Friday, October 26, 2012

Cheap and Easy DIY Dark Wood Stain

Last week I made some very simple, light colored natural wood stains. This week I experimented with a few ways to make darker colored stains. I was surprised to see how well my experiments turned out. Check out the results below!

Why make your own wood stain? 

Many conventional wood stains on the market are made up of toxic and harmful chemicals. Additionally, many of these stains have high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which degrade your indoor air quality and smell terrible. The best part of making your own wood stain is that it is super easy and it will save you money! I spent less than $10.00 to buy all the ingredients necessary to make multiple different colors and shades. You will probably spend even less as many of these ingredients are common kitchen items.

How to Make Light Stains Darker

One easy way to make dark wood stains is to just make your all natural DIY stains darker. Check out this post for all natural stains you can make in less than 5 minutes. The steel wool and vinegar will react with the other stains to produce a dark vibrant color. This happens due to a chemical reaction where the steel wool will begin to dissolve as the vinegar oxidizes the steel. With this stain you are essentially creating rust in a jar. Here is a video from P. Allen Smith at P. Allen Smith Garden Home that first inspired me to try to make DIY wood stain.




If you liked his recipe I recommend giving it a try. Keep on reading if you would like to see more variations of DIY steel wool stain!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Make DIY Natural Wood Stain in 5 Minutes!


Over the last few months I have been building quite a bit of furniture. The main impetus for building my own furniture is to save money and avoid all the off-gassing of all the glues and synthetic components that go into mass produced furniture. Most of the furniture that would be in my price range is made with cheap materials and/or wood veneers that contain many harmful chemicals that pollute indoor air quality. It is also very tricky to find any locally produced furniture whose manufacturing process does not produce a lot of waste. So, per usual I have been doing-it-myself :)

Why DIY Wood Stain?


In the upper Midwest of the United States it is pretty easy to find quality, local lumber or salvaged wood. If you can't find any inexpensive, quality lumber then wood shipping pallets can be a good option if you know where to look and how to disassemble them (more on that later). Worst case scenario you can usually find inexpensive pine lumber at your local hardware store. However, one thing that is hard to find is a good natural non-toxic wood stain. Many wood stains have high Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) -that nasty smell that remains after you stain - or are derived from petroleum products. Some extensive searching has brought up a few eco-friendly options, unfortunately not many of those options were not budget friendly. So what is a guy to do? You guessed it, I went ahead and made my own!

One of my DIY standards is that the project should be simple. So I did some research and found a couple of natural DIY wood stains that you can make in less than 5 minutes. I was also able to make each of these stains for less than $3.00, although you will probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already. The recipes I will share with you today are all lighter stains applied to light pine. (Check out this post to make dark brown and black stain or this post  to make dark cherry or mahogany colored stain). If you want a slightly darker color you can apply extra coats of stain. These stains will also require the wood to be sealed afterwards. If you are looking to purchase a natural option look for linseed oil (made from flax seeds) NOT boiled linseed oil (which includes synthetic additives). A good DIY wood sealer is a mixture of olive oil and melted beeswax - check out this post for my DIY Wood Sealant Recipe

Check out below to see how to do it for yourself!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Lifestyle

Inexpensive Lumber
Have you ever seen something that you feel like you could maybe make yourself but your just not sure exactly how you would do it? Or maybe you want a product that doesn't exist or costs too much? Perhaps you want a product that is more sustainable, natural or organic?Well I do that everyday. Then I spend hours researching and designing just how exactly I would go about making it.

So I plan on sharing my DIY adventures and designs with anyone who is interested. Recently, I built my own kitchen island, an entertainment center, and a platform bed using inexpensive wood from my local hardware store! Then when I wanted to stain and seal the furniture I couldn't really find a sustainable option so I made my own natural wood stain.

DIY Kitchen Island

I love designing these projects and I love the way that the projects improve my life as well. Best of all, I usually save money and resources in the process. Over the coming months I hope to share these plans in hopes that they may help you as well. Some future projects include: making my own pasta sauce, plans for growing food during the winter, worm composting projects and possibly homemade shampoo and facial cleanser. Stay tuned for detailed instructions, pictures, and videos!