How to Turn Oak Wood From Brown to a Wonderful Green

Introduction: How to Turn Oak Wood From Brown to a Wonderful Green

About: Hi... I am an engineer by training, I have a number of patents, and I love making new things.

There is a little known technique which can be used to turn the color of oak wood from brown to a very interesting green color.

The method is very safe and is described in this Instructable.

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Step 1: What Is Needed...

As shown in the image, the following items are needed:

#1 Warm Water

#2 Baking Soda

#3 A Brush

#4 The Oak wood part that is to be turned green!

#5 Safety Glass (Although the mixture of baking soda and water is rather harmless it is a good practice to wear eye protection.)


#1 Mix several tablespoons of Baking Soda into the warm water.

#2 Apply the baking soda / water solution to the oak wood part.

#3 Reapply as needed.

#4 Wait for the color change to occur. ( Typically takes about 30 mins to see the full color change.)

Step 2: Example of Baking Soda Solution Applied...

The above image illustrates what the oak part will look like when the baking soda & water solution is first applied.

Step 3: Closeup View...

This image is a closeup view of the freshly painted oak part.

Step 4: Color Change Started....

This image is of the oak part after about 5 minutes of time. The green color is just starting to show up.

Step 5: WOW! Green Color in Full Force!

After about 30 to 40 minutes the full depth of the green color change will be apparent!

In this image, the area of the oak wood that was painted with the baking soda and water mixture in now very green in color. The area of the oak part that was not painted with the mixture can be seen to be still light brown in color.

The depth of the green color can be adjusted by the concentration of water to baking soda in the mixture and also by the amount time the solution remains on the oak part.

Typically, after the part has reach the green shade that I like, I stop the reaction by rinsing the oak part with fresh water and then drying the oak part off.

The oak part will need to dry completely before additional finishing steps such as sanding and sealing are done.

Step 6: Before and After ....

The above images show the before and after shots of an oak wood part that was finished using this green color changing method that was just described.

The process of color change is related to the baking soda and water mixture chemically interacting with the oak's tannins that are naturally in the wood.

Wood such as a white maple does not have the same reaction because the level of tannins in maple is much lower.

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    4 years ago

    I accidently discovered this about a week ago when I tried using baking soda for the electrolyte in water for making Lichtenberg figures, fortunately it just made things more interesting.
    However, I wouldn't have known for sure until the next batch I did because at first I thought it was the green rag I left soaking in the mixture haha!