Monday, March 10, 2014

How to Stain Wood with Balsamic Vinegar

I have been experimenting with new and natural ways to stain or age wood.
First I tried Apple Cider Vinegar...and now Balsamic vinegar.
I an so LOVING the colors these different vinegars give the wood.
How to Stain Wood with Balsamic Vinegar by 504 Main
I have done many projects with these "stains,"
but for now I just want to share the technique.
Just like the apple cider stain...this one is so easy!
How to Stain Wood with Balsamic Vinegar by 504 Main

  • (Real) Steel Wool  (I used 0000 grade)
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • Jar
  • Gloves
  • Paint brush ( it does not have to be a good one)
How to Stain Wood with Balsamic Vinegar by 504 Main

NOTE: Different vinegars will produce different finishes and I did some research about aging with balsamic vinegar. Apparently it is supposed to give you a greenish color...but I would not color my color green at all!

  • In a 2 cup+ glass jar, I placed 1 steel wool pad and 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 cup water. Because balsamic vinegar is more expensive and comes in smaller bottles, I mixed it with water to make it stretch further.
  • Put the lid on the vinegar/steel wool mixture and let it sit...mine sat for about 1 week before I liked the intensity of the color. I tested it every 24 hours to see the color.
    • I suggest trying the stain on a scrap piece (or similar) wood after 24 hours...if that is not the desired effect...48 hours...and so on
    • EDIT: The less you let the mixture sit the lighter the stain. If you are looking for a particular color, I suggest testing the mixture every 24 hours until you see the color you desire.
  • When my concoction was ready (to my liking), I gave it a quick stir.
    • Some suggest straining out the steel wool. I did NOT...there was not much left - bits and pieces...but I really did not care they were in there.
    • If necessary, transfer smaller amounts of the stain to a smaller glass jar to work with- it is easier to handle that way.
    • Be warned...the smell is pretty is vinegar! I just did this all outside. The mixture smells, but I do NOT notice a lingering scent on my project.
    • NOTE: Now, protect your work surface - it may stain concrete or whatever is comes into contact with.
  • Wear gloves - seriously - WEAR GLOVES. My hand are even more aged right now!
  • Use the paint brush and brush on the vinegar all over. 
  • Let dry.
  • Rinse the wood to remove any residue from the steel wool. It may lighten the stain a it. You can always reapply another coat to darken it up. 
  • Below you can see the difference between what the stain looks like when wet and then when dry.
How to Stain Wood with Balsamic Vinegar by 504 Main

Just to refresh your memory and show you the difference between staining with Apple Cider Vinegar and Balsamic is a quick comparison photo: 

How to Stain Wood with Balsamic Vinegar by 504 Main

It is pretty great color...
and I cannot wait to show you the projects I have done!
This post is written and created at 504 Main by Holly Lefevre

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea and one I have never tried! I love especially the color Balsamic vinegar gives the wood. Vinegar will soften and dissolve wood glue, though, so I would probably not use it on furniture or countertops where the joints might be glued. Definitely going to try on some boards I have:-)


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