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I came across this idea by accident, but it is too good not to pass along to you.  Have you ever wanted to stain wood, but you just didn’t want to go to the store or you did not want to use a toxic material in your home.  The information below is from a site called, “The Money Pit,” and it was written by Tom Kraeutler. I must admit that I have not tried any of these mixtures, but they should work.

“If you’re looking for a natural, non-toxic wood stain, you might want to raid your kitchen. Coffee, tea, vinegar, walnut hulls and even certain berries can be used to stain wood.


One simple way to stain wood is to boil tea leaves in two cups of water until you have a deep tea concentrate. Simply brush the hot tea water onto your wood. Different teas will give you different shades. natural wood stains


Brew some strong coffee and let it cool; then apply with your favorite brush or rag. Let it really soak the wood. It’s okay if the coffee gathers in small puddles on the wood. You’ll get a deeper stain depending on how long you let the stain sit. Check it ten minutes after application by wiping a section clean of coffee. Not dark enough for you? Let the coffee sit longer.

Walnut Hulls

Black walnut hulls, soaked for several days, create a dark wood stain. Strain the mixture before you use it. Some people prefer to boil the hulls first, and then allow them to steep.

Black Raspberries

Black raspberries are an effective wood stain when crushed and then rubbed onto wood. Allow the berry pulp to dry on the wood, and then wipe it away. Berry stains will fade in direct sunlight, so this method is better for wood that stays indoors.


Vinegar works as a wood stain when you add a metal object in the mix and let it sit in a glass container for a week. A handful of pennies will produce a beautiful pale Caribbean blue stain. A wad of steel wool will give you a rich reddish hue. A combination of tea and a metal object in vinegar will produce a black stain.

As with any untried stain, start with a piece of scrap wood. Use the same type of wood you’ll be staining, as stains can look dramatically different on different woods. Not only will this allow you to see if you like the stain, but you’ll have the opportunity to apply several coats to see how the shade changes and deepens. Keep track of how many applications it takes to get your desired result.

Keep in mind, too, that stained wood can change with age–often with attractive results, but be prepared to potentially end up with a different look later.

For stains that may be prone to fading, consider using a clear sealant on top of your stain.

For crafty folks who like to keep it natural, non-toxic wood stains from coffee, tea, vinegar, walnut hulls and berries

can provide you with a beautiful finish for your projects.”

Year ago I thought that combining different wood in the same room was not a good idea.  If a bedroom set was mahogany, then the whole room should be mahogany.  That thinking has definitely changed.  Lonny magazine published the following photos of some very stylish rooms….all have a mixture of woods.

 The dominant wood tone is the pine floor.  It is mixed with a dark dresser, natural wood table, and a painted mirror.  Also note the mid century chairs paired with the rusticity of the table.

Here are two mid-toned woods side by side.  Too much “matchy-matchy” can be boring.  The head boards and drop leaf side table seem very happy together!

Lonny magazine recommends that you start with  just two to three different woods.  When you see that two or three work, then perhaps you can add more.

It was further suggested to use a rug to soften the difference between two woods.  In the following photo there are even rugs made from two different fiber.

If you have an orphan piece of pine in the attic, why not pull it out and see where it might work in your décor?  See what you can do if you let yourself breach invisible boundaries and what might be old ideas.

Create and be happy!