When we were making a headboard for the spare bed in the nursery we came to the point of picking out a stain. Soren wanted to go with Weathered Oak (gray) and I was leaning towards Special Walnut. Neither were quite right, but we had so much stain on hand that we didn’t want to go buy any. I remembered seeing on Pinterest that there was a way to make your own vintage looking stain with vinegar and something else so I started researching.
Most of the ideas I found used apple cider vinegar and steel wool plus either coffee or tea. Luckily I had the vinegar and the steel wool on hand, but no tea or coffee. So we improvised and it came out even better than we could have planned!
Pero Vintage Stain
1 ball of fine steel wool
1 pint of apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. (give or take) of Pero (non-caffeinated coffee substitute)
Combine all of the ingredients in a jar and allow to sit for at least 24 hours. The longer it sits the darker the results. Mix occasionally.
After letting the stain sit for a day or two, we gave it a test run on another piece of the same wood. This is the amazing part- the color DEVELOPS! It just looks like you got the wood wet at first, but within 10 minutes the wood changes color. It darkens and brings out different parts of the wood grain. We just used cheap pine for our projects, but the way the stain works with the wood made it look like an expensive hard wood. My husband said he could apply and wipe away color wherever he wanted it. That was really unexpected.
We have made this stain twice and it has turned out different every time- likely because our ingredient ratio wasn’t the same each time. But both times we have LOVED the results. You can see the stain color develop on the dresser Soren made for the boys.
I love the dimension and different colors that this stain brings out in the basic pine wood. You can bet we’ll be using it again on future projects!