Creating the Cabin in the Woods

Imagine you are making a movie and you want to use an old wooden cabin as one of your main locations.

An old cabin is hard to find….oh I have an Idea!!!

Let’s build it!!!!

On The Out of the Woods Project, we did this very thing. In the script, our main character, Will, wakes up alone in the middle of a strange wood and stumbles across an empty cabin. We needed a cabin that we could film all angles, both interior and exterior, and stand on its own.

After some time looking for the right aged wood, we weren’t able to find any in the quantity and quality we needed.

So we decided to do it ourselves.

We bought and found plenty of fresh wood and scoured the internet trying to find the best way to age wood.

After much experimenting we came across a method that worked for us and are privileged to share it with you all now!

What you will need is:

3 cups Coffee Grounds

1 bottle Vinegar

Water

1 tbl Black Paint (optional for a darker stain)

1 cup Nails

The wood you will need to build the cabin or aged wooden structure

Step 1: Put on the thick cleaning gloves.

This is because the mixture creates a chemical reaction, which left one of our team members with a burning sensation for a good part of a day.  

Step 2: Mix the coffee grounds, nails, vinegar together in no particular order.

The reason you use vinegar is because it has a chemical reaction with the wood which helps the aging liquid stay better.

Our construction supervisor added nails to the mixture because even though they do not affect the stain of the wood they help the aging liquid stick to the nails that we used to put the cabin together.

The fresh wood we bought came printed with the stores logo, so we added a teaspoon of red paint at this point to cover that. We also did this, because some of the wood we got came pre-painted green and it helped the wood be more neutral coloured.

You can also add the black paint into the mixture at this point to make the stain darker.

Once all the ingredients are mixed together, they will slightly separate, leaving the coffee and nails on the bottom with the rest on top.If you’re wanting a darker stain on the wood, mix the paint brush towards the bottom of the bucket with the coffee and nails and this will get the wood much darker.

Step 3: Do a test coat

What we did is we grabbed a few different scrap pieces and experimented with them until we got the look we wanted without damaging the actual set for the cabin itself.

Be sure to paint evenly or, like us, you will find that it will dry splotchy.

If you want an even darker look, let the first coat dry then evenly apply another layer.

When you have found the right look look you can move on.

Step 4:  Paint the wood you need aged.

Make sure you are painting evenly so that the aged look is consistent throughout.   

Step 4: Let it dry.

This is a very important step because it allows the wood to actually soak up all the liquid and gets it to a place where you can use it on set, aka the real reason you were making it.

We found it best to have the wood dry on an even clean area. Even, so that the liquid does not spread and make the ageing uneven and clean so that nothing causes a mark as it dries.

Then…

Tadaaa!! You have aged wood, perfect for use in your short or feature film!

Our whole crew, who spent many long days in the sun building and aging the cabin, really enjoyed the process, as it wasn’t just something we could throw all the money in the world at. We had to use our creativity to make a dream come alive.

Like the old adage says “A little creativity goes a long way”

May your journey of creating, and wood aging, be just as productive as ours!

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