One of the things I have been doing a lot of since moving into our new home is coming up with ways to stretch my home renovation and decor budget. We recently went from two incomes to one and it has definitely taken some getting used to (future post on my tips and tricks for living on one income coming soon)! So with my limited budget, I have to get creative. And can I let you in on a secret? I don’t mind at all! Penny pinching is my specialty 🙂
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So when it came to redoing our fireplace I knew that a perfectly aged, beautifully weathered, reclaimed wood mantle from some abandoned barn was going to be out of our price range. And unfortunately, being new to the area, we weren’t lucky enough to have any connections that could hook us up with a 100 year old barn to rummage around in to find the perfect piece.
That’s when I came up with the idea to do a DIY version of the distressed wood beam mantle I had my heart set on. Below is my step by step process to make a brand new piece of wood look perfectly distressed!
- 4″ x 10″ 6ft long wood board from local hardware/lumber store
- Any and every tool you have lying around (hammer, screws, hatchet – anything that would leave marks in the wood)
- Miniwax Stain in Dark Walnut
- Paint brush
- Miniwax Wipe-On Poly Finish in Clear
- An old rag
The first thing I did was sand down all of the fresh cut edges. I wanted everything to look old and weathered so I didn’t hold back with the sanding. I used both medium and fine sandpaper strips to mix up the look and to keep it from looking too uniform. Next came the fun part! I grabbed any and every tool I thought would leave a nice imprint on the wood and went to town (this would be a good project for a day when you need to blow off some steam 😉 ). My favorite part was using a hatchet to carve out a few areas along the sides and corners to give it an authentic looking wear. Make sure to distress the wood at random, leaving marks all over it in a random fashion. You really can’t mess this part up.
Once I was done distressing, it looked like this:
The next step was to apply the stain. I chose Dark Walnut but any color stain would work. (I actually loved the color of this stain so much I used it on our DIY wood plank accent wall in our master bedroom. You can check that post out here!) I applied the first coat, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then I took and old rag and wiped away any stain that had not penetrated the wood. Next, I applied a second coat and really focused on the edges and corners of the wood. This gave it an uneven coloring to add to the weathered look. Once it looked how I wanted, I sealed it with the clear wipe-on poly and let that dry overnight.
(I got a little too excited during my staining process and forgot to take pictures! But here are some closeup pictures from after the mantle was hung that shows the distressing after the stain was applied)
In the morning I let my husband know that my beam was ready to be hung on the fireplace, and being the amazing guy that he is, he jumped right on it! After it was installed, I sat back and admired my beautiful rustic mantle. See how I decorated it for Christmas in this post! 🙂
There ya go, a DIY distressed wood beam mantle. To say I’m happy with how it turned out would be quite the understatement. You can view the completed fireplace project here! You won’t believe the before and afters! See how I used this same distressing process on our DIY blanket ladder!