How To Age New Wood Using Vinegar and Steel Wool
I love the look of vintage crates. They really add a lot of texture to your home decorating and you can use them in so many ways. Holding blankets, books, even dog toys. You can use them to add height and texture to your home displays as well.
But they can get pricey at a vintage market. I have found the really cool ones to be about $20-$30 or more. So if you need a lot of them for a project, that can get expensive quickly. While I love the look and history of things that are vintage, sometimes new made to look old fits the bill. So if you need a quick project that is not too time consuming this is it. You can age new wood using steel wool and vinegar. Really? Yes, really!
I picked up these crates at Joann’s for about $8 each with a coupon. They are awfully new looking. I wanted to give them that aged patina that comes with time. Without waiting 50 years!
I mixed up a batch of steel wool and vinegar a few months ago and have been keeping it stored in a jar. I used a large 1/2 gallon size jar but if you know you will never use this much a smaller jar will be ok. I filled up the jar about half way with vinegar. And then grabbed a whole bunch of fine gauge steel wool and stuffed it in the jar. Then I topped off the jar with more vinegar. I sealed the jar and then let it sit. It took a few days but sure enough the steel wool began to dissolve in the vinegar. And eventually I ended up with this.
Not to be mistaken for tea, so make sure you label your jar.
I gave my crates a light sanding. I’m not sure if they were sealed, but I just wanted to make sure I roughed up the surface a bit so the solution would have a place to soak in.
I mixed up the solution first to get all the good steel wool particles off the bottom of the jar. Using a chip brush I applied the vinegar and steel wool solution. I wasn’t neat at all. I just slopped it on there. Make sure that you protect your work surface and your clothes too. I had some splash zones around me and lets just say this stuff doesn’t wash out of your clothes. Ask me how I know!
Here is how the first crate looked after just one application.
I ended up doing 3 coats on each crate to really give it that deeper color. I could probably also bang them up a little bit to distress them further but I was mostly just going for the color here. Here is the final result.
Now I have “aged” crates at a fraction of the cost of a vintage market find.
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