How to Pickle Wood

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017

How to Pickle Wood. Pickling wood is a process that makes new wood look old. This faux finish is easy to accomplish even if you have little to no experience refinishing furniture. Drastically change the look of your furniture in just a few steps with minimal damage to your pocket book.

Remove sealed finishes from wood by using sand paper or steel wool. Wipe any residue from the wood using a tack cloth.

Remove paint from the wood if you want it to have a natural look. Use paint stripper to remove old paint.

Purchase pickling stain from a hardware store. Make pickling stain by adding one cup of water or paint thinner to one quart of primer paint. Mix well.

Lightly dip the paint brush in the stain. Brush it on the wood following the pattern of the grain.

Let the stain sit for a few minutes. Use a dry cloth to wipe off the stain. The stain should just accent the natural grain of the wood and not completely change the finish.

Let the pickled wood dry overnight. Apply a varnish or polyurethane finish to the wood to protect it.


Use water to thin latex paint and paint thinner to thin alkyd. Always use a dry part of the cloth when wiping the satin off or you will put more stain on the wood.


Alkyd primer requires solvent or turpentine for clean up. Paint in a well ventilated area.

About the Author

This article was written by a professional writer, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more, see our about us page: link below.