Homemade Wood Stain

This Homemade Wood Stain has been my go-to for many of my projects, especially if you are looking to achieve a rustic modern look or that beachy weathered feel! 

The motivation was to stay away from any stains that were loaded with harmful/toxic ingredients. Since we will be remodeling our home I knew there would be some areas where I needed some staining work. After doing some google researching for "natural" wood stains. The closest thing that I came to was a vinegar and steel wool mixture. It was cost-efficient, easy to make, and only required 2 ingredients. I was a bit hesitant at first but if it failed, it wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg, so it was worth a shot. 


32oz Mason Jar or glass container
White Distilled Vinegar
Grade#0000 Steel Wool (fine)

Unfold a roll of steel wool and place it into the glass container and fill with distilled vinegar.
Place the cover on top, but do not tighten, it needs to breathe. 

Find a warm area like a window sill that has sunshine.

It takes about 3-7 days for this process to happen. The warmer the environment the faster it will oxidize.

What basically happens is the vinegar starts to oxidize the steel wool, creating the brown stain solution, rusty vinegar. 

Note: Always test your homemade stain on scrap pieces of wood before moving on to your project. Check to see how it reacts with different types of wood. Not all woods are created equal.  

As far as protection goes, this stain probably will not hold up in the outdoor elements. I have not tried it on any outdoor projects yet. 

And lastly, after you achieve your desired look, protect it with a clear wax finish. Again, test the clear wax on some stained scrap pieces before you apply to the project.   

-daddy dabbles

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