For Natural, Non-Toxic Wood Stains, Raid the Pantry

Natural, Non-Toxic Wood StainsIf you’re looking for a natural, non-toxic wood stain, you might want to raid your pantry. Everyday items make great natural wood stains, offering beautiful colors and an artistic, wholesome way to decorate. Here are a few possibilities that await in the kitchen cupboards and produce basket.  

Tea: Boil tea leaves in two cups of water for an easy, brush-on stain. Different kinds of tea will give you different shades for staining.     

Coffee: Brew a strong pot of coffee and let it cool, then apply the java to wood with a brush or rag. Let it really soak the wood, and leave it on longer than 10 minutes for a deep, dark stain.

Black walnut hulls: Here’s an unexpected source for a rich, dark wood stain. Boil the hulls and let them steep for several days, then strain the mixture before applying to wood.

Black raspberries: Black raspberries make a beautiful, effective stain when crushed and rubbed onto wood. Allow the berry pulp to dry on the wood surface, then wipe it away. Keep in mind that this natural wood stain will fade in direct sunlight, so it’s best for indoor projects.  

Vinegar: Vinegar becomes a wood stain when you pair it with a metal object and let the combination sit in a glass container for a week. A handful of pennies will produce a soothing pale Caribbean blue, and a wad of steel wool gives you a rich reddish hue. For a black stain, combine tea, vinegar and a metal object.

Test your favorite natural stain concoction on scrap wood, noting how many applications are required to get the shade you’re after. The look of stained wood can change with age, often with attractive results, so be prepared for a truly natural evolution. Topping any finish with a clear sealant will protect it and help prevent fading over time.