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How to Make Homemade Wood Stain

Homemade Wood Stain will blow your mind with how easy it is to make and how gorgeous it comes out. This stain is especially useful if you are applying it to anything that requires a food-grade stain, like a cutting board.ย ย 

I’ve been on a bit of a kick lately of two things: wood stuff and natural stuffย  (technical terms).

So, it made sense that I attempted to get more natural with the ingredients I was using on my wood projects.

I have recently been refinishing some furniture, painting wood furniture, repairing wood (our deck specifically), updating/cleaning/staining wood, and watching loads of YouTubes on building floating wood shelves, or anything wood related.

If you are interested in my other wood-related posts:

As I’ve been using store-bought stain for some of these projects, I noticed the strong smell of the stain and the flammable, toxic chemical warnings on the packaging and it concerned me.

I wondered if there was a way to make my own stain with natural ingredients, did some research online, and came up with this mixture.

The recipe I used is extremely simple, but you could get creative and use all sorts of variations on this.

In the future I plan on testing out some other items too; potentially Wine, Beet Juice, Vinegar/Steel Wool.

Here was my test swatch of color on bare wood – then the color it came out when I used it on some existing wood we have in our garage that had seen better days until I refreshed it with this homemade stain:

wood half stainedgarage wood half stained


Homemade Wood Stain Recipe


  • 5 tablespoons of used coffee grounds
  • 2 black tea bags, opened
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Sprinkle of paprika, cinnamon, & turmeric
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Optional – You may add some oil if you are not planning on sealing this afterwards – I used regular cooking peanut oil and added about 1/4 a cup.stain ingredients


  1. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl, adding the boiling water (or oil if you are using it) last – then stir.
  2. Let ingredients simmer for as long as you like (1 hour is what I used) to make it the darkness you prefer.
  3. Strain ingredients into a glass container – I put my stain into a mason jar after I was done making my mixture.
  4. Stir before use.

How to Use:

  1. Using whichever method you prefer or need, clean the wood thoroughly before applying the stain. I used a lemon oil wood cleaner on my garage stairs and sanded the outdoor deck before applying stain.
  2. Apply the stain with the applicator of your choice – i.e., sponge, rag, stain applicator.
  3. Let stain set for 1 hour or so.
  4. Wipe stain down with a damp rag.
  5. Apply oil or sealer if desired.

If you would like to seal the wood, I would recommend a natural paste wax like this one by Virginia Boys Kitchen which is food safe made from organic ingredients.

That’s it! You can feel great that you used natural ingredients to improve the quality and look of your existing wood.

The Pros and Cons of using Natural Stain

  • Can be used on food items
  • Inexpensive to Make
  • Made with Pantry Products
  • No Fumes
  • No Chemicals or Toxins
  • Not Flammable
  • Eco-Friendly

  • Color is Hard to Match
  • Outcome can be Unpredictable
  • Can’t Control the Colors Well
  • Can Take Many Coats to Darken

As mentioned in the cons, it can be hard to keep the color consistent for matching purposes, so it’s recommended that you make enough in one batch to cover your entire project.ย  While you can’t control the colors exactly, you can brew it longer or shorter depending on if you want a darker color or not.

Give it a try, I think you’ll love it.

Homemade Wood Stain Pin

If you did this, what did you think?

What are your thoughts?

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