Grey Wash Wood Finish

Welcome to day two of Barn Door Week at AKA Design! Yesterday we gave you a materials list for the whole barn door project and today we will show you how to get the aged grey wash wood finish  – no matter what type of wood you use!


To get the look of old barn wood – without the high price tag – I gave pallet wood a grey wash wood finish for our DIY Barn Door. Here’s how I got that great aged look…



  • 2″ x 6″ x 48″ long wood qty=15
  • Minwax Dark Walnut stain
  • light grey latex paint
  • water
  • sandpaper
  • foam brush
  • lint free rag


1. Sand each piece of wood. Get rid of any rough patches but keep any character marks like knots, stamps and such. These look really amazing after this finish.

staining wood

2. Using a foam brush apply Dark Walnut stain going with the grain to wood in a well-ventilated area. Let sit for 5 minutes. Wipe off excess stain with a lint free cloth or rag. Repeat on all sides for each piece. Let dry.

3. Mix a small amount of  light grey latex paint and water into a plastic cup. This will be a light grey-wash. I used a mixture of about 1 part paint to 4 parts water, using CIL Stratosphere mixed into Sherwin Williams paint. Honestly I just had it mixed into one of their “lower quality” sample pots, but I found it worked just fine. Using a foam brush apply to each piece of wood over dry stain. This will lighten the wood and give it an aged appearance. Repeat on all sides for each piece. Let dry.

Now you should have gorgeous aged barn board looking wood – for your own barn door or another project!

Click on the links below to be taken to each step to build your own DIY Barn Door and DIY Barn Door Track That Won’t Break the Bank!

  1. Instructions for Grey Wash Wood Finish (YOU ARE HERE!)
  2. Pipe Fitting Handle Instructions 
  3. Sliding Barn Door Plans 

Or click here for our original Upcycled Barn Door Reveal.

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  1. 5

    LauraKayHa says

    What is CIL Stratosphere? I love this idea, but am still confused about the paint part. Light grey paint… How light is light?

  2. 8


    Do you recommend Sherwin paints, or are Ben moore paints latex as well? I only ask bc i have a little light grey BM paint left over that i can put to use. :) -kelli

  3. 10


    Thanks Shannon! The table is looking great so far, waiting for my stain to dry. Did you wax the wood after with a protective finish? I have clear AS wax, but wanted to make sure you dont have a better recommendation (like a poly) as it is a coffee table top. Thanks!

  4. 12

    Sam says

    I love the way your door turned out. So far I followed your steps by staining with the Minwax dark walnut, but it turned the wood greenish!! What should I do? I want to steer back into the grey/brown direction like you have. Any recommendations?

    • 13


      Hi Sam. My guess is the wood was either a little damp or had green undertones to it already. Maybe try some Minwax gray stain. It has slightly blue undertones that may counter the green enough. Or maybe even a little white wash pickling which has even more blue undertones. Either may work – but I can’t promise. Each piece of wood is going to pull a little different undertones.

  5. 14

    Dustin says

    Shannon question. I’ve followed all steps. Am just applying cil stratosphere final coat with a foam brush. I diluted 4 parts to 1 but am finding the planks look almost white? Will I be lightly sanding at the end to bring back out the dark? Or should I be diluting more?

      • 16


        I’m so sorry Aimee and Dustin! I missed Dustin’s original comment somehow. :(

        Basically yes, it looks rather white initially but dries much less white. You could always add more water and if you don’t like it when it dries, just redo it. It’s only paint!

  6. 20


    My table is already a whitewash finish and I want to make it a grey wash finish. Hoping that some of the grain would show thru for different tones in the wood. If I just sand it all down can I follow your steps to give me the look of the barn door? Also what grade of sandpaper should I use? Also would I wax the table after any of the steps or should I put a poly coat on instead? Thank you so much this will be my very first project!

    • 21


      The First Project! How fun! I can’t really predict how it will look, but with paint the worst that can happen is you have to sand it and try again. You can wax a table, sure. But I prefer poly for dining room tables because of messy kids! (I’m kinda clutsy too!) Enjoy your project!

    • 22


      Thanks Shannon for your advice. I should have explained that I am using a water base stain. Dark walnut first then
      I applied a weathered grey. My family did not like the white wash inbetween the two so I had to redo three of the table legs.
      I just feel that with those two stains it needs something else. What you see is the dark walnut background and the weathered grey stain has taken over the grain. I was trying to get more of a real weathered look. Do I need to sandpaper it lightly and apply something else? Any suggestions? Thanks!

      • 23


        It’s really tough for me to say not seeing it. There are only a couple of ways to get a really weathered look. You have to beat the heck out of the wood. And you have to layer, layer, layer. Our coffee table for example has nine layers of stain and wash to get it looking old. Or you need to go the route of steel wool in vinegar, which I personally haven’t tried. And then there’s my blog friends company I hope something helps you get the look you really want!

  7. 26

    Netanya says

    Hi Shannon,

    I want to thank you for the great tutorial. I just finished the first of two bi-fold closet doors for my bedroom. I attached tongue and groove pine slats to the frame of my old bi-fold doors. Instead of the oil based Minwax Dark Walnut, I used Minwax Express color Walnut which is water-based. It comes in a tube. The color turned out darker than what it looks like on the tube, probably because I used a heavy hand. I used a light grey paint by Pittsburgh called “Secret Passage”, sort of ironic since these are doors. LOL.

    The final look is beautiful, sort of a cross between aged barnwood and driftwood.

    Thanks again! :)