How I Create Faux Reclaimed Wood Barn Boards

DIY - How To Create "Reclaimed" Wood - Nest of Bliss

Happy Saturday all!

I’m so excited the weekend is here! Our foyer renovation is under way and I think we are going to get a lot done this weekend. I’ve finally started painting the floor and I gotta tell ya, what a difference! Our farmhouse doesn’t receive a lot of natural light so all colour choices need to be fairly light — In fact, the colours we have in our home already I know some people have used as “whites” and trim colours, yet they still look somewhat dark in our home. I may decide to go lighter at some point (But let’s wait until we get this old farmhouse mostly “finished”)

Recently I showed you our kitchen progress. We still have a few more projects underway (like laying down boards and white washing or painting them to brighten the space, and we would also love to have a nice backsplash) but the response so far from all of you was wonderful! Thank you!

A lot of you were asking about our island, and many believed we used reclaimed barn boards to build it. What a compliment! But no, I’m afraid we can’t afford real barn boards. They were merely pine boards from Home Depot I distressed! But no worries, I’m going to tell you how we achieved the look with faux reclaimed wood. πŸ˜‰

DIY - How To Create "Reclaimed" Wood - Nest of Bliss

For this project you will need:
Minwax stain in SPECIAL WALNUT
Pine boards
Palm sander
Heavy chain
Old Needle Nose Pliers

The wood we used was pine from Home Depot. Pine is a soft wood that scuffs up easily, and each type of wood takes to stain differently so I feel it’s necessary I let you know this before you try this on another kind of wood and get a different result.

When we were choosing our boards, we chose the most scuffed up knotty wood that we could. (Yes, the workers at Home Depot thought I was nuts) But we also made sure the boards were fairly straight for building. A few were a little warped but nothing so extreme it would affect building the island.

DIY - How To Create "Reclaimed" Wood - Nest of Bliss

When the island was built (expect a tutorial on this soon!) I began to distress the wood. Your best friend during this process is your chain. Just toss, drop, and whip your chain everywhere! Be careful, but have fun! You want to take quite a bit of time using different techniques to drop the chain, focusing on some sections more than others.

After the chain I used the hammer to beat the wood all over, focusing on the corners to wear down the edges. I used every side of the hammer to create different dented shapes, again, focusing on some areas more than others.

I used the old needle nose pliers to scratch, drag, and turn around on parts of the wood to create long thin scratches. In my opinion this really adds the finishing touch… but you can use whatever tools use you have to create a different look and technique. You really can’t make a mistake with this project! πŸ˜‰

I also recommend if you are using your wood for a table or island to sand down some of the “furry” parts of the wood with a palm sander. These look beautiful, but they are awful to wipe down. Sanding them won’t take away from their appearance, I promise!

The distressing process probably took me about a half an hour to achieve the look I wanted. I then applied one layer of Minwax in Special Walnut with a brush over the wood. I absolutely LOVE this colour and it’s used many times on projects in our home! Used on pine creates a beautiful finish that looks similar to reclaimed wood I’ve seen in the past.

To seal we used a couple of coats of polyurethane. Whether or not you choose to seal is up to you and what your purpose is for the wood.

DIY - How To Create "Reclaimed" Wood - Nest of Bliss

When you are finished you should now have beautiful faux “reclaimed” wood! If it’s not quite as “old” as you want it to look, go ahead and grab your tools to continue distressing until you are happy with how it looks!

Let me know if you decide to try this for yourself, I would love to see what you come up with!

Be sure to check out our farmhouse kitchen tour before you leave. πŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend!

Remember to ‘Pin’ to come back later!

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  1. Absolutely gorgeous! Weathered Oak is my favorite stain, it has such an aged beauty to it. You all have made that kitchen island look like it’s 100 yrs old, like the house. BRAVO!

    • Thanks girl! I’m so glad you’ve tried out that stain for yourself… it’s like aging in a can! πŸ™‚

  2. Absolutely beautiful – and great if you can’t find reclaimed wood in the size or price range you want! Definitely price range – who knew reclaimed wood could be so expensive?? Love the tutorial, and we’ll be trying this out when we get around to making a table {our dining area is so small, we have to custom build a table for the area}.

