how to weather wood by layering paint

Our parents just renovated their kitchen.  They spent nearly as much money as we make a year, lol!  But having raised 9 kids and lived in the same house for 30+ years, they definitely earned it!!  One of the upgrades were brand new, hand scraped, gorgeous dark wood floors.  And molding…tall, luscious 8″ molding.  Not even close to the yucky molding in my house…wah.  So I snagged some of the scrap and wanted to make a sign for my living room/family room.  But it was new wood…and if you’re a regular LJ reader, you know I don’t do new wood.  I wanted my sign to look worn and authentic, the lettering to be on a piece of wood that looks like I found it outside and that it sat through many’a rainstorms…obv not here in dry AZ (;  So here’s how to fake weathered wood by layering paint to get that awesome vintage, chippy look!

Quick way to fake weathered wood by layering paint! 


The trick is to start with a dark base.  I stained my pre-primed scrap of molding with Minwax’s gel stain, “Hickory”. This will give you a rich bottom coat, glob it on thick on the edges.  If you’re using a pre-primed wood like it, it won’t truly stain the wood since stain has to penetrate, but this is a GEL stain which acts more like a thick coat of paint.  I let it dry overnight since I wasn’t in a hurry.  If you’re using raw wood, a standard stain will penetrate it perfectly, I do recommend the gel to get this look, however and will explain why in step 3.  And fyi, stain always needs proper dry time since it dries so darn slow…account for that when you’re getting started.  Note: I used a Purdy paint brush to apply the gel stain.


I have so many cans of paint in my stash from homemade chalk paint to latex but I prefer DecoArt acrylic bottles of paint since they’re so convenient.  And let’s be honest, it’s nice not to have to pry the lid off an old can o’ paint cuz I’m lazy like that.  So grab your middle layer color that you want to peek through.  I went with mustard yellow since it matches my main accent color in my living room.  I slapped it on, going heavier in the cracks and on the edges where I wanted it to show through just a little.  This only takes about 20 minutes to dry and you can immediately apply your top layer.  Note: I used a cheap, craft foam brush.


This is the main color you’ll see so coat it well but don’t worry about the edges since you’ll be sanding and scraping at them anyway.  After your top layer is dry to the touch, again, only about 20 minutes, sand the sides and middle with your hand sander.  Here’s where it gets fun: you control how much you want the base coat to pop through.  If you sand lightly, you’ll take off patches here and there.  The longer and harder you sand, the more the bottom coat will show through.  I wasn’t thrilled with how much the stain showed through, it started to overpower my white.  So after I added my vinyl stencil (technique for that here), the saying came through but was a little too stark against the weathered background.  So I sanded it down slightly and a LOT of the background came through.  You may love that look and if you do, great!!  I love the look too but it was taking away from the saying so I took my foam brush (pic 3 below) and blotted it back over the streaks until it looked like a natural wear.  Then I used a plastic squeegee (a credit card will do!) and rubbed away pieces of the top layer so the brown showed through in chunks, giving it a really weathered look.  I love the gel because it peels the top layer off (see bottom pic below) easily, it just sluffs off.  That’s why I recommended gel versus a standard stain, it’s super easy to remove the top layer and you can control it.

How to weather wood by layering paint tutorial, so easy!

Weathered Paints Used:  Minwax “Hickory” gel stain, DecoArt “White Birch” + “Muted Gold” // Sign colors: DecoArt “Coastal Waters” + “True Red”

Here’s how the final sign turned out and I love it.  I don’t think it looks like a pre-primed MDF piece of molding.  Do you??  I hung it above my tv since I finally got hubby to hang it for me earlier this week.  I added my vintage windows on each side and kept the coffee filter wreath in it from this post.  The M is from JoAnn’s and I painted subtle lines on it to mimic vintage grain sack.

Fake a vintage chippy sign with paint tricks!Fake a vintage chippy sign with paint tricks!How to decorate around a tv, place frames around tv and a small sign above it to balance it out.

Loving the grain sack monogram? An easy painting tutorial!

How to decorate around a tv, place frames around tv and a small sign above it to balance it out.

Read about my 100 year old mustard yellow buffet makeover and more shots of my living room here and my living room here too.  I made the moss topiary on the left earlier this summer and more recently, the set of 3 topiaries.  Should I do a tutorial for them?? They were really easy to make and way more cost effective than buying store bought versions.  Like, I almost passed out when Marshall’s was asking $26 for one the same size, just one! Oy!!

