Beyond paints, stains, and physical damage, MasterClass shares another clever way to apply a weathered look to your wood. Before getting started, however, it is advisable to test it first on a small piece of scrap wood. This will allow you to determine if the process creates the rustic look you desire before applying it to the wood you will use for your project. If not, you can either adjust this method to create a lighter or more dramatic look, or switch to one of the other techniques.
To begin this all-natural procedure, soak a piece of steel wool in white vinegar for at least eight hours (or overnight) to create a solution that will give your wood a grayish appearance. The longer you let the wool soak, the more intense the gray will be.
While the wool is soaking, steep several black tea bags in a mason jar for about an hour, or longer if you want a more intense color. Before applying your solutions to the wood, sand down any old paint or stain to create a smooth exterior for the new stains to penetrate. Also, don’t forget to add any scuffs, scrapes, or dents you want to recreate a rough, rustic texture. Then, paint the tea and steel wool solution evenly over each plank and repeat several times until you achieve the desired look. When dry, apply polyurethane to seal the surface.