    • I guess it all depends where you live, but reclaimed barn boards certainly can be expensive since their rise in popularity! Let me know when you try it out on your dining table – that would look so lovely!

  3. WOW! That is absolutely gorgeous and something I would like to do when we remodel our kitchen!! I especially love the mason jar lights. Were those DIY? Or did you buy them somewhere? Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing such an awesome DIY project!

    • Hi Leah! Thank you so much. πŸ™‚ I designed the lights based on inspiration from Pinterest and my lovely fiancΓ© rigged it together. We are going to have a tutorial up at some point on it!

  4. This is great! I love the idea of “making” reclaimed wood. πŸ˜‰

    Plus, you might not always want the actual reclaimed wood. We have a great source for real barn wood here in Portland and there is a definite horsey smell to the wood. I love it, but I don’t want it in my kitchen.

    • Hi Laurie!
      Interesting to hear it can have a smell to it, but that definitely makes sense. I wonder if there is a process to remove odours!
      Thank you so much for your comment, I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the tutorial. πŸ™‚

  5. Thanks for the great DIY post. That one piece in your kitchen adds so much character. The lights are fabulous, too. Can’t wait for future tips as you redo your house!

  6. Wow! This turned out SO great. I’m impressed. I’m hosing a state art giveaway that you should enter!

  7. I love love love your island but I just couldn’t keep my eye off that Mason Jar chandelier! Did you make that as well?

  8. I love reclaimed wood, thanks for this great tutorial. Can’t wait to see the tutorial for the island! Looks great!

  9. Thanx for coming to THT this week! Love your project. I have not heard of that stain color before and will have to see if I can find it around here.

    • Hey Pamela!
      Thank you! I’m so glad you love the project! It’s a beautiful stain colour – definitely keep an eye out for it. πŸ˜‰

  10. Wow, I LOVE the look of this! So glad you shared how to do this πŸ™‚ Pinned!

    Shauna @ The Best Blog Recipes

  11. Thanks for sharing! I love reclaimed wood and want to hunt it down, but I’m always unsuccessful. This will be so much easier now that you walked us through the steps. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

    • Everyone who comes buy asked where we got our reclaimed boards, or if it’s original with our house (our house is over 100 years old)! Definitely give it a shot!

  12. WOW! This is beautiful! Thanks for linking up!

  13. GORGEOUS! great job!

  14. BEAUTIFUL! Where did you get your mason jar lighting?

    Also, I have a giveaway going on at my blog right now for some very cute shoes! Check it out:

  15. I loved this so much! You were my pick for feature at Give Me The Goods! Be sure to come by and grab your feature button! Great job!
    Amber @
    Dimples & Pig Tales (soon-to-be Averie Lane)

  16. Beautiful Brandi! I love the dark color! Great job!

  17. This is gorgeous and I’m pinning, but I do have a question about the stain. I’ve used Minwax’s weathered oak stain on my dining room table and another project, and both times they came out as a very light gray look. NOTHING like your table. Did you leave the stain on for a really long time? I’d love to know your secret, because I think it’s just beautiful!!

    • Hi Laura! Thank you so much! πŸ™‚
      This could be due to the type of wood your table is made out of. I find stains take to different types of wood differently. Also, when I stain I skip wiping off product! I apply the product with a paintbrush and let it soak into the wood and forego a second coat!

  18. Oh wow, I love this! I’ve seen a lot of kitchen cabinet makeovers and the part that bums me out is one of two things. One, they rip them out and buy new, which I can’t do right now. Or two, the ‘before’ cabinets are already still pretty new or at least semi modern. They aren’t like mine so I can’t recreate.

    But your before cabinets are IDENTICAL to mine! Like down to the knobs!
    And in addition to that, I’ve been searching for a way to create an island for our large, empty middle kitchen space. I think I just found my new favorite blog! Lol!
    Now I need to go see if you’ve posted any tutorials since this!

    Thanks for giving me hope for my kitchen!

