Vinegar Wood Stain

By Tiffany - Saturday, December 06, 2014

Many moons ago, I made some vinegar wood stain to stain an Ikea dresser I bought. I thought I would share the results.

To make the stain, I crammed a bunch of old, rusty steel wool (you can use new steel wool, too) clumps in a glass container. I then filled the jar with vinegar and added some tea bags. I then let it sit for a few days, but the stain is probably is ready to go if you leave it overnight.

Using a foam brush, I brushed the stain onto the dresser. Here is what one coat looked like:

A second coat made it darker and more uniform:

The vinegar and the steel wool create iron acetate, which react with the tannins in wood. Adding tea increases the tannins in the wood and makes the stain darker. To really bring out the stain and make it look richer, I gave it two coats of linseed oil. And then two coats of beeswax to protect the finish.

Here is a close up of the wood:

My dresser/nightstand is almost done. My husband is going to carve me some nice knobs to finish it off.

Using the vinegar stain was fun (and cheap!). I also like that it is less harmful to health and the environment.

For more information, here is a Lee Valley article on wood pickling:

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