Natural Wood Stains | Kitchen Products That Add Color To Your Woodworking

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Do you like staining wood but hate breathing the chemical fumes? Here are five natural wood stains you can find in your kitchen that really work!

I tested each on a red oak board and a pine board. Oak accepts stains really well, but pine is less expensive and more readily available. Staining pine can cause blotching. You can minimize this by applying a sealer such as shellac before staining.

Natural wood stains on oak and pine.
Natural wood stains on oak and pine.

Coffee

To make the coffee stain, I poured boiling water over coffee grounds and let them soak for a couple hours. Then I strained the grounds with a coffee filter and collected the liquid.

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I applied the stain with a soft rag. The first application doesn’t color the wood very much. Let it dry, then apply another coat of coffee. It took about three applications before the wood really started to darken.

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natural stains coffee

Tea

I made the tea stain the same way as the coffee: just poured boiling water over tea bags, again making a strong brew. The nice thing about tea bags is that they make great applicators!

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natural stains tea

Wine

I figured red wine would easily stain wood. As it turns out, it took three applications to slightly tint the wood. I like it, but it’s not the deep red you see in wine barrels. That is probably only achieved from lengthy periods of soaking the wood.

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natural stains wine

Beets

Beets turned out to be a great wood stain! Boil them about an hour and a half then drop them in a blender with a little water and blend them into a thick puree. I tried thinning and straining it into a juice, but it didn’t stain the wood as easily. Just wipe on the puree and wipe it off with a dry towel With only two applications I got a gorgeous red tint on the wood.

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natural stains beets

Turmeric

I know from cooking Indian food that turmeric stains everything it touches! Drop a little of the spice on the countertop and it will not wash off. It’s almost impossible to even wash it out of bowls used for cooking.

And as it turns out, it is a awesome wood stain! I found than it works best to mix it with just a little water and wipe it over the wood. The result is quite striking, leaving the wood an almost neon yellow! I applied it twice, but really just one application seems sufficient.

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natural stains turmeric

 

14 COMMENTS

  1. Fabric dye works great and provides some interesting results as it fades over time. My blue desk, stained with Navy Blue Rit fabric dye has faded to a unique blueish, brown-green.

  2. Try shredding steel wool and putting it in a jar with white vinegar, leave it overnight and then give it a good shake. Meanwhile stain some wood with strong tea, let it dry thoroughly, and then apply the steel wool and vinegar solution. The tannin in the tea reacts with the solution and ‘ages’ the wood beautifully.

  3. Great video and I love the Tumeric coloring. Have not tried these natural stain ideas, but I will give it a try. I definitely like how this adds another homemade dimension to a project.

    Just curious, since these are coming straight from an organic source, will they break down or decompose with time or sunlight? I realize there is some breakdown even with commercial products, but was just wondering about these coming straight from natural sources, without any processing or refinement.

    This is one reason I like to choose exotics for smaller projects because they come with a variety of colors already. But exotics are expensive if you plan to use them for larger projects.

  4. FYI. Every says to use sawdust with glue for a crack/gap filler Mix your old drycoffee grounds with clear epoxy it looks like walnut. Paprika or turmeric works well also

  5. Natural stains like this are rarely colorfast. If you check the colors in a few months they may well have changed substantially, especially if exposed to sunlight. This is why old stain recipes always call for a mordant. I don’t know how it would work for the stains you tried, but a mordant that works with many organic dyes is an iron nail. Drop a bit of iron into the hot liquid and let it soak. You may need to keep the liquid hot for a while for it to work well.

  6. I tried using coffee and tea and it worked great. My only issue was that it was a pretty weak and pale finish. I could have avoided this by using a more concentrated blend of coffee and tea, rather than just the drinkable versions.
    Otherwise, great article and video!

  7. I have used balsamic vinegar to get an oak style stain.
    For a green stain, try and boil nettles. then strain and cool.

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