Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Posted by khalianicole on 6:08 PM 5 comments
Pin It


  • Homemade wood stain using vinegar


  • Steeping a metal object in vinegar will produce enough pigment to stain wood, as will brewed coffee and tea



According to the pin I found, all you need is real steel wool and vinegar. You can use either white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Since I had plently of white distilled vinegar, I went with that. The idea is that varying metal objects will create different hues when mixed with the vinegar. The pin in question stated that steel wool alone would create a "rich reddish hue", a handful of pennies mixed with vinegar would create a "pale caribbean blue" shade, and a combination of tea and a metal object (I just used steel wool again) would create a black stain. For the vinegar based stains the instructions recommend leaving the stain in a glass container for a week for full results. So for part 1, we will just be looking at what happened on Day 1.

Allegedly, an important step to getting a good stain with the quickest results is to wash the oils off the steel wool before mixing it with the vingear. *Tip: Use gloves when doing this step. You'll notice I didn't and the fine strands of the steel wool were a tad bit sharp and irritating to my fingers.

As I was making the stains I realized LATER that the pin listed coffee and tea separately from the vinegar. All my stains in the photos below... have vinegar. So in part 2 of this review, I'll be adding the separate coffee and tea stains since those don't require any wait time. It may be interesting to see if the vinegar has any unique effects to each.

As you can see after only a few minutes both the tea (2nd one in) and the coffee (3rd one in) have already started changing color. *Side note: For the coffee, I emptied a tea bag and refilled it with coffee grounds.

After a 20 minute time lapse:

                      Steel Wool Only                             Pennies Only

              Steel Wool and Coffee Bag         Steel Wool and Tea Bag

After an hour the jar with steel wool only and the jar with pennies only has no change.

24 hours later:

So far no color change for the steel wool and the pennies. We'll see what happens in a week!

Stay tuned for Part 2.


  1. You are not creating a stain, you are creating a chemical that reacts with tannins inherent in some woods. The color of the liquid does not matter. The clear liquid will still turn wood black if the steel wool is dissolved in it. The tea and coffee should be applied to the wood to increase the surface tannins BEFORE you apply the vinegar/iron mixture. Combining them in the jar means the chemical reaction occurs in the bottle not on the wood. I am pretty sure this uses up the chemicals and weakens their affect when applied to the wood.

  2. Thank you for your comment, JonasB. The point of this post, as with all my posts, is to test out pins based on the instructions I find on Pinterest. So that's why it was done in this fashion. I am, however intrigued by your suggestion to apply the tea and coffee to the wood before the vinegar/steel wool mix. I may try that in a follow-up post!

  3. Thanks for your post Khalia,
    I am soooooooo happy to see that I am not the only one who re-creates the pins on pintrest ;) Keep us informed on how it works. I have a few projects that I need to finish up for my business, and I think I will experiment with this idea on a couple of them. Best wishes to you darling girl...

  4. I actually finished the stain project already. Check out my "Part 2" post to see the results!