Non-Toxic, All-Natural Wood Stain

Wood staining can be a pricey, messy and stinky project to take on. Let’s not even get into whatever fumes you may be inhaling while taking a plank from a cool blonde to a warm chestnut brown. But sometimes you need to tweak something just a bit, and have no choice but to stain. We were recently given a gift “basket” (really, a wooden crate) full of goodies. The wood was pale and untreated, but the box was sturdy and had good bones. See for yourself:

BEFORE: Non-Toxic Coffee Wood Stain by

BEFORE: Non-Toxic Coffee Wood Stain by

To help it get a look and feel similar to the vintage wood crates in our house (check out a few on our Stacked In Your Favor post), we headed straight to the kitchen. A few days and a few coats of double-strength coffee later, the box was done!

Non-Toxic Coffee Wood Stain by

Non-Toxic Coffee Wood Stain by

Here’s how:

Non-Toxic, All-Natural Coffee Wood Stain

  • wood that needs to be stained
  • double-strength coffee
  • tarp or drop cloth
  • rubber gloves
  • rag or cloth

1. Brew the coffee and let sit until it’s cool enough to stick your hand in.

2. Lay out your tarp or drop cloth in a work space and put your gloves on. The coffee will stain your hands (one of us learned that the hard way)!

3. Soak the rag in the coffee, squeeze out the excess liquid and apply to wood in a thin, even coat making sure to keep your strokes going with the grain of the wood. Cover the entire object, being sure to pay extra attention to corners, ridges and crevices that may be difficult to get into. Set aside and let dry.

4. Add more coats, allowing time to dry between each, until you reach your desired finish.

SWWU Tip 1: If your wood has rough edges you may want to smooth it out with a bit or sand paper or some steel wool prior to staining. It depends on how polished you’d like the final look to be.

SWWU Tip 2: Don’t expect to complete this project in one day. Leave it in an out-of-the-way spot and add additional coats of coffee whenever you pass by. Eventually you’ll get the finish you are going for. The crate above took about two to three coats a day for six days. 

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2 thoughts on “Non-Toxic, All-Natural Wood Stain

  1. Hi there…thank you so much for this!! I wonder, do you think if we did the same thing you did, but extended it to 12 days it would get even darker, or do you think you reached a saturation point for the darkness? Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience!

    • Hi, Kelsey. The wood does get a bit darker each time you apply another coat, but only up until a certain point. There is definitely a saturation point. You should be able to notice when a coat isn’t giving you much of a change in color. When that happens, it’s time to stop. I hope this helps!

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