We love doing projects with reclaimed wood, and I’d seen things like this in very high end homes and buildings and decided to try it out at home!
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We had recently taken down a large section of our privacy fence and had panels of 30 year old cedar fencing still in our backyard, dying to be used for a project! Ha! We’d seen some so-called pallet walls or reclaimed wood walls and liked the look but wanted to do something a little different. Below is one of our piles of fencing. They all looked equally this bad!
We cut down all of the wood in sections, mostly between where the original nails were in the reclaimed fencing so about 2′ long or so. We weren’t really sure how many it would take to cover the wall but we did some quick math and guessed, leaving us a few left over.
The wood was GROSS so we had to clean it. We laid it all out in the driveway and used a hydrogen peroxide based product, called Storm System Step 1 Mold & Mildew Cleaner. It worked wonderfully! We simply sprayed it on, it foamed up on contact with the mildew and then we scrubbed the reclaimed wood pieces with a deck brush and hosed it off! Look at the difference in the reclaimed wood below! You can see as it dried out it cleared right up. The product does say it could take up to 24 hours to fully lighten. We found it brightened up quite quickly but it looked even better the following day!
Amazing difference between the original reclaimed wood and the cleaned reclaimed wood, huh?!?
I then decided I would use about 6 different stains/white wash techniques on all of the wood and take about a dozen or so boards at a time. I used product I had laying around the house like various colors of stains, some toners, some semi-transparent and then a couple of latex based paints that I watered down to give the more weathered/white wash look. I set up a large craft table in my garage for about a week, covered it with plastic and did a different section of boards each night.
On the blue below, I took a latex based teal colored paint and watered it down in a cup and lightly brushed it on. Remember, this was 30 year old wood so everything I used on it soaked right in immediately! This was a fun part of the project, because I could be creative with whatever I had and if I didn’t like the look on one board, I switched and went with something completely different. There was no right or wrong!
Once all the boards were stained and stacked in the garage, it was time to design the wall and get them babies up so we could enjoy them! This part of the project definitely took two of us. We stacked all of the boards in the room, my husband fired up his air compressor and nail gun (and beat his chest! ha), and I simply told him where to place the boards and which to nail next. It wasn’t rocket science… I didn’t have some master plan in my head. He would hold one board up on the wall, I would stand back and see how it looked and if good, he would nail it. We tried to hit studs where we could but since the boards were pretty lightweight (remember, they were 30 year old boards), we weren’t overly concerned.
We added some trim along the corners so it gave it a more finished look and of course added our baseboards. The outlets had to be adjusted slightly but nothing crazy.
I painted the floor with a latex based paint and called the room good. It is now my office/craft space and I love it! As with most creative spaces, it’ll never be completely finished and will change with the seasons of life, but I absolutely love it and think the work the wall took was well worth it!
Have you done something similar? I’d love to see your pictures! Please share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Love seeing fun DIY projects like this one? Check out the shutters we made using reclaimed wood here!