Thursday, February 27, 2014

DIY wood stain (that you can use indoors!)

  I have been working on a project that just didn’t seem complete without a wood stain.  Unfortunately, it’s far too cold outside for that, and using a traditional wood stain inside would definitely make me sick.  

  So I started searching google and pinterest for some DIY wood stains and found some great ideas.  I set up some experiments to see what I liked best…

…but nothing grabbed me.

  Then inspiration struck.  

  I grabbed my olive oil.  I grabbed some blue pigment.  I mixed them up and slathered them on and waited while the wood drank it in.  Then I rubbed off the excess and much to my surprise I had exactly what I was dreaming of! 

  The blue seeped its deepest into the lighter spots while the olive oil honeyed the darker knots in the wood, resulting in a very happy looking union of tones.  

  If you’d like to try this yourself, here’s my recipe:  1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to ¼ teaspoon of blue pigment (I used some of Evening’s Natural Earth Paints) and mix well.  Make as large a batch as you think you’ll need, since it will be hard to get an exact match from batch to batch.

  Apply a thick coat onto your sanded, ready-for-finishing wood with a brush.  It will look MUCH darker than the finished result at this point.  Leave that for the wood drink in for about an hour and a half. 

  While that’s happening, make a batch of beeswax sealant to protect your colour later.  You can make this with 1 Tbsp of beeswax with 6 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Combine the two in a glass bowl/jar/cup and set in a pan with about 2 inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, all the while stirring the wax and oil in the glass.  Once the beeswax has melted completely, remove from heat and set aside to cool.  

  Using a rag, begin to rub off the excess stain from your project.  Once finished, begin to apply the beeswax sealant with a fresh rag.  Apply thickly.  If you have any sealant left over, you can store for up to a year and use as a polish (though if you have any pigment in the jar like I did be sure to only use it on this project!).  

  Leave for one hour, then rub off with another fresh rag, revealing a beautiful and safe, natural stain on your wood.  

Linking up with the HomeAcre Hop!


  1. Now this is brilliant!! Amazing what you can come up with when you are determined! And the color is the perfect marriage of tones!!! Just love it friend! Wonderful weekend to you! Nicole xoxo

    1. thanks Nicole - I'm still quite smitten with how it all turned out. Can't wait to share the entire finished project with you - have a great weekend yourself and hopefully you won't get too much snow!

  2. You make it look so easy,and it looks great. But I wonder if I'd have the patience for it?!

  3. I just found your blog post on a Google search for safe to apply indoors wood stains. This is such a great idea you came up with! I'm curious how it's holding up three years later. Thanks so much for this great tutorial!

    1. It still looks great! I used the stained plank as a desk atop an old antique sewing machine bottom (the original wood too damaged to save). I do use coasters, mind, but I love the way it looks.


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