Saturday, July 14, 2012

Easy DIY: Wood Stain

So I've seen a lot of tutorials about DIY wood stain, and I knew I wanted to give it a try. I just found two natural baskets for a steal and figured now is the time. {I apologize in advance, as all photos are from my iphone - my camera was missing. Brother-in-laws, what are you gonna do?}

Here are the supplies I used:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • empty jar
  • steel wool

A note about the supplies - I had the vinegar on hand. I read that apple cider vinegar creates a grey stain, and that's the result I was wanting. The steel wool came in a pack of 15 at the dollar store. It didn't say what grade it was {0000 was recommended in my reading}, but the dollar store isn't too specific in their packaging. :)

I placed the steel wool in the empty jar and covered with vinegar. I sealed the jar and left overnight. I have read that the steel wool will dissolve. Mine did not seem to at all, which is probably because it wasn't the recommended grade. It wasn't necessary, however, as the stain was still very effective.

Here is my natural woven basket. I used a cheapy foam brush to apply. I had read that it smells pretty bad, worse than just vinegar. So I set up outside on my deck table. I would highly recommend a well-ventilated area {aka - outside} to do this. And if you don't have a glass table that will rinse off, put down a dropcloth of some sort.

The reaction of the solution on the wood is very quick. This was after a quick layer. The right side has the stain applied, while the middle was just added. The time between starting and taking this photo was probably one minute total. It is VERY quick! And the longer I worked, the darker the stain got with only one coat.

The two baskets side by side. The left basket has only one layer of stain! The right basket is untreated.

You can sand down the wood after it is dry to reach the desired color. I just gave it a light sanding. I did not seal it with anything yet. And I think I will try the other basket adding water to the solution to see if it creates a lighter driftwood effect.

There you have it! A quick {and did I mention EASY} DIY wood stain with vinegar and steel wool.
All completed during naptime!

~All photos are my own.~

And, why yes, that is my new Dash & Albert rug under the baskets! I got it for 50% off! Woohoo!!

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  1. Good job. I am impressed. Now will you come visit me and solve some of my decorating dilemmas? I need to borrow your skills.

  2. Amazing! Will have to try this on some of my baskets!

    1. Hi Kathie! You can always try a bottom corner first, to see if you like the effect. I have seen that adding a penny instead of the steel wool will create a greenish stain. Also, there is a difference in coloring with apple cider vinegar and plain white vinegar. You may want to experiment to get the color you prefer. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Love any d.i.y., esp the easy kind. I think i'll try this on the dollar store baskets - I have one nice one sitting around staring at me, begging for paint or stain - just haven't made up my mind yet:o thanks for sharing your easy tut.

    1. Hi Joann! I thought the same thing. Dollar store basket are the perfect thing to try this on! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Wow!!! That is soooo cheap & easy!! And it looks amazing! Ingenious, never heard of it before, but not going to forget this one!
    Following you now!!
    Debbie :)

    1. Hi Debbie!
      Isn't it so great when something is cheap, all natural and effective? I didn't want to buy stain that would sit around in the garage for years. This was so easy and even better - easy cleanup too!
      Thanks for stopping by and following!

  5. Does it continue to get darker over time? It looks great!

    1. Hi Lisa! As of right now, I don't believe it has changed at all. In fact, I would think that since it is in my sunroom with lots of natural light, it may fade like most of my baskets tend to do. I will update if I see any color changes! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Great post! Does the basket smell of vinegar? I'm wanting to try this out on some wood planks I have, but I don't want the pieces to stink up my home!

  7. Thanks for the side by side comparison photos. I have made a few new wooden shelves. I love the look of old worn wood and think I might try this out instead of paint!

  8. Wow! I had no idea that this was possible! Thanks for sharing. Found you at Oldie but a Goodie #1.

  9. I love the color of the stained basket! I may try using this recipe again. I tried staining a dining room table with it and it did not work well at all. Maybe a smaller item like a basket would work better for me because I really do like that color. Visiting from the Oldies but Goodies link party at Small Things. Have a great day! ~ Jamie

  10. Who knew? Thanks for sharing--I will be using this!
    Thanks for linking up to the oldies party this week--the new party will be live on Monday night.

  11. Do you know if there's a difference between steel wool and steel scrubs? I couldn't find steel wool at my dollar store.

  12. Make sure you are following the grain of the wood and painting the coat on evenly. When you have completed your coat of polyurethane finish, allow it to dry for six to eight hours.


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