DIY Faux Elm Stool Tutorial | How To Age Wood Tutorial

Have you noticed these types of benches or stools popping up in decor lately? I have been loving them and was lucky enough to find one for a steal, under $70. But, I've been wanting to actually make one ever since. May not be old or antique...or vintage, but I knew I could make it look like that! 
Instead of building one, I saved some time and decided to grab a stool I find at the thrift store all the time. This stool was $8... a little high truthfully for a thrift store find, but I was glad to take it. I grabbed the worse for ware one there was available. Here's the before: 
Do you remember those from the early 2000s? I swear almost every house I went into had some either at their table or island! Let's change this ugly thing into something of beauty! 

Step 1:
I sanded what I could. This varnish was thick! It had taken some time, and was a bit difficult to get the legs, so that lead me to the next step. I used a low grit to help completely strip the paint.
Step 2: 
I used a paint stripper to finish the rest. This was so much faster and save my hands from sanding. It did the job for the most part.
Step 3:
I then went back to sanding to get the rest of the black off, especially in the corners and joints. It was easier at this point to use just a sheet of paper. 
Step 4:
I then took a hammer and started pounding the heck out of the sides with the end. I chipped away at various areas...some more than others to get the worn look. 
Not shown, was the use of a jigsaw on some parts! I was able to make the straighter sides not so obviously straight therefore making it look a bit older.

Here's the after at this point:
 I then went a couple of steps further, sorry, also not shown! You can see all the steps in the video below. These next steps are

Step 5: 
I used dark walnut by Minwax on the whole thing, in as light of a coat as I could. 

Step 6: 
I then sand the whole thing again back to it's original wood. This kept the worn areas a little darker to give it a more aged appearance.

Using the jigsaw, I was able to cut into the top piece a bit to give it a cracked looked. Here's a close up to show the wear I created along with how the staining helped.
I love how this turned out and the character it adds! You can use it as a stool, because it's still really sturdy! I'm using it here as a side table. If I didn't need the storage in my bedroom, I would use it as a nightstand for sure! I love how this turned out to look just like an old vintage elm stool. 

I'm going to warn you though, this project requires a lot of sanding! ha! It was worth it considering if I bought one off of ebay or etsy ... or even an antique store, I would be paying over $200. 


happy DIYing! Alicia