This is a tutorial on how to stain wood naturally with non-toxic products.
If you’ve ever shopped for wood sign blanks, you’ll realize it is a lot cheaper to buy the unfinished wood blanks that are not stained.
Not that it is that much hassle and work to stain wood, it’s more I don’t really want to deal with toxic chemicals found in most wood stains and getting it everywhere.
I found a way to stain wood with natural products like coffee and non-toxic products like acrylic paint that produces similar effects without all the toxic drawbacks.
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Materials for Staining Wood with Coffee and Other Non-toxic Paints
Unfinished wood blanks – This works best with lighter woods like birch or basswood. Here are a few different shapes I like:
Coffee grounds – any coffee grounds works for this whether its instant coffee or decaf.
Sponge Brush – I found the sponge brush worked best for application.
How to darken wood without stain
My preferred method between the two is actually to use acrylic. I have more variation in colors and more control over how dark I want to make the stain.
How to make colored wood stain with acrylic paint
Since there is much more variation in color and darkness, you might want to do a test run with your acrylic paint on a smaller scrap piece of wood or on the backside of the sign blank.
First dilute your paint with a 1:1 ratio of paint to water. For slightly darker stain, use less water. You just need to get it to a more runny consistency.
There is no need to prep your wood. I just take the sponge brush and paint the solution on the wood directly.
Apply a layer of the solution and then wipe off the excess with a paper towel.
I actually mixed a bit of gray and brown together to get a more smokey look.
How to stain wood with coffee
The process for staining wood with coffee is very similar to the process for staining with acrylic.
First make a concentrated version of your normal coffee. Here I just use some used grinds from a nespresso pod I already used this morning for my coffee. I just added some additional hot water.
Simple paint this solution onto your wood and wipe the excess off with a paper towel.
DIY non toxic wood stain tips
Some people complain about the edges soaking up excess stain but I didn’t really have that much trouble with this. As long as you wipe up the excess liquid promptly, there is not much edge absorption.
For a deeper stain, apply a couple of extra layers. I find there is not much difference after 3 layers though.
Place your stained sign in a well ventilated area for faster drying. It took only a couple of hours for mine to dry next to the window.
The best part is, because you are using all non-toxic stains, you don’t need to worry about inhales the fumes while it is drying.
If you are interested in these round sign “hello”, “welcome” and “home” designs, the SVG and printable PDF templates are free and available in my resource library.