Whether you have reclaimed materials or are hoping to make your new wood look reclaimed, paint may be your best bet in adding that extra personalized touch to your space. Painting reclaimed wood can be tricky at times. It’s important to understand the variety of wood you have and the overall look you’d like to achieve in the long run. For those with brand new lumber, paint is an easy and effective way to get the exact look of your wood you want. If you’d like a knot in one corner and a pronounced grain or scratch in another, no problem! Paint will allow you creative freedom to make your materials look as reclaimed or rustic as you need them to. 

Clean Your Surface

Before you get going on your reclaimed masterpiece, it’s a good idea to wipe down your surface. Whether you will be painting brand new planks of wood or existing structures in your home, it’s important to make sure that you are starting with a clean and particulate-free plane. The last thing you want is for dirt and other debris to get trapped under the paint. Surfaces with these particles won’t adhere as easily to paint and may even cause your wood to look bumpy or inauthentic. You can even sand some edges down to achieve the look you’re going for. When it comes to preparing for a project like this, you can never be too careful when setting up your canvas.

Start with a Base Coat

The first step in making your wood look reclaimed is paint! You’ll want to start off by adding a thin coat of your color of choice all across the surface. Adding more will likely make the wood darker, and vise versa. This base coat doesn’t have to be perfect. Adding more or less in certain areas can make the wood seem weathered and more realistic. Depending on the original color of your materials, you may have to add a more generous layer of paint to get the color you’re going for. Most reclaimed wood is brown or white, but there are no rules when designing the spaces in your own home. If a distressed purple wood is what you want, there’s certainly no reason why it can’t be achieved!

Add Some Character

Now comes the fun part. Using tools like hammers, nails, saws, or even a hard object off the ground, create ‘dings’ on the surface of your wood. By beating up the wood a bit, it’ll create a used and weathered look. Create dents, cracks, or lines wherever you please. You can put these impurities across the entire facade of the wood or just in specific locations, it’s up to you and your design preference. For those in search of another way to personalize your wood even further, you could even engrave your name or a unique design into the surface. Reclaimed wood doesn’t have to look a certain way. Get creative and customize your materials exactly how you’d like. 

More Paint!

Once you’ve got a decent base coat and distressed layer on your wood, it’s time to add more paint. Oftentimes, boards of reclaimed wood will be lighter in the center and darker toward the edges creating a vignette look. But again, the design of the wood is completely up to you. Make sure to use a defined brush to go over all of the dents and marks made. It’s important that every part of the surface has at least a little paint on it to look as real as possible and protect against damage later on. Try to blend your paint colors if you can to make a cohesive look. Of course, it doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s the beauty of reclaimed wood. 

Finish it Off

Once you are happy with how your ‘reclaimed’ wood is looking, let it dry for at least 24 hours. It’s crucial you let the paint completely dry before you add on any additional stains or coats. For the most part, a clear wood finish to top off your materials will keep them looking new for years. It’ll also help protect against damage from the elements or everyday life mishaps. If you are working with just boards of wood, the wood is ready for installation once completely dry. After installation, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy all of your hard work!