DIY ~ All Natural Wood Stain

I kept this set for myself ~ I just loved the colors!
I made tons of these block sets for gifts this past Christmas. I had a blast making them, getting creative with all of the different colors, papers and embellishments. The 'kids' (big and small) were each given a set customized with their names, while the adult recipients received a set with inspirational words.

I decided that I would like to add them into Backyard Dreams, but as is they didn't meet my 'green standards'. I wanted to stain the blocks, but naturally, and so I hopped onto the Internet for some info. What I found was so easy, (as I knew it would be) and I was super excited to get started! But first... rusty water. :)

I poured 2 cups of white vinegar into a glass container, threw in a steel wool pad, and waited. Different websites had different directions, but this is where I started. They all claimed that within a couple of days, a week tops, the water would be nice and rusty. A week passed, and when I saw zero evidence of rust I added in equal parts water, as suggested on another website. Still nothing. I began digging through information stored in the recesses of my brain and thought about how steel wool usually rusts within days, what was missing? Ah-ha! Oxygen, of course, a necessary component of corrosion. So, I fished out the steel wool, put it on a plate and within in hour it was a rusted mess. Success. :)

Looks like something you'd normally want to throw away, right?
Once the rusty water was ready I could get started on my experimental stain. It began with a tea bag, steeped for a couple of hours in hot water. I then painted the cut blocks of woods with 3 coats of tea. The effect was very subtle, probably not even noticeable on its own.

After. Subtle, right?
Once the blocks had completely dried (and this is when I got excited!) I began painting them with a coat of the rusty water. The results were instantaneous and just kept darkening with each coat, and the longer they sat.

If I remember correctly, the block on the left has two coats, while the one on the right only has the first coat applied. (Sorry, it's been awhile since I did my experimenting!)
The final result, pretty drastic, huh? I think that the block on the right has 3 coats of rusty water, on top of the tea stain
Of course there's some chemistry involved in the whole process. The rusty water is reacting to the tannins in both the wood and the tea, creating this grayish, weathered color, perfect for the look I was reaching for. I read one article online where a variety of different teas were used and consequently a delightful range of colors were created, from browns to black.

Here is my finished product, Journey Block Set
I'd love to add more sets to the shop, I have such fun creating them. First though, I think I'll experiment with some different teas and see what kinds of colors I can manifest. I'd love to see a nice honey brown... stay tuned! :)

Another set, using just the natural beauty of wood ~ Love Block Set
Dream Block Set
So, there you have it, nature to the rescue once again. No toxic chemicals, no dangerous fumes, no hazardous consequences. Living green can be so simple and easy, why did we ever think that we could do better?

Before I head out, I'd just like to mention that I've managed to add in a couple of new recipes onto my Scrumptious Recipes Page. I'm hoping to get some more in there this weekend, but... we'll see. ;)

Have an amazingly creative day friends! :)

Peace & Blessings ~ Melinda