Weather your own wood using products from your pantry. Combine tea, coffee or vinegar with steel wool to make a homemade stain.
Do you want a weathered wood look but don't love the cost of pre-weathered boards? With a few simple ingredients, you can give your project the rustic, antique distressed wood look you have been searching for.
This article shows you how to create weathered wood with tea, coffee, apple cider vinegar and real steel wool. And don't forget tips on how to achieve the design you want without spending a lot of money. Let's dive in and see how these pantry staples can help you accomplish an aged wood look you've always wanted!
While I love the look of weathered wood, I don't think anyone has the time to sit and wait for it to actually become weathered. If you love this weathered look too then I have a few fun and simple solutions for you! And the best part? No more buying expensive stain or creating a huge mess with stain that won't come out if it is spilled. You can make your own DIY wood stain using simple items that you use in your home everyday!
Supplies Needed to Stain Wood
Most of these items will already be in your kitchen cupboard and should not require additional purchasing! However, a couple of these supplies like your steel wool pad can be bought at Home Depot, Lowe's or your local hardware store.
To make your own wood stains, you will need:
- Black tea or coffee
- Apple cider vinegar
- Steel wool, grade #000, cut into chunks
- Mixing jars or a mason jar
- Paint brushes - I also love to use a chip brush
- Unfinished wood - I would also use some scrap wood to test pieces with the colors first, in order to see which homemade wood stain you like best.
- Wear gloves to prevent stained fingers, if needed
Video Tutorial for Staining Wood
How to Stain Wood with Pantry Products
Staining Wood With Tea - Gray Stain
Tea and wood both contain tannin, a natural substance present in plants and wood. When the tannin and acids in the tea and wood combine you get a chemical reaction that produces the color change. A strong black tea will create a nice brownish-gray stain.
Begin by steeping your tea for at least 1 ½ days. Your tea will get darker each day you let it sit.
Brush the tea mixture across the raw wood, using long strokes. Try not to miss any spots or it will be noticeable after it dries. If you do miss spots, a second coat will be able to help cover it up.
Let your wood completely dry before adding another coat, if desired. If you want a darker color, you will need to add at least one more coat.
Using a new brush, brush a layer of your apple cider vinegar mixture across the wood as the final step, allowing it to react with the tannins in the wood and create the stained effect. See the step below for creating the vinegar solution.
Apple Cider Vinegar Stain - Warm Brown Look
Use apple cider vinegar and steel wool to create a warm brownish-red hue. This will be a very rich color.
To make this apple cider wood stain, first pour a couple cups of vinegar into a jar. Then, cut up a few chunks of the steel wool and add it to the glass jar of vinegar. Stir the mixture, then allow it to sit and react for a minimum of ten hours. The longer this steel wool and apple cider vinegar stain sits, the darker it will become.
Let your wood completely dry before adding another coat, if desired. It will darken as it dries!
Staining Wood With Coffee - Dark Brown Look
For a dark brown DIY stain, use coffee or instant coffee. First, mix up your coffee and water, then allow it to sit for a couple days.
Brush your first coat of coffee across the wood with long, even strokes. The coffee will be a noticeable darker stain when first applied and get darker the longer it sits. Let your wood completely dry before adding more coats to give a darker stain.
Next step, brush your vinegar steel wool stain mixture across the wood as the final coat, allowing it to react with the tannins in the wood and create the stained effect.
After allowing for the appropriate dry time, you can see the final color of the tea, coffee and apple cider vinegar mixtures. A light coating of the solutions will give you an end result that is more of an aged look.
Use these beautiful stains to refinish your furniture instead of store-bought wood stains. You will save money and be able to customize your own wood look for your project.
Creating faux weathered wood is an easy way to add a rustic charm to any home decor project. No matter what kind of project you’re working on, if you want to add a touch of character and age to your finish, household products are a great substitute! Tea, coffee, apple cider vinegar, and steel wool are all great ingredients for achieving weathered wood.
These four ingredients contain acids and tannins that will react with the wood when applied, resulting in subtle tones and a unique vintage finish. By following a few simple steps, you can create a beautiful stained wood piece that even the most experienced woodworker would be proud of. So go ahead, experiment, and see what finishes you can create – you won’t be disappointed!
Not a fan of dark weathered wood? See this alternate option on how to create weathered white wood.
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