Home made wood stains

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Forum topic by tekton posted 09-10-2007 03:00 AM 17507 views 2 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 3144 days

09-10-2007 03:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: stain finish blo topcoat finishing

Does anyone make your own wood stains? Do you use something that most wouldn’t normally consider using or know can be used to high lite or stain wood? I’ve been experimenting lately with some kool aid on some scrap with good results, it doesn’t really stain the wood as much as it gives wood a different hue. Any way while I was experimenting I thought maybe some of you might have some knowledge that could benefit the rest of us.

-- tektōn an artificer, that is, (specifically) a craftsman in wood: - carpenter.

17 replies so far

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 3260 days

#1 posted 09-10-2007 05:13 AM

I’ve had good luck with artists oil paint and mineral spirits. I keep a few shades of brown, white, black around.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Duckarrowtypes's profile


68 posts in 2995 days

#2 posted 09-30-2007 07:05 PM

Iodine vapor makes a lovely dark purple finish. I found out quite by accident when storing Iodine crystals in my daguerreotype sensitizing chamber.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3996 posts in 3155 days

#3 posted 09-30-2007 07:39 PM

Trans Tints: Not truly homemade, bit versatile for making NGR stain when mixed with alcohol, or used to tone clearcoats. Link has an overview of different staining options at Jeff Jewitt’s

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 3168 days

#4 posted 10-01-2007 12:42 AM

I have used Tumeric (Yellow) and coco (brownish) to stain wood. I have used it dry, mixed with water and mixed with soy oil. I have had varied results . . . but they all stain.

I have thought about using beet juice (red/purple), but have not attempted it.

-- BLOG -

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 3177 days

#5 posted 10-01-2007 02:37 AM

blueberries would work as well

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View lclashley's profile


244 posts in 3205 days

#6 posted 10-01-2007 03:31 AM

I’ve read about people using strongly brewed tea.

View MattD's profile


150 posts in 3035 days

#7 posted 10-01-2007 04:20 AM

For natural pigments, Iron Oxide (rust) is well known for red. Supposedly, livestock blood is the pigment in the milk paint commonly used to paint barns before some point in history. Since I have very few resources for livestock blood (none really), I’ve thought of using dried blood (gardening supplies) before, but haven’t tried that. Not sure if that’s a good idea or not yet.

Flowers or insects can provide natural pigments also.

I’ve had some good success experimenting with milk paint using the RIT dyes you can buy in the supermarket.

A tip on pigments is to slake them, or finely crush and mix them into a paste before adding them into your base (oil, milk, shellac, whatever).

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

View Karson's profile


34994 posts in 3491 days

#8 posted 10-01-2007 05:00 AM

I heard about using Walnut Husks to stain wood.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View KC4's profile


5 posts in 3021 days

#9 posted 10-01-2007 05:37 AM

I’ve had varying success with a strong solution of chewing tobacco steeped in very hot water.

As Karson said, black walnut hulls will work, but the hulls themselves leave a dark stain on the hands, so wear gloves when handling them.

-- Orv

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14039 posts in 3074 days

#10 posted 10-01-2007 05:58 AM

shoe polish works. cordova adds nice shading.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Moron's profile


4929 posts in 2984 days

#11 posted 10-01-2007 01:30 PM

For the most part I make my own stains sorta?............. I use a product made by becker Acroma called “Neatrul New” and buy clear. This is the best stain I have come across to date as it also can act as a glaze.

I also stock “universal fine grind tints”. They are much the same as the tints you see in paint stores but ground to a much finer/smaller particle. By stocking the following colours I can make almost any colour in the rainbow.

titanium white/lamp black/sienna brown/burnt umber/yellow oxide/red/.............might be a green, a blue…..

anyway they work like a charm and leave little if any blotching. I can thin them and use them to shade or add directly to the lacquer to tint.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Hannah's profile


1 post in 855 days

#12 posted 07-27-2013 08:57 PM

Hello folks….I am new to the forums and to woodworking too.
I think this post is called “necro-posting” because the topic is so old, but it relates to my question which is this:

What can I use to stain hickory to get a predominantly (very predominantly) gray color?
It is light brownish with some graying already but very little.

I think there are commercial stains available, but this is for a very small box and I really hate to buy a quart of something when I might only use a about 4 oz of it (if that) because I am…...I am….CHEAP!
Yes, cheap! There, I said it.

I have read that you can take a hunk of steel wool and place it in vinegar for about a week and then pour in some strong tea with it to get a stain that gives wood that outdoor aged silvery look, but it was always done on pine or cedar , and I don’t know what it would look like on unfinished hickory.

Any suggestions? Thank you.

View scahoon's profile


7 posts in 647 days

#13 posted 05-13-2015 02:53 PM

Hi all. I recently used beet juice (undiluted) to stain an Adirondack chair i made with pallet and treated lumber. Used a kitchen cellulose sponge to rub it in. A few days before, I tested a small piece of treated lumber and left it out in the hot Florida sun. Well, the stain was completely gone. Question: should i put another couple of coats of beet juice on this? Should I just seal it with a poly? Will a natural seal of oil and wax set the color? Here is a before and after. I really like the effect the beet juice gave me and hate to see it fade away.

View SirIrb's profile


968 posts in 321 days

#14 posted 05-13-2015 02:55 PM

For years I wanted to use chewing tobacco or coffee for a stain. Soak in water or alcohol over night. wipe.

I have no idea how it would work.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Harryn's profile


30 posts in 1679 days

#15 posted 05-14-2015 12:23 AM

I have had good results using roofing cement. let it soak in mineral spirits and stir well, then strain it thru an old t-shirt. Makes a beautiful deep brown stain

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