Sunday, August 17, 2014

Homemade Antique Stain

For an update and notes on this stain, scroll to the bottom. 
Yup.  This is my favorite.  We first read about this stain on  I discovered her website only a few weeks and oh my goodness.  I am in love!  We are planning on making her rustic x end tables, coffee table and console table for our living room and entry way.  But for now we are working on this wall art, inspired by a piece we saw at Hobby Lobby.  I have a terrible habit of saying, "it's HOW much?  I can make that myself!"  It happens all the time.  You know what I'm talking about!

We debated between painting and staining but decided to try this stain since we liked what we saw online.  I have to say I am VERY happy with the results and it isn't even dry yet.  I couldn't wait to come inside and get this blog post ready to share with you!

This stain could not be more easy or budget friendly.  In fact my mom told Mim about it and she sent Papa out to the store so she could make some of her own, just for curiosity sake.  Mim is 83 years old and is still sewing, cutting, staining and creating.  She is my inspiration.
I pulled two pieces of steel wool apart and put it in my 2 1/2 quart bucket I bought at Wal-Mart.  I poured distilled white vinegar over the steel wool until it was covered, about 1/2 gallon. We let ours sit for 5 days.  If you want a lighter stain, don't let it sit as long.  I would recommend using gloves and a face mask while applying to your furniture and watch out for splatter!  It'll darken the wall of your garage if you aren't careful (so I've heard...).  Also, vinegar stains concrete...not that I know from experience.  It was so cool to watch it darken as it dried!  I painted one board at a time and took pictures as I went so you can really see the progression of the color.  I cannot WAIT to finish this project and share it with you!

I hope this inspires you to create! 

This stained worked beautifully on old pallet wood but when we went to stain standard construction grade lumber for our rustic x coffee table, the results were NOT the same.  We've had the stain sitting in our garage for a few weeks now and the steel has completely dissolved.  If you stick the brush in and pull it out, the liquid actually has a red tint to it.  It pretty much seems like liquid rust AND looks like it when you stain plain wood.  You can actually see the color of the stain on the paper towel below.  Lovely, huh?

We used scraps and the bottom of the table to test out the stain and the it looked pink.  And purple.  Not like the beautiful results up above.  I was so devastated but not for long because we remembered what we had read about using black tea along with this stain.  We mixed the stain with tea, about half and half and we got the results we were looking for.    

You can see the difference on this scrap of wood.  The tea makes a dramatic difference.  Below, we started with a scrap of wood, sanded it and applied the stain.  Adding tea is the way to go when working with standard lumber. 

 Yes, my husband actually vacuumed the sawdust off.  Because, why not?