How to Create a Weathered Wood Gray Finish

How to create a weathered wood gray finish

Last week on the blog, I shared a Rustic Tree Branch Desk DIY, that Brandon built and finished. The photos I took didn’t quite show off the rustic, distressed finish like I wanted, so I am sharing some close up photos today of the finish as well as how we created a weathered wood gray finish.

We tested out a few different combinations to get a more gray washed looked. Ultimately, we decided on using a combination of stain and white washed paint (paint mixed with water) to achieve a more gray tone.

Note, this post contains some affiliate links for convenience.

How to Create a Weathered Wood Gray Finish:

Supplies Needed:

*A printable version of this tutorial and step by step video are at the bottom of this post!*

1. Stain your wood

Before staining, make sure your wood is properly prepared for finishing. To learn more about how to prepare your wood surface for a weathered wood finish, as well as other weathered wood finish tutorials and how to protect your weathered wood surface, check out Weathered Wood Recipes!

Then, apply the pre-stain wood conditioner and then one coat of the Dark Walnut stain. Allow your stain to fully dry.

How to create a weathered wood gray finish

 

2. Apply a white wash mixture to the wood

To create a white wash paint mixture, we mixed about 1 part water to 1 part white paint. We ended up making the mixture a bit thicker with paint and less watery to achieve our desired finish.

Next, apply the white wash paint mixture to the wood in long strokes with a paint brush. Allow the paint mixture to set for 3-5 seconds, then rub over the white wash paint strokes with a staining rag or lint free rag to smear the paint mixture into the wood. Allow it to fully dry.

How to create a weathered wood gray finish

 

 

3. Distress wood finish with sandpaper

Finally, very lightly distress the wood finish with sandpaper until you achieve your desired look!

And that’s it! Pretty simple! You can also add a top coat of poly or wax if you’d like, we chose not too since we liked the look at this point. Here is a close up of the wood grain with this rustic, gray, weathered wood finish. I just love how the grain lightly shows through!

How to create a weathered wood gray finish

How to create a weathered wood gray finish

What do you think of our weathered wood, gray finish? I think it definitely gives off a rustic vibe!

If you’re interested in more easy weathered wood finish tutorials, learning how to properly prepare your surface for a weathered wood finish, or learning about top coats and how to protect your finish for the best results, check out Weathered Wood Recipes here! Weathered Wood Recipes includes easy and budget friendly tutorials on how to create weathered wood finishes like this:

Easy DIY Blanket Ladder

Easy DIY Blanket Ladder

And this!

Farm Table Makeover with DIY weathered wood gray finish

Click here to learn more about Weathered Wood Recipes!

I’d love to see photos of your project using the weathered wood finish in this tutorial! Feel free to share with me on Instagram @angelamariemade, Facebook, or e-mail pictures to [email protected]!

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How to create a weathered wood gray finish

How to Create a Weathered Wood Gray Finish

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Easy tutorial on how to create a weathered wood gray finish. Make new wood look like old weathered wood or refinish your furniture with this gray wash look!

Materials

  • Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
  • Minwax Dark Walnut Stain
  • White Paint (we used White Dove by Benjamin Moore)
  • A little bit of water
  • Staining Rags
  • Sandpaper (we used 80 grit)

Tools

  • Paint Brush

Instructions

  1. Make sure your wood is properly prepared. Then, apply a pre-stain wood conditioner.
  2. Stain your wood with one coat of Minwax Dark Walnut stain. Allow it to fully dry.
  3. Apply a white wash mixture to the wood, using one about 1 part water to 1 part white paint. Apply the white wash to the wood in long strokes with a paint brush. Allow the paint mixture to set for 3-5 seconds, then rub
    over the white wash paint strokes with a staining rag to smear the paint mixture into the wood. Allow it to fully dry.
  4. Lightly distress the wood finish with sandpaper until you achieve your desired look!
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262 thoughts on “How to Create a Weathered Wood Gray Finish

    1. Yes although you may get a little bit of blotching/streaking showing through the wood grain, depending on the type of wood. The white wash does conceal it some.

    1. Thank you Karen! It doesn’t do that, but it helps to prevent any blotching or streaking that can occur in the staining process that doesn’t look natural.

    1. If there is no sealant on it, you could probably just skip to the white wash step. But, I would test it out first in a hidden area to make sure it works how you like it!

  1. Love this weathered look! You make it look so easy. I’m getting ready to attempt this myself however I really need a protective finish on my piece. What would be the best to use on this exact technique? Polyurethane, shellac, etc…?

          1. Which table are you referring to? For our kitchen table we used White Dove by Benjamin Moore. For our kitchen chairs we used Greek Villa by Sherwin Williams.

          2. Hi! Thank you for this wonderful tutorial. I love the final look! What type of finish is the white paint…eggshell or flat? Thank you!

          3. I’ve used both flat and eggshell, either works! I think I used flat for this desk.

  2. Can you use chalk paint to mix with water for white wash? Redoing end tables and will paint the legs with chalk paint but want the weathered look on top.

  3. I’m getting ready to refinish a large pedestal oak table. Don’t want a country look so was thinking of painting the base a flat black mineral paint. Have you done any of the weathered gray with black accent/ pictures? Any suggestions?

  4. We did all the steps and then put a satin minwax clear coat for durability! Came out beautifully thanks for the step by step!! Life saver!

  5. Hello! Love your weathered look with gray finish. We are getting ready to build a screen porch. I want to do the ceiling and shiplap around the fireplace with this look, and told the contractor I would do this part as he was worried he wouldn’t get it exactly like I wanted. We have tons of new knotty pine and huge douglas fir beams. Will this yellow over time? i love the knotty look of the pine, but we will have a gray tree floor and I don’t want yellow bleeding through after a few years. Also, what matte sealer will work best to protect from moisture and also prevent yellowing over time ? Im also looking at a wood stain, but like this so much more! Thanks so much!

    1. Thank you! The knotty pine desk top that we first used this finish on 4 years ago hasn’t had any yellowing. But, we did not use a top coat on it. Some top coats can cause yellowing over time. Oil based polys will cause yellowing. Typically water based do not. I’m not sure which water based sealant is best for outdoors. I would recommend testing a few out on some scrap pieces with the finish to see if any yellowing occurs. Because this finish uses the dark walnut stain layer, if some yellowing does occur over time it shouldn’t be super noticeable.

  6. I love how you created a weathered grey finish. How can you achieve this look on dark wood panneling?

    1. Thank you! I’d test it out first in a small area, but you can probably skip to the white wash step instead of sanding first and doing the dark walnut.

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