How to Dye Wood the Green Way

Have you ever wondered if there’s a way to dye wood the green way without chemicals? The answer is yes, it is. You will see lots of pictures in this post but it’s only to show how wood is changing its color; the process is really simple and you only need the following materials:

  1. Vinegar
  2. Steel wool
  3. A container with lid
  4. A brush or rag
  5. Globes are optional but highly recommended if you don’t want to end up with finger stained for some days

The first thing is to place some steel wool inside the container and fill it with vinegar. I also added some old rusty screws instead of throwing them away. Close the lid and let mixture stand for about 3-5 days. Time will affect in how dark the dye will be; the more time the darker it gets.

After some days, you’ll see the mixture has darkened a lot. I call it the “Miracle Liquid”, as it will react in different ways depending on the wood you are using it into. The lid is useful because the solution is a bit stinky, so close it when you’re done and you can keep it for future projects.

It’s time to take your gloves and a rag and go to work! As you see, I am going to stain new pine wood.

Soak the rag and wring it out a bit

Then rub it on the wood, working on zones.

In the next picture you will see the difference; from right to left we have raw wood, wet stained wood, and dry stained wood.

A close up of the wood fully dry compared to the new one. Doesn’t it look gorgeous?

I did 5 wood slats, as you can see it goes a long way.

And this is how I dye wood the green way, an easy and affordable solution while taking care of the environment. It doesn’t require to clean brushes where chemicals go down the sink. 

If you want to take one step further and achieve a weathered look as the middle slat on the picture below, you can check the post on How to weather wood.

I hope you enjoyed the post, and would love to see your projects too.

If you are curious and want to know what I used this wood for, you can see them in this Ikea coffee table hack. If you are interested in more tutorials or DIY, you can check out my Gallery.

Hugs,

Pili

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14 comments

  1. Mary-the boondocks blog says:

    What an excellent post Pili! And lots of very important things to know. I’m pinning this one. I love the way the wood looks all rustic and pretty. Why did you put the screws in the mixture? How does that work?

  2. Keri says:

    Pili, what a cool DIY stain!! I like how the wood looks after you’ve applied your homemade stain!! Thanks for sharing the how-to on making “green” stain!!

    • Pili says:

      This crazy mind comes up with ideas that normally end up as epic fails, but sometimes I get a hit 😉 Worth trying!

  3. Nikki Frank-Hamilton says:

    This is so cool! I really love the color of the stain too. It really brings out the grain of the wood and it looks old and rustic! So neat that you did it with natural ingredients! You added the rusty screws, did that have anything to do with the color or deepness of the stain? Or is it the steel wool and the vinegar? I love it!

    • Pili says:

      Hi Nikki. The rusty screws make the vinegar to turn that color faster. If you go and check the jar some months later, you’ll find our there is no sign of steel wool or screws, they just disolved

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