Picture of Vegetable Juice Stain for Wood Furniture
My husband and I were gifted a table before we got married (meaning we've had it about 7 years now). I don't know how old it was before we got it. It is an awesome table - straightforward and reasonably sturdy and awesome. Over the years it has dried out further than it was, and just needed some oooomph.

Enter vegetable juice! I wanted a pop of color without harsh chemicals in the house. I was inspired by some cranberries that leaked juice on the table to try a juice stain.

I am by no means a professional when it comes to wood, so please if you are going to try this test it in an inconspicuous area and make sure you and your (parent, spouse, whoever) agree to try it :)
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Step 1: You will need

You don't need much for this project.

Vegetable/fruit juice (amount will vary depending on what you are covering and how many coats you want to do)
clean paint brush/foam brush/cloth rag for applying stain
bowl for your stain
damp cloth that you don't mind getting stained
object to stain
paper towels for spills/small cleanups
masking tape if you only want to do part of your object

optional: oxygen bleach in case you get any juice on your clothes/other fabric, and gloves if you need your hands not to be colors for a day or two
jsadler110 months ago

I did a experimental piece with beet juice and did not apply a sealer. In about six weeks it went from reddish to brown. Maybe the sealer will keep that from happening. Thick coffee makes an interesting stain as does the classic steel wool rotted in water.

jsadler110 months ago

I did a experimental piece with beet juice and did not apply a sealer. In about six weeks it went from reddish to brown. Maybe the sealer will keep that from happening. Thick coffee makes an interesting stain as does the classic steel wool rotted in water.

DAnnCline1 year ago
Awesome job ....and a great idea!!!! I wonder if this would work if you applied it over Kilz
taransa (author)  DAnnCline1 year ago
Thank you very much! I am not very familiar with Kilz. If it is oily, I am not sure how well the color could soak in (like the trouble I had over the old stain?). If you have a spare piece of wood I would definitely try it on that first.

And this definitely needs some sort of sealant over the top. When it gets wet, the color does lift. We need to do some work on the table so I haven't been able to seal it yet (hubby wants to sand it for part of the repair, kinda silly to finish it first). It still doesn't smell or anything weird like that, I am very pleased!
Stone_UFO2 years ago
That's awesome, I'm going to try using some beets too
jwoods102 years ago
@Corwim Does this look about it? If so then you have whats known in the south as Polk. is this berry stage it is very poisonous. Do not get on hands and especially around your mouth.
but when it is very young(less than 2ft tall) it is picked, cooked and eaten like any other form of greens so long as the stalk is fully green.
Regarding the 'beading' in step 6, did you try anything to break the surface tension of the water such as a few drops of washing-up liquid added to the dye mix?
taransa (author)  I am in the shed!2 years ago
I did not. Dabbing slowly yielded an even-enough coating, since I was not necessarily trying to get a consistent color across the entire surface. Interesting idea!
Corwim2 years ago
@taransa:some kind of purplish red.I don't know what the plant is coz it's a kind of wild plant who has many small fruits with purplish red juice
taransa (author)  Corwim2 years ago
That is awesome :) (sorry for the delayed reply!)
Looks great,nice job... Im curious to see how the color will change over time as well as the odor... Will it ferment? Will it cause fruit flies? Did you wax over top of the juice?
taransa (author)  SlickSqueegie2 years ago
I was actually going to post an update on that this afternoon. So far I have not done anything on top to seal it. Unsealed, it will come off as you clean up wet spills on it (so, maybe not a big deal on say a picture frame but not good on a table). I plan to try butcher block oil since it is a surface we serve food on, and someday (hopefully) there will be kids who might eat directly off of it.

We have not noticed any smell or any extra flies. Granted, we just hit our first big cold snap here (down into the low 50s outside during the day) so it isn't as big a fly season as June would be. I would imagine what fruit/veggies you chose would affect that - some are going to be more sugary than others.

So, perhaps if you live somewhere hot (which I do) this would be a better cool weather project, so you could properly let it dry before sealing it. But I do recommend sealing it especially if you think it will get wet.
Corwim2 years ago
Awesome!I remember I ‘ve dyed my wooden comb with vegetable stain
taransa (author)  Corwim2 years ago
Very cool! What color did you dye it?
kretzlord2 years ago
very cool! It's a shame the industrialized world has moved on to chemical stains when the plants around us give such awesome results. might i suggest This instructable to do the edges?
taransa (author)  kretzlord2 years ago
I was actually looking at that 'ible before I posted mine (I was trying to see if anyone else had posted about using vegetable based stain). If I do decide to redo the trim at all I will certainly revisit it, though at the moment I am liking the color combo. I will post an updated day time picture this weekend to help show the color that it is better.

Thanks for the link - it'll make it much easier to reference later :)
WriterChick2 years ago
This is wonderful. I'd no idea this was possible. Thanks so much for sharing an alternative to the heavy-in-nasty-chemicals stuff.
taransa (author)  WriterChick2 years ago
You are quite welcome! It was awesome that the strongest smell while I was working was beets lol :)
Lorddrake2 years ago
Great Job! I am always amazed at how much a little cosmetic adjustment, like an application of stain, will change the look of something so dramatically.

I like how you left the border unstained to get a two-tone table top.
taransa (author)  Lorddrake2 years ago
Thanks! I love customizing what I have - way cheaper than buying custom!

I really like the two-tone as well. I was a little unsure if it would work with the final color but it really makes it pop.