame

Clear Coating Your Weathered Finish

Applying a clear coat over this kind of stain is similar to working with any other kind of stain. All you need to do is wipe the surface down really well, and then apply a compatible clear coat over the top of the entire project.

In most cases, furniture grade lacquer is the perfect solution. This is a higher end finish that sprays clear and apply as a protective layer to your project. Whatever you do, make sure you choose a name brand that you trust and use that product only.

Another thing to think about is the sheen. Most older projects aren’t very shiny, so keep that in mind when you choose your gloss level. Also, a thin layer of finish is better than a thick layer for maintaining the look of an old piece.

See Also: 9 Unbelievable Wood Finishing Myths for Beginners

Your Action Assignment

Now that you know how easy it is to apply a weathered gray finish to your project, it’s time to head out into the shop and take action. The first thing you need to do is go online and buy a can of weathered gray stain that you love.

When you get it into the shop, it’s time to start experimenting. Break out some scraps and sand them down to 220 grit. After that, beat them up a little bit to simulate some age. Then, apply your stain and let it dry.

After that, just a light layer of furniture lacquer over the surface and it will make the color pop. You’ll see what the stain was meant to look like, and how it interacts with the different distress marks that you applied.

After you’ve done a number of experiments, you’ll surely have a look that makes you happy, and that makes your pieces look unique. If you have any questions about this staining process please Post a Question in the Q&A Forum and I’ll be glad to help. Happy building.

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  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
Buy My Books on Amazon

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post. Join My Woodworking Facebook Group


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