One of the things I have been doing a lot of since moving into our new home, is coming up with ways to stretch my home renovation and decor budget. We recently went from two incomes to one and it has definitely taken some getting used! So with my limited budget, I have to get creative. And can I let you in on a secret? I don’t mind at all! Penny pinching is my specialty 🙂 Lets get on to the distressed wood beam mantel!
(Affiliate links are provided below for convenience. For more information see my disclosure, here.)
I knew that a perfectly aged, beautifully weathered, reclaimed wood beam mantle was probably going to be out of our price range. And unfortunately, being new to the area, we weren’t lucky enough to have any connections that could hook us up with a 100 year old barn to rummage through to find our own.
That’s when I came up with the idea to do a little DIY to get the distressed wood beam mantel look! Below is my step by step process to make a brand new piece of wood look perfectly distressed!
- 4″ x 10″ 6ft long wood board from local hardware/lumber store
- Any and every tool you have lying around (hammer, screws, hatchet – anything that would leave marks in the wood)
- Miniwax Stain in Dark Walnut
- Paint brush
- Miniwax Wipe-On Poly Finish in Clear
- An old rag
How to get the distressed wood look:
First, I sanded down all of the fresh cut edges. I wanted everything to look old and weathered so I didn’t hold back with the sanding. I used both medium and fine sandpaper strips to mix up the look and to keep it from looking too uniform. Next came the fun part! To get the distressed wood look, I grabbed any and every tool I thought would leave a nice imprint on the wood. I went to town on distressing! (this would be a good project for a day when you need to blow off some steam 😉 ). My favorite part was using a hatchet to chop out a few areas along the sides and corners to give it an authentic looking wear. Make sure to distress the wood at random, leaving marks all over. You really can’t mess this part up.
The wood looked like this when the distressing was finished:
The next step was staining. Dark Walnut is my stain of choice, but any color would work. (I loved this color so much, I used it on the DIY wood plank accent wall in our master bedroom. After the first coat, it needed to dry for about 15 minutes. After drying, the excess stain needed to be wiped away with an old rag. On the second coat, I really focused on the edges and corners of the wood. This gave it an uneven coloring to add to the weathered look. Once it looked how I wanted, I sealed it with clear wipe-on poly and let that dry overnight.
(I got a little too excited during my staining process and forgot to take pictures! But here are some closeup pictures from after the mantel was hung that shows the distressing after the stain was applied)
I let my husband know the next morning that the distressed wood beam mantel was ready to be hung on the fireplace. Being the amazing guy that he is, he jumped right on it! After it was installed, I sat back and admired my beautiful rustic mantel. See how I decorated it for Christmas in this post! 🙂
There ya go, a DIY distressed wood beam mantel. To say I’m happy with how it turned out would be quite the understatement. You can view the completed fireplace project here! You won’t believe the before and afters! Looking for more DIY inspo? See how I used this same distressing process on our DIY blanket ladder!