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Easy Recipe for Rustic Wood Stain

July 25, 2016

Do you hate the mess, smell, and work involved with using traditional wood stain?  Find out the secret ingredient for easily adding an aged and rustic look to your unfinished wood.

CREATE   |   Published July 25, 2016

You've got to see this easy technique for giving bare wood an old, rustic stained finish.  |

One of my least favorite do-it-yourself tasks is staining wood.  There is something in my genetic makeup that obviously is missing because I seem to lack the basic skill.  Give me a long straight board and I could stain it like a champ.  But to actually stain something built of wood with edges and joints?  I'll pass.  That is why you'll normally see me just adding a little hemp oil or polyurethane to the bare wood and enhancing the natural finish.

In the past, I showed you how to give wood an old look using Miss Mustard Seed's Antiquing Wax.  (See my finished dough bowl using that technique.)  The look is realistic, but that process was time consuming and can be pricey because of the cost of the wax.  And for something small and intricate, it really would not be worth the effort.

Love the look and patina of old wood?  Check out this recipe for creating the look yourself on something new.  |

The good news is that I may have just found the easiest "staining" technique that will give you a realistic rustic, aged look with very little time or money invested.  

The secret ingredient?  Instant coffee.

This technique will work perfectly on anything wood you can submerge into the coffee.  If your item is too big for a pan or bowl, try using a large plastic storage box.  (It will get coffee stained, so don't go empty out your box of Christmas decorations thinking they can go back inside when the project is done!)

These cute clothespins were stained with instant coffee to give them the look and age of vintage wood.  What an easy DIY!  |

So here is what you do.....


|     Boil enough water to ALMOST cover the wood item that you are staining.

|     Add instant coffee to the water and stir until it dissolves.  The amount of coffee you'll add depends on how much water and how dark of a stain you want to create.  Add more coffee if it is not dark enough or a little more water if it is too dark.

|     Add what you are staining into the coffee mixture.  Use a spoon to pour some of the coffee over the top of the piece not covered by the liquid.

|     To further add age, sprinkle more coffee granules over the top.  This is why the coffee should not cover over the item you're staining.  These granules will form some darker "age spots" on the wood as they clump together and dry.  (And yes, this step does look a little gross!)

|     Leave the item in the coffee until it looks as though it has reached your desired stain least a few hours but maybe up to overnight.  Swish the coffee around over the clumps of coffee you sprinkled to dissolve what is left.  You may need to repeat this process a few times to put spots over the entire piece.  You may also find that the type of wood you are trying to stain does not take the color as easily as others, and you may have to put it back into the mixture to continue the process.

|     Lay the coffee stained piece out on a piece of waxed paper to dry and be amazed at the primitive looking stain job you just created!

Read here to learn the easiest way to stain wood. |

This technique is still a little messy and your hands will get coffee stained if you aren't careful or don't wear gloves.  But it is still so much easier and doesn't smell bad like conventional stain does.  And for a project like aging these clothespins, adding them into the coffee ensures that every part, including the inside portion of the clothespin, is completely covered in the stain without any trouble.

So what side of the staining fence are you on?  Are you like me and dread the task or do you consider yourself a master stainer?

Please know that some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This allows me to make a small commission if you purchase something, but your price will stay the same.  I only will share products I believe in and all opinions are my own.  You can view my disclosure policy here.  Thank you so much for helping to support this blog!

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