How to Make Natural Wood Stain Using Coffee, Berries & More!

natural wood stain, coffee wood stain, non-toxic wood stain

If you’re looking for a non-toxic, natural wood stain, you might want to raid your kitchen. Coffee, tea, vinegar, walnut hulls and even certain berries can be used to stain wood.

5 Recipes to Make Natural Wood Stain

Tea Stain

One simple way to stain wood is to boil tea leaves in two cups of water until you have a deep tea concentrate. Simply brush the hot tea water onto your wood. Different teas will give you different shades of natural wood stain.

Coffee Stain

Brew some strong coffee and let it cool; then apply with your favorite brush or rag. Let this natural wood stain really soak the wood. It’s okay if the coffee gathers in small puddles on the wood. You’ll get a deeper stain depending on how long you let the stain sit. Check it ten minutes after application by wiping a section clean of coffee. Not dark enough for you? Let the coffee sit longer.

Natural wood stain

Making Stain from Walnut Hulls

Black walnut hulls, soaked for several days, create a dark wood stain. Strain the mixture before you use it. Some people prefer to boil the hulls first, and then allow them to steep.

Black Raspberry Natural Stain

Black raspberries are an effective natural wood stain when crushed and then rubbed onto wood. Allow the berry pulp to dry on the wood, and then wipe it away. Berry stains will fade in direct sunlight, so this method is better for wood that stays indoors.

Making Stain from Pennies

White vinegar or lemon juice works as a wood stain when you add a metal object in the mix like pennies and let it sit in a glass container for a week. A handful of pennies will produce a beautiful pale Caribbean blue stain. A wad of steel wool will give you a rich reddish hue. A combination of tea and a metal object in vinegar will produce a black stain.  Adding a bit of salt can also help increase the acidity and speed up the process.

How to Apply Natural Wood Stain

As with any untried stain, start with a piece of scrap wood. Use the same type of wood you’ll be staining, as stains can look dramatically different on different woods. Not only will this allow you to see if you like the stain, but you’ll have the opportunity to apply several coats to see how the shade changes and deepens. Keep track of how many applications it takes to get your desired result.

Keep in mind, too, that stained wood can change with age-often with attractive results, but be prepared to potentially end up with a different look later.

For stains that may be prone to fading, consider using a clear sealant on top of your stain.

Finally, make sure you make enough stain for your entire project, even if it takes several batches.  Mix the batches together before you apply because unless you are a closet Chemist, it will be very difficult to mix the ingredients in such a way as to get the exact same color again batch after batch!

For crafty folks who like to keep it natural, non-toxic wood stains from coffee, tea, vinegar, walnut hulls, penies and berries are a fun, artistic and wholesome way to decorate.


2 thoughts on “How to Make Natural Wood Stain Using Coffee, Berries & More!

  1. Soaking steel nails in vinegar for a few days and applying liquid to oak will “ebonize” the wood. The iron reacts with the tannic acid in the wood to turn it black.

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