    • Oh no… then I feel your pain, girl! I wished so badly that the previous owners at least had strong wood cabinets, even if they were in an ugly shade. But these are what we were dealt with! We too can’t afford to just gut the kitchen and start from scratch. DIY is where it’s at!
      Did yours have 2 lines vertically running through them as well? (see the drawers where they run horizontally)

      We don’t have a tutorial up yet on the island, but we will! However we do have a tutorial on how we created faux “reclaimed” barn boards that we used to built the island with you may want to check out!

      I can’t wait to see what you come up with in your kitchen, I’m heading over to your blog now. πŸ™‚


  19. This is uber COOL! What a neat idea!

  20. Nancy Rozof says:

    I love it! Such a pretty stain color. I have a kitchen island top that I’d love to distress and stain but I keep reading that most wood stains are not food safe and neither is polyurethane. Do you know if that’s true? I keep debating whether I want something beautiful (like yours) or practical (like mine). I guess I could stain mine and simply place another food-safe cutting board on top of the island when it’s time to chop and cook. Regardless, thanks for the beautiful pictures and tutorial. I love your creativity!

    • Hi there Nancy,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the tutorial! In terms of practicality – We don’t prepare food for cooking on any of our countertops for sanitary purposes and to keep workspaces safe, so we have a large cutting board on the first level of the island that we keep a large cutting board handy. We love the island for the storage, workspace, and as an eat-in kitchen (Which we use plates for, but if someone ate a muffin on it without one I’m sure they’d be okay too) πŸ˜‰
      I hope this somehow helps you with your decision. Thank you again!

  21. Hi Brandi I absolutely love this!! I am going to build a dining table and this is exactly the finish I want on it! I also have a mason jar chandelier on my to do list too.
    Can I ask a quick question – what size were the pine boards you used for the island?
    Love your work!

  22. I love how it is almost black in sections! How was that obtained did you have to add more stain than others? This will be my first project do very scared it won’t turn out please give me as many tips as possible.

    • That would just be due to the knotty wood we used as well as the type of stain settling into the wood. When I apply that stain I use a brush and let it soak in as opposed to wiping it off. Try using wood that already has darker sections to begin with. πŸ™‚

  23. Good afternoon, did you use a Kreg jig to attach all the boards on the top together? If not, what did you do? I’m doing a new dining room table and that island is exactly the look I’m going for. Looks amazing!

    • Hi Dan,

      We didn’t use we Kreg jig (We don’t own one) we drilled counter-sink holes up from the bottom and secured it using screws from underneath so we didn’t see any screws up top.

  24. Hayden Murphey says:

    I would love a tutorial on how to build this. I am pretty crafty but I would need some help with this.

  25. I just love your table. I just have one question. I am a single widow. Do you please have any instructions on how to put the table together along with what tools and what items to use. It would help me so much. Please. Please.

    • Hi Cindy – We are trying to get around making a tutorial on our island, but it’s definitely a challenge because we didn’t take photos along the way. My fiancΓ© is trying to work on something as soon as he can. πŸ™‚

  26. Hi,

    I have a question about the stain color. So on the blog you wrote you used special walnut and the comments say weathered oak. Can you tell me which one you used? I absolutely adore it! Thanks!

    • Hi there,
      It’s Special Walnut – sorry about the confusion. I actually had the stain names mixed up when this post was earlier published, but I had since edited it correctly. πŸ™‚

  27. Jeannette says:

    Don’t know where to start !!!! your kitchen is amazing, from top to bottom and it has that amazing farmhouse style …
    I’m in love, especially with that table <3 you guys outdid yourselves …. I currently have a hand-me-down kitchen table ( not complaining at all ) but it’s the size of my kitchen :/
    I love DIY projects and I know you guys were thinking of doing a tutorial for the kitchen island table ( can’t wait) would you be able to tell me if it was expensive to build???

    • Hi Jeannette,
      We had a lot of little supplies on hand, but overall the wood and screws came to roughly $80. Unfortunately, since we created the island pre-blog we had difficulty trying to put together a tutorial. I have been thinking about creating a post with some photos of all angles of the island and some wood information, hopefully when that happens it will help you out. πŸ™‚
      Have a wonderful Sunday!

