The Best DIY Weathered Wood Stain

For years I have a hard time finding a stain that I love. A coupe of years ago, I decided I wanted to try my hand at creating the perfect color stain that combined the warmth I was looking and the weathered finish I was after as well. I wanted to see the natural grain of the wood. Today I want to show you how I took a simple water based off the shelf stain and created a nice weathered wood stain. Did you know that you can create your own DIT wood stain colors? Lets chat about it.l


The Best DIY Weathered Wood Stain

When you are working on DIY projects, you can make everything exactly to your plans. A few months ago, I came across a gold mine! Or a weathered wood mine. I had sadly run out of my coveted weathered wood that had been sitting out on the side of my house. Too many projects, not enough wood! 

So, I was in a quandary. I have found many premixed, or commercial stains or treatments that create a nice effect, but most look a little fake or don’t have enough dimension.

I was working on some projects that all required using new wood, but I didn’t want that new wood look, I was stuck at home, and had no other weathered wood paint treatment kits, and needed to figure something out. 

I searched through my collection of paint and stains and came across this American Walnut water based stain I had recently purchased from Home Depot.

It was a nice dark brown, rich color. It was really nice, but not exactly what I was looking for. Plus applying this directly on the wood was was too thick and dark.

Then I saw a small bottle of grey chalk paint. This was a light grey not a dark grey. I had an idea.

This is not exact science. I love to experiment. Just make sure you do not mix chemicals together that might not be safe. I chose to use a water base stains and water base paints to create my brown/ gray stain.

To make my own wood stain, I took:

  •  1/4 cup stain(amercian walnut water based stain)
  •  2 tbsp light grey acrylic paints ( I used Folkart Grey Milk Paint)The paint color will effect the color of the stain. I chose gray color to soften and “wash out” the stain color.
  •  1- 1 1/2 cups of water (the more water the better)( if you want a darker color use less water)


This is the best DIY weathered wood stain! It is so easy to make. I have used it so many times and it perfect every time!

 I stored this weathered wood stain in an old glass jar, or mason jar. It will last long enough for you to use it on all your DIY projects. This stain is a good choice to use on the more inexpensive pieces of wood you might choose to use.

Mixing just 2 simple ingredients created the best DIY weathered wood stain ever!

You can apply this with a brush, a foam brush or a rag. Use it on any type of wood. This weathered wood stain will completely transform your pieces.

The secret is you can apply layers, and the color gets more rich, while not overtaking the wood. It will allow the natural color of the wood to appear.

You can seal this with a poly-acrylic if desired, or leave it as is. Totally up to you.

This weathered wood stain is my most favorite discovery so far. It creates the perfect greige wood color.

If I had any advice for you, I would make sure that you try it on a piece of scrap wood to make sure it is exactly what you want. The great thing about this stain is that you can add more water if you want to make it more translucent.

There are other ways to create DIY wood stain colors. By using white vinegar, the option of soaking a steel wool pad in the vinegar, you can create a similar type of stain. This is called steel wool stain (seems to be a pretty obvious name).

Another great option is to use tea bags. This is called tea staining. This is a natural stain option.

Of course, try these on a scrap piece of wood prior to committing to any of them.

I have used this new stain on many projects, including:

My kitchen remodel:

This is the best DIY weathered wood stain! It is so easy to make. I have used it so many times and it perfect every time!

I have found that different types of wood do give different results. It was the perfect stain color for my kitchen shelves.

DIY Upholstered X Bench:

This is the best DIY weathered wood stain! It is so easy to make. I have used it so many times and it perfect every time!

Farmhouse Shelves in my Master Bathroom:

This is the best DIY weathered wood stain! It is so easy to make. I have used it so many times and it perfect every time!

We also use them on my DIY faux wood beams in our bedroom:


and…..its worked perfect every time! It is a good idea! You can add extra water for a lighter shade. So, new wood be damned. If you are looking for a great DIY weathered wood stain or wash to treat some of your projects, try this out! For best results, you can distress your wood as well.

Try this DIY weathered wood stain with these paint brushes…

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It tones down the natural look of new wood, while leaving the grain, and character of it. 

It has a slight grey look in places from the paint, but has a rich tone from the stain. I like mine to be really watered down. Then I can control the saturation of the wood. I can always add more, but it is really hard to take away! 


Bang up that new wood with a hammer or a chain to add a few dents and dings. Then once you add the DIY weathered wood stain, it will settle into some of those recesses and add a little bit more character.

You can also use any dark water based stain, as long as it does not have a red tone to it. 

I’ve used this on a variety of wood species and it has always turned out perfect. This is the best DIY weathered wood stain ever!

Pin this DIY weathered wood stain now! Save it for later!

This is the best DIY weathered wood stain! It is so easy to make. I have used it so many times and it perfect every time!






  1. I love the color of the stained wood but not sure how you got that color with just a clear water based stain, grey paint and water. What color brown did you tint the clear stain with?

  2. Hello~

    I cannot find American Walnut water based stain anywhere! Can you tell me where else to purchase this, as Home Depot does not carry MinWax products any longer.
    I also called around to various other hardware stores, to no avail. I really love the color you used!

    Thank you! TC

  3. So I couldn’t find either of the above products online any longer. I did eventually find that Home Depot carries Olympic American Walnut water-based stain and General Finishes Seagull Gray Milk Paint. I purchased both and tried this last night on several pieces, including wooden trays to make a two-tiered tray, wooden monogram cutout, and boards for shelves. While I like the color on the other items, the shelving is my absolute favorite. Once it dried, the color provides a little tan and a little gray (great weathered appearance) to the boards that is stunning! I am super pleased with the stain and these pieces! Thanks for the idea!!

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