Introduction: How to Make DIY Wood Dye (Easy and Cheap)

In this Instructable, I'll show you a quick way to make wood die for very cheap. The colour it makes is really rustic, so everybody might not like it. However, it's a useful technique to know.


First, you need to find some Steel Wool. I bought mine from a local hardware store and it cost three bucks for a pack of 12. You could of course order some of Amazon, if you're patient enough (patience is something you'll need for this project)

/Another option is to use some rusty nails/screws.

You'll also need some classic vinegar (I tried a variety of different types of vinegar and they all act differently - the classic transparent vinegar is the safest choice). Here again, it won't cost you a kidney, I bought a bottle of 1L for 60 cents. For the rest of the supplies, you'll also need a mason jar and some salt (optional).

Step 1: Watch the Video

Warch the video to some wood dye making in real life.

Step 2: Making the Dye (and Waiting..)

Making the stain is really simple: you just need to dump a roll of steel wool (or rusty nails, screws, etc..) in a jar. Then fill the jar with vinegar and leave the mixture do its thing.

NB: Leave the lead open so the oxidizing reaction can take place!

The reaction takes usually between a week and a month, it depends on the acidity of the vinegar and the kind of metal you put in the jar.

Once the reaction is over, there shouldn't be any steel wool left and the vinegar should be brown. This liquid is really hard to get off from the skin and almost impossible from furniture and clothes!!!! (unless you use sandpaper and scissors). So be very careful when handling it and don't wear you Supreme shirt or pants when dealing with this stuff!

Step 3: The Results

Well, the dye is already done - in one step! I still can't get over it.

Now let's talk business: how does the dye perform?

Well, it certainly stains wood pretty good (haha, see what I did there).

However you can't really control what colour the dye will make: it is a reaction happening in the wood, so the final appearance takes some time to settle.

I also experimented with cider vinegar and a combination of vinegar and salt. They all give different colours, but the simpe vinegar gives the darkest colour:

1: Vinegar

2: Vinegar + Salt

3: Cider vinegar

4: Commercial wood dye

Step 4: Last Words

Thank you for reading my Instructable! I hope you liked it. It's really short this time, but the project itself is also very simple.

Have a wonderful day!

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