  28. susan baxter says:

    Eco Wood treatment will give you this look

  29. Rachel Gierich says:

    I would love to see more angles of the island!! Pretty please

    • I’m not currently living at the farmhouse so it may be some time before I get some extra photos – but if you go to ‘Our Nest’ and check out some of the tours you may find some more photos of the island! πŸ™‚

  30. Ryan Jenkins says:

    Love the island! Thinking of doing a smaller version for my patio. If I seal it, do you think it will be waterproof enough to be outside on a full time basis?

    Thank you!

    • All wood will warp with moisture, so I can’t say I would recommend it! But there may be a process to make it waterproof out there somewhere. πŸ™‚

  31. Ryan Jenkins says:

    Btw, you are stunning!

  32. Do you have the plans for this table posted somewhere?

  33. Hi- the wood from home depot – is it the large wide rough knotty pine, the ones that are about 9.99?

  34. This is the best island I’ve ever seen! Can you give brief instructions and dimensions? Love it!!

  35. I went a little overboard with the hammering, but all in all, I’m happy with how it turned out! Thanks for the tutorial!

  36. Hi, I love this island! I do have one question. What is the board with that you used?

  37. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a tutorial on this island.. or at least some directions with a diagram? It looks relatively easy but I could be way off. I want to make it with my husband this weekend. What are the dimensions of the island?

  38. Hi Brandi!
    Thank you so much for the inspiration on this kitchen island. My wife and I just finished building one almost exactly like yours with a few tweaks. We got our pine boards from home depot as well. Ours however was 6 boards wide(2×8 each), and we put 3 sets of cabinets under them with bead board on the back side with space for stools. It turned out great! Oh, and I couldn’t seem to figure out how you joined your boards but we ended up using a pocket hole jig to screw them altogether. That worked like a charm to keep them tightly joined! Thanks again!!

  39. Jennifer says:

    I bought our current dining room table from a thrift store for $60. It is round with 2 leaves on the side that can fold down. We are newlyweds, so I am slowly making it our home. (It is an apartment, so I am sticking to things we will take with us rather than like the kitchen cabinets or bathtub or something like that) I would really like to paint the bottom of it white (It is currently all brown) and the chairs to match, to give it a pretty, rustic, country look. I am really nervous since I have not done anything this big before, but I have a week off school and I wanna do something! Do you have any advice? I am nervous about sanding to get the right look, but I will. It looks like it’s finished and I could paint right on it, but, like I said, never done anything like this before. HELP???

    • Is it painted brown or stained brown? To get down to the wood you would need wood striper, and that is a massive taking on!

  40. Hi Brandi I’m in love with your kitchen island and was wondering where I can find the tutorial on how to build one. Thank you!

  41. How tall is your kitchen island? Is it counter height or bar height?

  42. Kari Martin says:

    Beautiful!!! I was looking at it close up and noticed that maybe you sanded areas with coarse sandpaper? The stain took very dark in those areas. You didn’t mention anything about that, so I thought I would see if that’s what you did? Also, it looks like you have a few areas that have a rough sawn look. How did you accomplish that?

    I build rustic furniture, but finishing pine is my Achilles heel!


    • I just didn’t bother sanding down the rougher areas of the wood when the wood was purchased. If I did it again, I would likely do that I think!

  43. I love this. Exactly what I have been looking for. I don’t have a large enough kitchen for an island, unfortunately, but I do have a peninsula that I can easily get three stools up to it. The other side accommodates the dishwasher and for extra space in the corner lower cabinet I have a lazy susan contraption built into the cabinet with two circular shelves so nothing is really “lost in the back” like square corner cabinet do. The door of the round cabinet is actually a square corner so when you push inward to open it it turns the lazy susan. So It gives me storage an island would. I have a small home business that I run from a sunroom I turned into a shop. I am not thrill with my check out station and when I saw your faux reclaimed island a light bulb went off in my head to make a small version of the island to put on “sliders” to it would be moveable. Living in the northwestern Montana mountains everything here is rustic and your faux reclaimed wood project is just what I need. Have you posted your tuitorial on how to make the island? I’m new to Pinterest so not knowing how to find thing again once I stumbled on to something.

