Friday, September 6, 2013

Homemade Wood Stain

In my quest to age some clothespins to go with my vintage photo frame, I finally discovered the trick. 'Twas not easy, my friends. No indeed. Another painful process for me. 

Don't be a fun way, I mean!

But seriously. Who comes up with this stuff, and why have I not heard about it sooner?? Sarah and I totally could have used this to make our pallet shelves! But then we wouldn't have that story to tell, so it's all good.

For those of you who haven't heard...

You can make a natural stain from 2 little ingredients. 

Well, plus some coffee. No. Stop it. You can't drink this coffee.

Here's what you need:
  • Vinegar 
  • Steel wool 
  • Brewed coffee (or tea)
  • Glass jar with lid

I used white vinegar, but apple cider will give a more brown color I've heard. 

FYI: craft stores don't sell steel wool. They may glare at you and think you are stupid for asking. Golly lady! It was just a question!

Get steel wool at the hardware store. They don't look at you like you're crazy. The stuff I bought was grade two, but the finer mesh it is the quicker it will break down in the vinegar. (I didn't realize that until after I bought a whole huge package.)

Once you get your goodies home, take one of the steel pads and tear it apart a little.

Squish it down into your glass jar (I used a pint size) pour the vinegar on top and cover completely.

Otherwise you'll get this chemical reaction called rust. And as my husband put it, "Um, that safe? Rust and steel? What if you cut yourself?! Maybe you should wear gloves..."

Good point. Always looking out for me, that one is!

Morale of trial #1: You don't want rust. 

Cover your steel wool completely.

What I got hung up on was the fact that the vinegar stayed clear. I mean, come on! Isn't stain supposed to be dark??

This is not.

It stays clear.

Got it?

Just making sure. 

Oh and it bubbles. That's normal.

After that just let your little mixture sit over night at least. The longer it sits the stronger the stain, as I understand it. Mine sat there for several days because I got busy doing more important things like decorating for fall.


But then on a lovely rainy day, it was time to tackle the project.

So then go ahead and take out the steel wool. Discard. 

Brew a cup of coffee. Maybe two so you can drink one.

Basically what the coffee or tea does is give it more of a brown color versus the gray. You are more than welcome to just use vinegar if that's the color you're going for. There are all sorts of crazy combinations you can do with this stuff!

Now lay out whatever wood you are staining. Um...make sure the area you are working on is covered.

Sorta kinda accidentally stained parts of my cutting board. Ahem.

First paint on the coffee mixture. Let dry.

Then pain on a coat of the vinegar stain.

Let it dry and watch the magic begin! It darkens the longer it sits so don't get super antsy and keep painting.  

A couple of the concoctions I ended up playing with. Definitely loved the coffee and vinegar look the best. And oh so easy.

Now go try it and age some wood! Just remember that you are playing with chemical reactions. Be safe and probably smarter than I was. I'm sorry, but I will not be responsible for what happens to you. Especially if you grow an extra eyeball. Or whatever.


In order to protect myself from people who might take any information I have written out of context or use it in any way I do not intend...I must say the following: I am NOT a doctor. I take no responsibility for what you do or not do with any information I have written. My opinions and writings should not take the place of a  doctor...consult one of those if you need medical advice. Pretty much...please use common sense and I strongly suggest you do your own research as well. It's empowering!

1 comment:

  1. Lol! Gotta watch out for those extra eyeballs. :) But the stain sure looks nice.


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