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How to Make Faux Weathered Wood Shelves

We had several goals when we started working on the bathroom renovation… increase from one to two sinks, get rid of the wallpaper and replace the peeling linoleum floors… to name a few. However, there is another goal that is always on my “to do” list and that is to increase storage.

In the end, our home needs to be functional! A pretty room without storage or function may be great for a photo shoot; but not for daily life with a family. This small 60 Sq Ft bathroom is no exception. As we renovate, we are also increasing our storage and functionality in the room.

Shelves are an obvious way to add storage in almost any space and it’s one of the ways we are maximizing storage in this bathroom. We gave them a faux weathered look to coordinate with some of the other elements in the room {like the vanity, which you can see here}.

The secret to that weathered, not-too-solid stain…


This was a Behr Solid Stain we had purchased as a sample for our old deck {before we chose to use Restore}. Initially I rubbed it directly onto the untreated shelf boards {these cheap $4 ones, from IKEA} and it was too dark, and too solid. A semi-transparent stain may have performed better; but I didn’t have one on hand in the the right shade.

I left the project for a few days to try to decide how to get the right look, without investing more money. It occurred to me, since it was a water-based stain,  that I may be able to just dilute it. And it worked beautifully:

Not only did the diluted stain give it that “weathered” look but increasing/decreasing how much water I dipped on the rag would give the stain variation in color. This was the 3 boards after one coat.

// after 1 coat //

I felt the coverage was still a little light in some spots, so I went back with a second coat. Again, I varied the amount of water on my cloth so that the stain would be heavier in some areas and lighter in others.

// after 2 coats //

In the bathroom, the shelves are paired with these $3 brackets from IKEA. Instead of matching them to the stained shelves, I gave them a coat of white paint to match the walls.

This lets the shelves shine and takes up less visual space since the brackets blend into the background. Plus, I’ve been wanting to try out the two-tone look for awhile now!

Now it’s time to load them up with bathroom essentials!

This was a pretty easy project… hanging the shelves was another story 😉 If only our walls were actually straight…

Have you ever watered down stain? How did it go?

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Craftivity Designs

Wednesday 8th of October 2014

Thanks, Kristina :)

Kristina Sinclair

Tuesday 7th of October 2014

Saw you at TDC linky party. Your shelves look fantastic and I too love the wood contrasting with the white brackets. Well done!

Craftivity Designs

Thursday 17th of July 2014

I'm sorry I took awhile to respond, we've been traveling a bunch over the last month and I had to track down the can. The color is Behr Padre Brown, we had it mixed in the Solid Color Weatherproofing Stain. This was a few years ago, so I hope the color/stain info is all still part of the Behr line. I don't have a recommendation for a sealer, sorry. We just left our shelves unsealed since water shouldn't really be an issue in their location. Thanks!