Aged and vintage wood pieces bring charm and visual interest to a space. Worn wood patinas make a space feel warm and lived-in, especially when added to an otherwise formal or minimalist space. Though truly vintage wooden pieces are expensive, you can add a patina to wooden pieces at home. You may distress new-looking furniture to give it character, or add a patina to a dated piece to turn tacky into vintage.
Move your wood piece into a well-ventilated area with plenty of space for you to move around. You'll be working with some rather noxious products, so you should either work outdoors or work with all the windows open.
Sand your piece roughly to remove most of the shiny finish. This not only gives your piece a worn and aged appearance, it also opens up the raw wood under the finish for your patina. Pay special attention to the corners and edges of your piece.
Mix about 1 cup of oil-based wood stain with about ¼ cup each of paint thinner and pure boiled linseed oil. Darker stains such as mahogany, burnt sienna and cherry work well for creating a patina finish.
Paint your entire piece with the stain, concentrating on the sanded areas. Wait about 10 minutes and wipe away the excess stain. The sanded areas should be slightly lighter than the rest of the piece. Allow the piece to cure for at least 36 hours.
Varnish the piece to seal the sanded areas and let it dry overnight. Sand the distressed areas with fine paper to make them smooth and blend them into the original finish. Apply a second coat of varnish and let the piece cure for 24 hours.