Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate

Posted by Thomas Murphy on 3/16/2014

Are you are looking to bring new life to old furniture or complete a do-it-yourself project? If so, you are probably thinking of heading to the big box store for some commercial stain. Many of these products are expensive and contain synthetic chemicals and pesticides. Their smell and toxic fumes may also deter you. Did you know staining wood has been a practice for thousands of years? Long ago, they didn't have hardware stores with cans of synthetic stains. People relied on things around their home and garden such as fruit, vegetables and plants to color their wood and furniture. Best of all these all natural items did not contain chemicals and unsafe fumes. Here are a few hints when using all natural stains: Always test the stain first on a scrap piece of wood. Wait several days before applying a sealant over the stain. Here are a few things you can use to stain wood: Plants-The juice of fruits, vegetables or plants, give off great color. Try things like beets, blueberries, carrots and turnip greens. You may want to add some alum (potassium aluminum sulfate) to your stain to help the colors hold. Alum is used in pickling and can be found in the spice section of your local supermarket. Try 1 teaspoon of alum per gallon of juice. Metal-Take those old rusty nails, a jar of pennies or even steel wool and soak them in white vinegar. Let them sit for four days in the brine and you will have an extremely effective stain. You may want to let the pennies sit for longer (even a few weeks) to achieve your desired color. Beverages-This is quite popular for fabric but can be used on wood too. Coffee and tea will give you a nice tone that will deepen with multiple coats. Nuts and Spices-There is a reason so many of the commercial stain has names like walnut and turmeric. Soak walnut hulls in water for a week to yield a rich, dark stain. Just a tablespoon of turmeric added to 2 cups of water produces a yellowish stain. Have you tried any natural stains? What is your favorite?