To distress wood, roughen the surface with gravel, stab the surface with an awl, scuff the edges with a file, sand the painted areas, and file the metal hardware. This one-hour project requires a board, gravel, a mallet, an awl, a wood file and sandpaper.
- Roughen the surface with gravel
Place a handful of coarse gravel on the wood, cover it with a board, and hit the board repeatedly with a mallet. If the wood can be laid on the ground and is large enough to walk on, walk across the board to grind the gravel into the surface. This creates gouges and makes the wood appear older.
- Stab the wood with an awl
Stab the wood with an awl to create the appearance of worm holes.
- Sand the surface
Sand the surface of the wood with coarse sandpaper. Use light strokes so you do not accidentally remove too much paint.
- Scuff the edges
Scuff the edges of the wood with a coarse file, and then hit it with the bottom end of the file. Inspect the edges and corners. They should be round, rough and uneven.
- Sand the hardware
Rub metal hardware with sandpaper or the wood file. The metal should look scratched and slightly pitted. Do not leave any of the hardware appearing shiny or new.