Over the weekend, I played with DIY stain. It was a pretty fun science experiment (unlike switching the theme of my blog – if it looks funny right now, I’m working on it and probably crying a bit too.) So back to the stain, it was fun to experiment with. In case you’ve never heard of DIY stain, you fill a glass jar with vinegar (doesn’t matter what kind – vinegar, not the jar) and add some steel wool to it. Let it sit for a bit and you have stain that supposedly turns wood into that lovely, weathered look that we all love. As with all DIY projects, I learned a lot during the process. I’m sharing that info today, in case you also want to experiment as well.
7 Things I Learned About DIY Stain:
- The grade of steel wool doesn’t matter. Most directions call for 00, but I used 1 and it worked fine! So don’t freak out when you get home and realize that you bought the wrong grade.
- The steel wool has to be washed for the oxidation process to work. Even if the package does not specifically say that it was treated to prevent rust, I would still wash it out. It can’t hurt it. Pour dish soap on it and rinse until the water runs clean.
- It’s not the stuff at the grocery store. I guess you could use it, but you’re going to be washing out a lot more soap. Save yourself some time and run to the hardware store instead.
- Don’t try a stainless steel scrubber. I didn’t try it, but I’m pretty sure that “stainless” means that it won’t rust. I had grabbed one, thinking it was the right thing, so I was pretty disappointed when I read the label.
- It smells bad. And I like how vinegar smells. Not normal stain bad, but like don’t open it right under your nose bad.
- It doesn’t necessarily have to change color to work. Mine was clear at first and still changed the wood color.
- The resulting stain isn’t grayish, more of a reddish brown. Like rust? Hmmm, I wonder how that happened…
Bonus Tip: When I rubbed it with poly, the rag came away brown, so it definitely needs a good top coat, unless you want brown hands every time you touch it.
The verdict about DIY stain
It was a fun experiment, but I’m not exactly enamoured with the results. It turned out reddish, almost purple, instead of the gray that I wanted. This wasn’t the look I was going for, so I still ended up using the stinky stains on top on it to get to the color I wanted. I have at least 8 cans of stain in my garage that I could have used instead. I don’t think I will try this technique again.