BUT I have recently come across a ton of pins pertaining organic wood stains and how to accomplish them. Now the pins aren't wrong by correctly siting the website, it is indeed the website which is wrong. (I don't think it would be too kind of me to post the website where the information can be found)
Since I am an applied design major emphasizing in woods, I have taken a liking to using more organic ways to embellish on my surfaces. Many stains have very toxic chemicals and can ultimately cause bodily harm if inhaled time and time again. Sounds appealing right? Here is where my organic stains enter. I have taken a liking to vinegar and it's additive (I prefer pennies and steel wool) to make marvelous colors. As the websites suggest you simple soak either pennies or wool in vinegar and wait for the magic to happen. Wrong. This is absolutely wrong and was even tested to make sure that method didn't work. In fact just soaking pennies in vinegar can completely break the penny down and eat it to death, same with the steel wool. Proof of the annihilation of pennies:
This is what I got when I let the pennies just soak for a week in pure vinegar. FAIL
It actually ended up never producing the beautiful color it was supposed to, more
of a crappy greyish color.
THIS is how they should look when you are finished with your stain making.
Shiny, beginning stages of oxidation, and not the size of a dime with chunks missing.
The way the pennies stain should look
The beginnings of steel wool stain
So what was my secret to achieving the right results? First there are two ways to get what you want. Both are right, but one takes more time than the other. The only differing factor - heat.
Secret ingredient? HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. Magical stuff isn't it?
The recipes -
- 1 cup vinegar (Either white or apple. Apple produces a little more of a teal color rather than bright blue.)
- 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
- 40 ish pennies (this number varies largely on the amount of tint you want to your vinegar.)
Place the pennies in the mixture (hot or cold) and remove once the desired color is achieved so the pennies don't get eaten to death by the vinegar generally no more than an hour.
Do this in a glass jar (for the heating) and DON'T put the lid on it once you place the pennies in. The chemical reaction causes it to off-gas and may make the lid blow off
You can choose to microwave the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide mix to a boil, this speeds up the process but does not effect the outcome. The cold mix should be left longer than the hot for maximum potential of the gorgeous blue hue.
Keep in mind this stain is harder to maintain with out a sealant and generally doesn't respond well to thick layers of sealant.
- 2 cups vinegar
- 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
- 1 or 2 steel wool pads (the number of pads makes the mixture darker and red/rustier looking)
Same rule applies with the lid, the off-gas may make the lid blow off (but I have not ever put the lid on this mixture while it cured so I can't say for sure this happens)
I used a plastic jar since I used the cold method.
Again, heating the mixture speeds the process but really not needed for the process since the steel reacts much faster than the pennies.
This stain holds best on woods that accept stain easily and does well with all wood sealants.
SIDE NOTE - if you leave your steel wool mixture too long and it goes back to being clear, pour a little hydrogen peroxide in your mix to reactivate the color. Be sure to remove the steel wool so no more chemical reaction takes place.
Stay tuned for examples of the stain soon!
**** I have gotten several inquiries regarding the actual color that you get when applying to different kinds of woods. Please remember all species of woods have different tannin levels in their make up naturally, so whether you are using the penny or steel wool method your colors will be VERY VERY different from one wood type to another. Always have a piece of wood you designate as your test piece, or at least use the back/inside/non-visible area to test your stain. With the copper you can get anything from pale blue to dark green. Steel wool can produce anything from a rusty red to a black depending on the species of wood.****
Here is in fact a very very different result than what someone would expect using steel wool and vinegar. I was making my final project in wood shop and decided that red oak just was not going to cut it in the jazzy department. Lo and behold, my natural stains came into play. By applying one coat of steel wool and vinegar I got this very bold bluish/purple. I have to say, I love it.