Instantly Age Wood Part 3

Today I noticed to my horror that my very popular post about instantly aging wood has been without its photos for a long time!

I apologize, and am happy to say that all the photos have been reposted!


I happened to notice the problem because I needed to check my own tutorial for treating a shelf.

Here’s the shelf before and after:

The shelf is from a garden center, meant to hold trays with plants. It had only three thin boards for every shelf. I needed to add more boards, but it took some time to find them and get them attached.

You might notice that the extra boards in between are the boards I used in my experiment in Part 2! Even though they were striped, with untreated wood in between,  it all evened out nicely!


I was eager to get the shelf into a weathered look and made the vinegar-iron mixture right away when I got the shelf. By the time we got the missing boards in place, the mixture was already a week old. Therefore it is a bit darker than other shelves I’ve done. It has more of a brown tone than a silvery one, as was proven by the experiment in Part 2.


But I like it!

In reading the tutorial I realized I wanted to make clear that this stuff splatters! Especially when you apply the mixture to a shelf with lots of parts, and ups and downs. But it doesn’t matter. The stains blend right in when you apply the mixture over them. Or, if they don’t completely disappear, they just become part of the look!


The vinegar has not quite dried yet in this photo, and some of the previous stains can still be seen.

I don’t think it matters whether you apply the tea or the vinegar-iron more than once. Somehow the reaction happens only once and the shade you get depends on the wood, the tea and the vinegar-iron. And the age of the vinegar-iron mixture.

Don’t use up all of your mixture. When your project has dried you are bound to find some small light spots that you missed earlier.


This stuff is nontoxic, but the vinegar-iron mixture is strong stuff. I don’t know if the iron would turn the vinegar toxic  or create toxic fumes. Today I got it on my skin – no problems – and the only thing I could smell was vinegar.

But I did have a scary moment! I got some in my eye! It did not burn or feel bad at all. Just in case, I ran inside and rinsed my eye with cold water several times. I still didn’t feel even a sting of the vinegar. And my eye is fine!

But, as a precaution, since this stuff really splatters around, do use safety goggles!

Here’s a photo of real weathered wood. It’s a sawhorse made from pine that used to be a bed frame with a glossy finish. In three years the finish has worn off and the wood has turned all gray.

The shelves, crates and signs I’ve made with this method have done well in blazing sun and pouring rain. They haven’t “weathered” at all … 😉


As a last note, the color does not come off by getting wet or being wiped. It does not need a finish. You can apply one if you want, but then the item will look a bit less weathered.


And so the experiment continues. Next I’m going to try this treatment on fabric. In Part 2 I learned it can be done, now I want to know how colorfast it is and if it weakens the fibers …


Until next time,

~ Marina

Related posts:

Tutorial: Instantly Age Wood

Instantly Age Wood Part 2