Staining is a popular way to enhance, reinvent or re-imagine your wood furniture and other wooden projects. It is used for a number of purposes such as to add color, to highlight a grain, or to darken the wood. Wood stains can help emphasize details or designs of wooden furniture. Staining can make furniture look completely new.
Wood stains come in a variety of colors and types. When looking for a wood stain, you might be surprised to find sundry options. But who said you need to buy one? You can actually create your own DIY Wood Stain – and you can do it at home.
Basic Components of Wood Stain
Basically, all commercial wood stain products consist of three components: a base solution, dyes, and pigments. The base determines whether it uses water or oil in its solution. The dyes give color to the stain and the pigments are what attached on the wood.
Wood stains come in standardized colors that range from light to dark hue. These products come in ready-mix containers and allow you to easily apply onto your wood furniture and projects. These commercial wood stains use natural and synthetic dyes and pigments.
But here’s a secret, you can actually find natural wood stain components right at your home. You can prepare your own homemade wood stains with natural-earth pigments such as coffee stain, lime, tea, black raspberry stain, vinegar, walnut-hull powder, and more.
If you want to prepare your own wood stain color but don’t have time to look around your home, you can also mix wood stains using custom pigment mixers and makers available over the internet.
Simple, DIY Wood Stain Recipes
Most of the time, commercial wood stain products are limited to a few standard options. The beauty of homemade wood stains is that it allows you to create unique stain quality that suits your design preference. You can choose whether to lighten up or darken the stain to achieve your desired final look.
Here we take a look at some natural wood stains.
1. Coffee stain
If you want a deeper, darker stain, coffee is your best bet. Simply brew coffee granules. Add water depending on how strong you want the stain. Allow the coffee mixture to cool off; then use rag or brush to apply it onto the wood. To achieve darker staining, allow the coffee to sit longer on the wood. After ten minutes, wipe away excess coffee or granules. You can apply several layers until you get the desired color.
2. Tea stain
Perfect for dark wood, tea stain gives off a light stain that highlights wood grains. To make one, boil two cups of water and add tea leaves into it. Continue boiling until you get a deep tea concentrate. Add tea leaves depending on the level of stain you want to achieve. Lightly brush the hot tea water onto your wood until it is completely coated and stained. You can try different tea leaves to find the shade you prefer.
3. Black raspberry
If you are looking for a reddish, dark stain, go for this mixture. Collect black raspberries and cleanse them. Completely crush the raspberry until the stain oozes out of its sac. Rub the berry pulp onto the wood and leave it there for a few hours. Once it has completely dried up, wipe away the dried out pulp. Take note that direct sunlight can cause the stain to fade away, so use this recipe only for indoor wood projects.
4. Walnut hulls
Black walnut hulls can produce dark wood stain. Soak walnut hulls for several days until the water changes color. You can also boil the hulls to make it easier to release its stain. Remove the hull and strain the mixture before using it. Use paintbrush to apply your homemade wood stain onto your furniture.
5. Vinegar plus pennies
Acid plus any metal object results in a chemical reaction that you can use as DIY wood stain. Prepare a glass of white vinegar or lemon juice. Add a metal object such as pennies in it, and let it sit for a week. This will produce a pale, bluish mixture perfect for your wood projects.
6. Apple cider vinegar plus steel wool pad
As with the previous recipe, place a steel wool pad in a glass of apple cider vinegar. Allow it to sit for about a day. This gives off a rich reddish stain that you can use to stain wood.
7. Vinegar, tea and metal
If you want a deep black stain, try trio: white vinegar, tea, and a metal object. Let the mixture stand for a couple of days and you’ll see the chemical reaction. You can add salt to speed up the process and intensify the black color. It’s perfect for adding stain on wood details and fixtures. It also gives of an almost permanent staining, so make sure you try it first before finally applying on any wood surface.
8. Vinegar plus rusty nail
This combination results in a reddish shade. To make this mixture, simply soak rusty nails in a glass of white vinegar. The acetic acid of the vinegar dissolves the iron compounds in rusty nail, hence, the color. Allow it to stand for a longer time to get the bright red shade.
Tobacco gives off a beautiful brown stain when soaked in water and ammonia mixture. In a glass container, prepare equal amounts of water and ammonia. Mix well and add tobacco sticks. Let the mixture sit for hours. Once the color bleeds out, strain off some of the liquid and brush it onto the wood.
10. Onion skins
Onion skin produces a nice yellow color. When applied to wood, it results in warm amber to pale yellow. Simply soak onion skins in warm water and let it stand for a few hours.
Using Natural Wood Stain
When using DIY wood stain, you need to try it first on a piece of scrap wood. Never apply it directly on the furniture or wood project. However, make sure that the sample scrap wood is the same or look the same as your intended wood. Aside from letting you see the result, it enables you to apply several coats to see how the shade deepens and changes. Try it onto your sample and find out how many layers you need to achieve the desired effect.
See how the stained wood changes in color after the stain dries up or after a few days or weeks. Natural wood stains are often unstable so expect some changes after some time. You might want to consider using a clear sealant to coat the stain and make it last longer.
Lastly, be sure to mix the right amount of wood stain to cover your project. It can be very difficult to achieve the exact shade if you will make several batches. So, it best to estimate the amount of stain you’ll need before you stain your woods.