Antiquing Wood with Gel Stain

I bought this chest for $40 at our local Habitat for Humanity with the thought of just sanding it down and throwing a stain on it. Well when I brought it home, I realized there were a lot of deep knicks and chips in the chest. I didn't want to fill in all the holes with the potential for them to show through when I threw a stain on it. Plus, the wood was not the prettiest. So again, I just used this as an excuse to try the antiquing process I've always wanted to try!

Here are the tools you will need. (Disclaimer: these links are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you use them. THANK YOU for your support.)

All Purpose Bondo:

Metal Scraper:





Latex Gloves:


Microfiber Towel:


Chalk Paint: (I used Age Gray, but you can use whatever you want)

Antique Seal Wax:

1.) Clean your piece. Mix your water and vinegar together and thoroughly clean everything with your microfiber towel. I just used a 1:1 ratio, it does not have to be perfect.

2.) Wait for it to completely dry! If you don't wait for it to dry, the bondo may not stick as well. Patience is a virtue my friend.

3.) Put your respirator and latex gloves on and start mixing your bondo! This stuff is STRONG. Please be safe and only do this in a well ventilated environment.

The great advantage about using bondo over wood filler is that is dries SO FAST. You can start sanding in 15 minutes or so. With that being said, don't mix too much bondo together at once. If you have a lot to fill, work in smaller sections. I got ambitious and ended up having to throw a lot of bondo away because it dried too fast.

Patch all your holes. It doesn't have to be pretty.


4.) After the bondo dries, you can now sand! I used a 40 grit to start, just to get the big chunks of bondo off. (I was pretty bad at keeping it clean). Once you get the big pieces of, you can use a finer grit. I sanded the entire piece, not just the bondo.

Make sure everything is smooth. You will be able to see anything you missed in the final product. 

Thoroughly wipe everything down with a clean microfiber towel! You do not want any dust on your piece.

5.) Roll on your chalk paint! I ended up doing two coats. I used aged gray, but your really can use whatever you want. It just depends on the look you're going for. It will be the undertones, and I knew I wanted a darker tone.


6.) I know this sounds strange.. but we are now going to put polyurethane on the piece.  I don't make the rules, this is what the antique wax directions said! Put polyurethane on your entire piece. I used the matte polyurethane. 

Wait for the polyurethane to completely dry!

7.) The most satisfying part.. take your chip brush and brush on the antique wax. The idea is to make it look like wood. So make sure you are doing one continuous stroke, mimicking the look of wood.

After you have gone over your hole piece, wait for it to dry. It takes about 2 hours. I went over some areas twice, it's just your preference.

This is the final look and I am OBSESSED! (per usual)

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