How to Age Wood With Vinegar and Steel Wool

This quick tutorial is the outcome of several failed attempts to age this wood bread board. This board also has a cute little story that I love to tell. But first let me welcome you to The Thrifty Style Team!! Every month we share how we style or makeover one of our thrifted finds. This is my first time participating and I’m more excited than I am when Haagen Daz goes on sale. That is pretty excited!! thrifted finds styled to perfectionYou will find clickable images at the bottom of this post that will take you to each of the blogs above.


Aging Wood With Vinegar and Steel Wool

The reason that I wanted to age this board is because it had a very yellow finish. I absolutely love the board but the finish not as much. Here is what I started with….How to age wood with vinegar and steel woolIf you want to hear how I got this wood board and that my sister has a matching one then keep reading. If not, skip ahead to the tutorial. No hard feelings, promise!

It was pouring rain in a cute little equestrian town in North Carolina. I was visiting my sister and we snuck away for lunch and antiquing. She wanted a bread board for her island but they were all so expensive.

That’s when I saw the handle sticking out from behind a bed frame in the back of the store. I think someone was hiding them. Do you ever do that at a store? You try to hide something that you really want to be there when you come back.

There were 2. I bought one as a gift for my sister. Then the next day she went all incognito and bought the other one for me and shipped it to me.

We are on the complete opposite sides of the country. I’m all the way on the west coast and her on the east. So I think of her every time I look at it, which is everyday!!!

I put it out there on one of my INSTAGRAM stories hoping someone would have a suggestion for me on how to age it naturally. They did. I tried several ideas that did pretty much nothing. But this stain made out of vinegar and steel wool was the winner. 

The Process:

  • Place a piece of steel wool in the bottom of a glass jar and fill with enough vinegar to cover it.
  • Use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • Let sit for 24 hours or longer
  • Then use the vinegar on a rag to stain the wood (use gloves)
  • Once it dries, I would give it 24 hours, sand it to expose the lighter color which gives it that time worn look

I sanded the edges lightly to leave some of the darker color. I think the best way to explain it is with pictures.

How to age wood with vinegar and steel wool

How to age wood with vinegar and steel wool

How to age wood with vinegar and steel wool

I also exposed certain areas more to mimic years of use, like around the handle and the center.

It was a happy coincidence that my husband had actually started using it to cut on.

Silly husband bread boards are not for cutting, only for looking!!!

The blemishes soak up more of the vinegar and steel wool stain. They stay dark after sanding which just makes the patina that much more authentic.  How to age wood with vinegar and steel woolHow to age wood with vinegar and steel woolOne word of caution…

The vinegar interacts with the wood and gets darker as it sits. So I would suggest starting off with a light coat. Then wait a day and you can always go over it again .

There you have it!! Before you start aging ALL.THE.WOOD stop by and see what these bloggers had up their sleeves this month by clicking the small images below.

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Shop My Look:

Bread board vintage–similar HERE | Blue striped dish towels HERE | White flour sack dish towels HERE | White napkins HERE | Pink and white vase HERE | Salt and pepper shakers HERE

How to age wood naturally with vinegar and steel wool

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26 thoughts on “How to Age Wood With Vinegar and Steel Wool

  1. Oh my goodness, this turned out beautifully and now I know how to get this look. I’ve always wondered and if you didn’t tell us, I would never have guessed this bread board wasn’t vintage.

    p.s. I love the story about you and your sister 🙂 🙂 🙂 and another p.s. My husband and sons do the same thing…they use things meant for use but when you blog, it’s not for use. 😉 They are starting to catch on.

  2. Its truly beautiful neighbor! I love all your creative ideas and tips to turn the ordinary into extraordinary! 🙂 I just have a question. Is the board still considered foodsafe after this treatment process or is it only decorative now?

    1. Hi there neighbor!!! Thank you so much for commenting. I wanted to know the same thing. I couldn’t find any information on it. I sanded it and washed it several times. I only serve food on it, I don’t cut on it. I would suggest a food grade oil or wax to finish it just to be safe. 😊

  3. oh my. i have never heard of this method but will be trying it on a piece of furniture that I want to cut down the goldish tint on. your timing to share could not have been more perfect. And yes, I have a silly husband too!

  4. Well vinegar staining wood is pretty cool and as excited as I get about that I’m hunting you down and bringing a half gallon of Haagen Daz to share!

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