How to Create the Weathered Barn Wood look with New Wood

If you had the choice would you rather use weathered barn wood boards or new boards for a home project? How about new boards with the weathered look! That’s the best of both worlds right? The weathered wood look is in, and I can’t wait to show you how to make new wood look like old barn wood.

It’s interesting to me to see how trends change. Growing up the home trends seemed to be all about new homes and new decor. Lately (as in the last 10 years) the home trends are moving more towards “antique, aged and restored.”

I do love a new home (especially that new home smell!) but you don’t get that authentic character that you see in an older home.

That’s why this weathered wood technique is so great; you get the best of both worlds. As a matter of fact, recently I shared a weathered wood look on a smooth piece of faux wood (it was actually laminate). All that to say, it’s so easy to find a way to create that aged look to new wood or even faux wood!

A little disclaimer; this technique works best with wood that has a prominent wood grain. It doesn’t matter what type of wood (I’m using a scrap piece of deck wood for this project), just as long as it has a nice wood grain. The heavier the wood grain, the better the “weathered look” will show up. Oak wood is particularly good for this.

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Another disclaimer; I’m using joint compound for this project, but you can also use plaster of paris.

The picture below is the new wood (scrap piece of deck wood) before this awesome aged treatment has been applied. This was a scrap piece of wood we had in the garage. Sometimes scraps make the best project pieces!

Let’s make this new wood look old again with joint compound!

scrap wood before the weathered barn wood technique

Since this post was written I’ve received a lot of questions about applying this weathered wood technique to a treated piece of lumber. Does it work? Can this technique hold up outside? I’ll answer this questions at the end of the post.

I’m no stranger to making new things look old with joint compound. A while ago I transformed a new terra cotta pot and gave it an aged patina look with joint compound.

How to add texture to a pot with joint compound

I love the texture it adds to a simple plastic or clay pot.

Fast forward a few years and here I am with a joint compound project idea; this time it involves a scrap piece of wood!

Materials needed to make new wood look aged:

  1. Wood
  2. Wood stain
  3. Staining rag or brush
  4. Putty knives
  5. Joint compound
  6. Paper towels

How to make new wood look like old barn wood

  • Stain the wood and let it dry completely
  • Apply a large amount of joint compound in the direction of the wood grain with a putty knife or a regular knife
  • Use the putty knife to “rake” most of the excess joint compound off of the wood. Rake in the direction of the wood grain.
  • Once the majority of the excess joint compound has been removed, use a paper towel or lint free cloth to wipe the wood down.
  • You can use a wet cloth to remove as much as you want until you get the desired look
  • Wait at least an hour to let the wood dry
  • Repeat the steps to get the desired finish if the first finish wasn’t “aged” enough

To stain this piece of scrap wood I used a Minwax weathered Oak stain.

I won’t go into details about how to stain or dye wood. You can refer to my post I created about using wood stain vs. wood dye. Or you might be interested in a post on staining wood with household items.

Below is what the wood looked like while scraping a few layers of joint compound off of it.

DIY Weathered Barn Wood to new wood

You can see how the joint compound is starting to make the wood look weathered. I’m loving it so far!

making new wood look old with joint compound
DIY Weathered Barn Wood look

Pictured above is what the wood looked like after about ten minutes of removing the excess joint compound.

DIY Weathered Barn Wood look with new wood

Below is the wood after about an hour that I removed the joint compound.

Weathered Barn Wood look with new wood after it's dry

I love my “new weathered wood” now.

Does this weathered wood technique work for treated wood or outdoor wood furniture?

Being that I used a piece of deck wood (treated wood) for this project, I would say yes! If I were going to apply this weathered wood technique to something that would stay outside permanently, I would apply a sealer to it.

My biggest piece of advice when applying any paint, stain or treatment to treated wood…MAKE SURE IT’S COMPLETELY DRY before applying any finish to it. Trust me, you don’t want to make this mistake.

The Home Depot says “To determine if pressure treated wood is dry enough to stain, try the “sprinkle” test. Sprinkle water on the wood: if the wood absorbs it within 10 minutes, plan to stain as soon as possible. If the water beads or pools on the wood surface, the wood needs more time to dry.”

This wood project was so much fun because it didn’t cost me a dime or take much time at all!

Now I’ve got to find a piece of furniture or accent wall that I can apply this aged wood technique to. Wish me luck!

how to make new wood look like old barn wood

How to create the Weathered Barn wood look on new wood

DIY Weathered Barn Wood look

Learn how to create that weathered barn wood look with new wood. This is such a simple tutorial to make new wood look aged with just a few materials.

Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost 10 dollars


  • Wood
  • Wood stain
  • Staining rag or brush
  • Putty knives
  • Joint compound
  • Paper towels


  1. Stain the wood and let it dry completely
  2. Apply the joint compound heavily on the wood with a putty knife or a regular knife
  3. Use the putty knife to "rake" most of the excess joint compound off of the wood. Rake in the direction of the wood grain.
  4. Once the majority of the excess joint compound has been removed, use a paper towel or lint free cloth to wipe the wood down.
  5. You can use a wet cloth to remove as much as you want until you get the desired look
  6. Wait at least an hour to let the wood dry
  7. Repeat the steps to get the desired finish if the first finish wasn't "aged" enough

I hope I’ve created a simple and easy to follow tutorial. As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for stopping by!


51 thoughts on “How to Create the Weathered Barn Wood look with New Wood

      1. Thanks for the tip. I was going to try glue paper to my my project before I painted & distressed so it looks like years of paint.

    1. I was looking at the wood you had before you put the compound on it. It looks likes it was presser-treated wood you use for putting on decks, is that right? If so it is posioned. They treat it with all kinds of stuff, most if not all is very posionas. If you cut the wood some of the dust may go into the lugns, or a cut on your hands. Painting will not help. It would be far safter if you used ruff cut lumber, you would also get more of that weathered look. I hope that this might help.

      1. This site has some good information about using pressure treated wood indoors… Apparently they stopped using arsenic in pressure treated wood in 2003. So, newer pressure treated wood is fine to use indoors IN CERTAIN APPLICATIONS but be careful when trying to use older/recycled pressure treated wood indoors because it’s more likely to have arsenic in it. Either way, as long as you’re not using pressure treated wood in an area where you, your children and/or your pets might somehow ingest any particles from that pressure treated wood, everyone and everything should be just fine.

      2. They no longer use arsenic in treated lumber. It’s copper sulfate (I believe). You’ll be OK if you 1) don’t eat it and 2) wear a mask so you don’t breathe it.
        Interesting how masks again impact our health, isn’t it?

    2. I want to do this on some pressure treated wood slats which have been on outdoor benches. Would that work if you topped it with marine spaar urethane?

  1. Hi I absolutely loved the tutorial I’m thinking of making a coffee table and the weathered barn look is just I was looking for so thank you so much for sharing it. Also I’m interested in the color of your wall in your video behind you it’s so pretty. I was hoping you would share the brand and color. I’m wanting to paint the interior of my home. Thanks again I love to see all your project’s. Rita

    1. Thank you Rita! I’m so glad you like the post. As far as the wall color, it’s Sherwin Williams Drift of Mist. It’s a great neutral that goes with grays and browns! I hope this helps.

  2. This is a very interesting treatment for raw, rough grain boards. Love the final barn wood effect. Have you tried any other color stains or further distressing before staining, like wire brushing, scraping in the softer grain areas, dinging up in general etc.? Since joint compound is not waterproof, what did you seal it with? I’ve saved a tutorial for making a blanket ladder from the rough, utility grade 2×2’s and I think this would be the perfect finish treatment to use. I also saved the how-to for some heavily distressed plank style interior/decorative shutters. They were only stained but I think this idea would work on them as well. Now I need to get some scrap wood and start experimenting! Thank you for sharing

  3. My only worry is that using deck boards might not be safe for indoors, as this wood is usually treated.

  4. I wonder what would happen if a second coat of stain was applied and wiped off after the joint compound was applied, scraped off and dried.

      1. Not to sound totally dumb, Is joint compound pudding for drywall applications or can the stuff you plug holes be sufficient? Ty

  5. Well, I was thinking of painting some actual old fence boards to use for a cooler project. I will give one a shot and see how THAT turns out. Thanks for the idea. Sounds better than staining, painting, sanding…. getting lazier in my new 60’s. I’ll certainly tackle some wood work!!!

  6. Well, I did it. I used old fence boards, and it was awesome. Didn’t even clean them. Well this was for an outside cooler. It turned out better than I could have imagined. My sister loved her Christmas present. I loved how it turned out.

  7. I’m getting ready for our Christmas Show, and I was wondering if you can mix some color in the compound you use on the wood? Loved the video ❤️❤️❤️

  8. Do you think this could be used on a wood floor? If sealed appropriately to ensure durability?

  9. What if you want to make different coloured boards? Like some turquoise etc…? Can I mix paint with the drywall buddy to make colours?

    1. I’ve actually thought about doing this! Honestly, I have no clue if it would work or not. I don’t see why not? I had thought about painting the board a color and putting the white putty on top. Mixing color into the drywall might work though! Let me know if you try it and how it turns out.

    1. I’ve been looking for a way to weather, other than several colors of paint. Can you share your way(s)?
      Thank you Candy

  10. Great idea! FYI adding a deeper ‘vein’ in the wood, before staining or applying the joint compound, use a small cup wire wheel in your drill and go over the wood.

    Softer wood will be eaten away, while the harder sap wood will remain, creating Defined veins and a deeper texture. I use a dark stain like Espresso, then sand, high-lighting the harder wood, then stain with Special Oak. I’ll bet applying the compound after that would really pop the texture!

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