Check out all our DIY projects and tutorials.  Happy weathering (;

kelli siggy

Lolly Jane
Meet Kelli & Kristi, twin sisters and authors of Lolly Jane. We are two busy wives + mommas who are makers of all things pretty. From signs to home decor and holiday crafts or redoing furniture in between soccer practices, we do it all all while armed with an ice cold Diet Coke. Join us in our DIY adventures! XOXO
Lolly Jane

Latest posts by Lolly Jane (see all)

  • Crystal - It turned out great!! I love the old look. Love the turquoise and red too! Great job!!ReplyCancel

  • Amy W - Love this technique. I feel like I’m still trying to “perfect” it. It looks like I need to apply all the layers more heavily to get the right weathered feel. Practice makes perfect, ha!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Tina - I have old doors to redo for a rustic wedding of my daughters. Will this technique work?ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - For sure it will, Tina! I’m doing a mint door from Kristi’s 100 year old house this weekend! (;ReplyCancel

  • Tina - I have old doors to redo for a rustic wedding will this technique work for that?ReplyCancel

  • Lisa OReilly - So many fun things to learn. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa@ Creative Raisins - Thanks for the tips this looks so good, I am in love with the buffet too ~ LisaReplyCancel

  • Stephanie McDonnell - That is sensational! Beautiful job.


  • Jess Talkington - Great tutorial. I will have to play with so e gel stain. LOVE your yellow buffet! Gorgeous! Where did you get the yellow stripe pillows?ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - Goodwill! They’re Pottery Barn, $4 each, just lucked out!ReplyCancel

      • charlotte randall - So do you do a final clear coat? If so, what do you use? Also, I have a desk that I just got for free but it looks like it’s made of “pressed wood”. Can I use this same technique for the desk with the gel stain? Obviously it won’t stain the pressed wood, it’ll be more of a overcoat over the top of the fake wood covering the pressed/particle board. Let me know your thoughts :) Thanks!ReplyCancel

        • lollyjane - Hi Charlotte! I did seal it, should have mentioned that. I used DecoArt’s clear sealer. I’ve also used Minwax’s poly and also wax, any of the three would work great! So many options huh?

          As for the pressed wood, I don’t know how well it would work because the pressed wood is almost a plastic. The only thing that’s worked that I’ve used is spray paint because it’s the only thing that will stick. As long as you’re sanding really lightly, it should work decently. Good luck!!ReplyCancel

          • Charlotte - Awesome thanks!! Why do I feel intimidated by wax? I think I saw somewhere you have to let wax cure and if you don’t wipe it down it can be oily…is any of this true??

  • Tisha Williams - Yes, please do a tutorial. I love topiaries but hate to pay the stupid prices for them!! Great job on the sign!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Mascorro - Where’s the kitchen reveal?! I wanna see!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - I love this Kelli! I have so many projects swimming around in my head now that we finally bought our house! Pinning for later use! : )ReplyCancel

  • Shannah @ Just Us Four - Gorgeous. Thanks so much for the tips. By the way, I love the yellow tv stand!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - This turned out nice, I really like when its simple and quick.ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - Thanks so much for the great tutorial! I absolutely love the look of weathered wood. And I am completely in love with your mustard buffet as well. Have a great weekend!ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - You’re welcome, miss Brooke! That buffet was so fun to redo, thank you! (:ReplyCancel

  • Meegan - Love, love, love this tutorial! Thanks for linking up to Tickled Pink Times Two! I am so happy to see you there.
    Make it a pink weekend :)ReplyCancel

  • Creative Ideas | TidyMom - […] Learn how to fake weathered wood by layering paint to get that awesome vintage, chippy look!  Kelli has a great step by step […]ReplyCancel

  • TidyMom - fabulous tutorial Kelli! that’s exactly how my dad taught me – he was a furniture builder – he would have loved blogging with me!

    Thanks for linking up! I featured your post in my wrap up Have a great rest of the weekend.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - I’d LOVE a topiary post!ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - Coming soon to a blog near you! LOL Thanks for your input, Miss Rebecca! (;ReplyCancel

  • Link Party Palooza No.6 - Todays Creative Blog - […] Lolly Jane | Such talented sisters! Now they’re teaching us how to make wood look old and weathered. […]ReplyCancel

  • lynn cockrell - Great tutorial for the painted rustic sign. I really like the mustard colored dresser and am pinning both. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • lollyjane - Thank you Lynn! Mucho appreciated! (: xoReplyCancel

  • carissa - perfectly weathered kelli!ReplyCancel

  • Sharpie faux chalk art - Lolly Jane - […] me and my house, we will serve the Lord” and “return with honor”. I have “Be Kind” and “You are so loved” in my home and a few chalk board with seasonal and inspirational quotes I swap out. I’m so […]ReplyCancel

  • Brandon Smith Photography | {DIY} Weathered Wood Photo Frame | Southern Ohio Natural Light Photography - […] I was lucky enough to find some really old wood flooring that was already weathered beautifully, but there are plenty of online tutorials on creating Faux Weathered Wood. […]ReplyCancel

  • Arthur Art-Faux Designs Inc - Beautiful work on the weathered wood. I have several techniques I have used over the years for different reasons. The one you used here should last for a very long time. Peace!ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - Pocketful of Paint - I Love this! Great tutorial! The whole room looks awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Missy - LOVE this technique…beautifulReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *