stain a bar to look rustic & weathered

my buddy built this bar for a client. they requested redwood with a clear coat of varnish.

rustic weathered wood bar with metal barstools and 4 pendants

then they decided it was too red and didn’t match the rustic look they really wanted.

redwood bar stained dark walnut

so i got to work. on a dreadfully cold and rainy day, i bussed in the Minwax Dark Walnut and some watery Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in a mix of Paris Gray and Pure White.

rustic weathered wood bar close up detail

i very lightly dry brushed the paint on top of the stained wood.

what do you think?! rustic. weathered. hip.

bar stained and painted to look weathered wood rustic

anyone for a drink?  rustic weathered wood bar with metal barstools and 4 pendants

stay tuned as my carpenter buddy and i have many more client projects in the works for 2015.

happy new year!

About meesh

Meesh has a passion for people, creative projects, and technology. She enjoys painting furniture back to life, gardening, playing with her kids, and connecting people.


  1. This is stunning!

    • Thanks. I was surprised at how well the stain covered the redwood, too!

  2. Corinne says

    This looks awesome! My husband is in the process of making a table out of old barn wood from his grandparents’ barn, and we really like the finished look of the this bar. Good news is we already have the Minwax dark walnut stain at home and have been testing it out. We like it but didn’t like how dark it was, so your method seems perfect!

    How watery did you make the paint? How much paint did you brush over the top of the stain? And do you have any suggestions for making the bottom of the table (new wood) match closely to the top (old barn wood)?


    • Hi, and thanks for visiting my site. 🙂 Yes, the Minwax Dark Walnut tends to be too dark and doesn’t look like weathered wood at all. When I water down the chalk paint, it’s like the consistency of fat free milk. Does that help? To get new wood to look old, I’d start with the Dark Walnut to get the wood dark. Then do layers of watery grays, whites and taupes to achieve a weathered wood look. Remember that even within a piece of wood, there are many variations to color, so this will make it less forgiving and you won’t have to match every single piece perfectly. Good luck!

  3. Corinne says

    I meant to post sooner-we got the table finished in time to host Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out great and we love it – thank you!

  4. Danielle says

    Did you stain the wood & let dry before adding the chalk paint?

    • Oh my. So sorry that it’s taken me so long to reply! Yes, I stained, let it dry, then dry brushed with chalk paint. Otherwise, the paint will pick up the stain. The stain is oily and the chalk paint will adhere in some places and won’t in others, producing a very natural-looking wispy weathered wood look. Good luck!

  5. Any suggestions? I’m going to try this on cabinets…i need all the help I can get