How to Stain Cedar and a Rustic Table Top Design

While working on a construction project for an upcoming wedding we quickly realized how difficult it is to naturally weather or stain wood.  Nick is building a washed wall with some cool embellishments but we needed a weathered look for our shingle shake to look authentic. We’d been working with all sorts of elements to try to reach the desired effect we’re looking for, but hit a wall until we stumbled upon this blog post from a crafter who was in need of the same effect. Tadah! We loved the result so got to work. Our cedar shake is now nice and weathered so we gave this a try on some wooden fence slats we had stored away, with an idea in mind for another bash. {See the DIY after these photos.}

Anchor your table with a breezy piece of muslin fabric {around $2/yard}. It’s easy to wash or to toss post-gathering. Then start the layering process with just a few key elements.

Doesn’t the plank make for a beautiful statement piece? We love using simple bistro glasses on even the most fanciful of table tops. They lend such a nice balance. Our vintage French scalloped plates take center stage. Starting with a neutral palette lends a nice natural ambiance.

A mixture of Provençal linens we plucked from a vendor in the South of France and Aleah’s grandmother’s vintage handkerchiefs {we have dozens – they’re such a treasure!} create a charming, intentionally mismatched look that’s just beautiful.

The rest of our table is filled in with yogurt, fresh fruits and nuts, apples atop place settings and vintage print press stamps as place holders.

Simple over sized leaves in bistro glasses filled with water make for a great centerpiece in a snap.

you’ll need apple cider vinegar | grade #0 steel wool | gloves

Soak your steel wool in the vinegar for a few hours.

Brush the apple cider vinegar onto the wood {wearing gloves} in broad strokes, making sure the board is entirely damp. Let it dry and….

…you have a transformation! Quite the difference, right? We’ll be using these wooden fence slats in a fall dinner party in a field in Washington and we can’t wait. They’ll add such a touch of curiosity and rustic flair. Just be sure to test the wood’s reaction before you stain a permanent fixture as all of our slats reacted with a different shade and tone.

Photos and designs by Valley & Co.

How would you utilize these funky rustic slats?


  1. Kevin says

    These slats look awesome! I’m currently building a table out of cedar and was just curious if I was using the same cedar as you? What kind are you using?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *