If you ever want to write something down or paint something that's on your mind and don't have any paint available, just step outside and look around for some berries. Most berries contain juices that will stain things permanently, whether it is paper, wood or clothing. A quick walk around my yard led me to two types of berries that are perfect for this.
My favorite is what I call Polk Salad. It's scientific name is Phytolacca americana, but it goes by tons of aliases. I sometimes here people say pokeweed. Anyways, it grows wild in most parts of the eastern United States and in some of the west. It's all over the place. Just get out there and look for it. It's tough to miss its red stalk and big blackish/purplish berries. These berries are toxic, so they are not to be eaten, but gather up a cup full of them and you'll have yourself quite a bit of stain that's a nice dark purple.
Check out my video below to see how I went about making my wood stain.
- Lots of gathered berries
- A strainer and a bowl
Step 1: Gather Supplies
After you have gathered enough berries, you'll need a couple of other basic supplies. It would be easy enough to use a strainer from the kitchen to but your berries in, then crush them and let the juice drain through. Unfortunately, I didn't have such a strainer, but no need to panic. I just cut off a little piece of screen that I had laying around (like the screen from a screen door or screen porch). Then I placed that over a bowl and put my berries on the screen.
I used a little piece of scrap wood to crush the berries, but anything at all will suffice. Just pick the berries off their stem and throw them on the screen. Smash them, and their shall be ink in your bowl underneath. Woohoo!
Step 2: Preserve Your Stain
After all your berries are smashed, for every half cup of berry juice you need to add 1 tsp. of vinegar and 1 tsp. of salt. I didn't have any regular vinegar, but a splash of balsamic vinegar worked out just fine. Stir it all up and pour it into an airtight container, and that's all there is to it. Now get out there and find some polk salad.