How to Make New Wood Have An Old Barn Wood Look


barn wood diy

How to Make Barn Wood From New Boards

When renovating my office, I wanted my office to have barn wood.  The cost of buying barn wood and the thought of it not covering well, had us decide to make our own barn wood from new boards for an old barn wood look.

I’ll walk you through how you can take new boards and make them look like barn wood.

What You Need:

boards (we used 8 foot 1×6, 1×8 and 1×10)
sand paper
spray paint
stain (we used java stain and driftwood)
gloves
rags to wipe off boards

It’s hard to show in pictures how to make barn wood boards, so we have a video as well.

YouTube video

how to make barn wood

making boards have old barn wood look

You will want to work on 1 or 2 boards at a time on saw horses.

With your gloves on, spray random areas of the boards with spay paint, working on 2-3 foot sections.

We are not painting the entire board, but random areas on each board. You want to create the effect of barn wood that has faded and missing paint.

painted board

Do not wait for the paint to dry. Go right in and sand the area with the grain and press the sand paper into the board pulling the paint over the board. You want to smear the paint over the board to fade the color.

After you have sand a few boards, you will notice the sandpaper will ‘gum up’..  This is perfect.  It allows you to take those areas of the sandpaper and rub paint into the boards; especially on the knots of the wood.

dirty sand paper

How to stain barn wood

Once you have got the paint sanded how you like, you can stain your boards.  You do not need to wait for the boards to dry.  The paint will smear a bit more and fade into the board (which is what you want) if you work with it a bit wet.

Stain the board in 2-3 foot sections and wipe off the excess as you go.  Be sure to get the edges of the boards.

stain wood

Move the boards to a place to dry, and complete the rest of your boards, varying how much paint you put on and where the paint is on the boards.

Can I make barn wood, painting the boards with a paint brush?

If you want to do this method, but apply the paint with a brush, you can.  It will take longer and the paint will be thicker.  See our video showing some of the boards we did this way (and stopped), because the spray paint method produced the results we like better.

stressed barnwood

How to install the boards

When you are ready to install the barn wood, work from the bottom to the top.

You will want to vary the colors (if you selected more than one) as you install the boards.

Change the size boards (if more than one) for each row to give a random look.  You will need to decide if all the walls will follow this same pattern or be different.

Install with finishing nails (they are smaller to see). We used a nail gun.

If you have to trim any ends, be sure to stain them.

Tips for making old wood:

You should do a test on the back of the board to see how the stain looks over the paint before starting to make sure you like it.

Vary how you spray paint the boards.  Some should have more paint than others.

Make sure you paint the knots, and rub in the paint well.

Its ok to have variations in the paint (lighter and darker)

You can use multiple colors of spray paint (we used 2 and 2 colors of stain).

It is best not to work in direct sun, the paint will dry quickly on hot days.

Don’t install the electrical outlets onto the wall until you have installed the boards, or they will be recessed in too far.

You can use left over boards to make a coat rack.

Want barn wood? We wrote how to take new boards and giving them the old barn wood look. Homemade barn wood can be done and look awesome.


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