  44. I just love your work! Great job! I would love to see a tutorial on how you made this beautiful kitchen island πŸ™‚

  45. Hello! I know this is an older post, but I’m hoping you can help me. I’m dying to recreate this beautiful island for my new home, so I was wondering what the size of yours is, as well as the size of the kitchen? The proportions are perfect!

    • Unfortunately I don’t have a turtorial on the island and I kick myself for that, it is one that I get asked for a lot. I no longer live in the farmhouse, so I am not able to get any information on it. I have asked anyone who does create one to write the instructions down so that I can share.

  46. Love the farm table…. Can you please list your plans for the table? We lost alot of our possessions in Superstorm Sandy and would love to make the island for our bare kitchen. Thanks so much

    • Hi there Patty, so sorry to hear you lost your posssessions in the storm. I am a bit confused not sure if you want plans for the farmhouse table or the island. The farmhouse table I can help you with, we used the online Ana White plans for the table. Here is the link to those plans. The island unfortunatel,y I do not have plans for as we made this plan ourselves and did not document what we did. Something I kick myself everyday for. I no longer live at the farmhouse but I am trying to get someone to take measurements for me, for the last few months. If I ever get them and can do I tutorial I will post it at that time.

  47. What did you use for supports?

  48. Hi – I have question about the grit of sandpaper you used. We typically finish in 220 – the pine wood takes the stain so much better. But Special Walnut is one stain we have been disappointed in (we love almost every other stain we try, both MixWax and Rustoleum). I look up the stain on Pinterest or Google, and people have wonderful results. Wondering if you recall what grits sandpaper you finished with? I would love to give Special Walnut another go-round, but not with such mixed results! Thank you – wood workers from Colorado.

    • Hi Mckenna, I am not sure of the grit of the sandpaper but I know it was a rough one. And I would have sanded the pine boards before I started putting the stain on, but I did not stain in between the coats of stain. I typically do not sand between coats when I want a rustic look. For a more finished look I would do that. Hope that helps!

  49. Nancy Greindl says:

    Hi there, thanks so much for this information! We followed your instructions and are thrilled with our faux barn board breakfast bar! Is there a way to send you some photos of ours?

  50. Angie Smith says:

    Hi there! I love your island — like everyone else on here! I so want a wooden countertop for my future island, and I noticed you used planks put together. My only concern is how clean one can keep a plank board island. I would like to use my island for baking and preparing simple meals, but I’m concerned that food will get caught inbetween the boards. I know you don’t live in that farmhouse anymore, but did you ever have problems keeping the cracks clean while you used it or did you use it for things other than food prep? Thank you so much! You did a beautiful job!

    • Hi there Angie, glad you like the island. I did use a food safe sealant on the island, howver you are correct food would get caught in the cracks. What I did to avoid this when prepping for or baking, is I had a huge cutting board that I did that work on and was able to clean that and keep the mess contained to this board. Hope that helps. Brandi πŸ™‚

  51. Hi Brandi! I was just curious as to when you guys were going to put up a tutorial on making the island??

    • Hi Hailey,

      I am not exactly sure. I no longer live in the farmhouse and regret not doing a tutorial when we fist built it. However in the next month or two I will be going back and I am going to get lots of pictures and take measurements so that I can create the tutorial. So stay tuned…

  52. Hey brandi. I love your work on this table. Totally blown away. Can you give me some details on how it was built?

    • Hi Felipe,

      I get so many requests for that information, but I am sorry to say that we did not do a tutorial for that kitchen island. A big regret of mine. I am trying to get the measurements from the current owner of the farmhouse. But even if I am able to do that, it still does not provide a step by step on how to put it together. Sorry I could not be of more help.


  53. Would you please give the details on how you built the island? I love it and would like to build one.

    • Hi Diane,

      We did not do a tutorial on the island and it is a big regret of mine. I no longer live at the farmhouse and am trying to get measurements of it, but that still would not provide a step by step of the process. Sorry πŸ™


  54. Amazing! I would much rather have this than granite!

  55. I am going to try this with a table using a whitish stain. I can’t wait. Thanks to to the author and creator and to everyone for their ideas and comments.


  1. […] kitchen island is just perfect. Β (By the way, that is NOT reclaimed wood they used. Β Brandi has a special technique which uses chains to distress and a special stain to get this look. […]

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