Age or Stain Wood With Vinegar

4 Materials
10 Minutes
I have heard about this technique for years - long before I even knew what a blog was...and finally got around to trying it. I think I might be in love! Staining my wood (that I use to make signs) with a mixture of cider vinegar and steel wood is so easy, cheap and effective! I am redoing my fireplace and hope to use this method on the new mantel. This method is very easy and requires very few ingredients...don't overthink it, but do let your creativity and the beauty of this stain inspire you! Be sure to protect your work surface and to wear gloves to protect your hands!

NOTE/EDIT: Wood reacts differently to different treatments and in different environments - even wood I purchase from the same place at the same time does not always take the stain the same. Another factor is how long you let the mixture sit/stew - generally the longer it sits, the darker the color. I recently moved to Texas and this stain reacts completely different here than it did in California. If possible test the stain on scrap wood first.
I quickly and easily painted the cider vinegar stain on the plain wood with a cheap paint brush (no need for fancy equipment). Instantaneously it changed to give me this beautiful brown aged wood color.
It take very few supplies to create this stain...and the supplies are inexpensive. I used 1 gallon of cider vinegar, and 6 pads of 0000 steel wool. Of course you will need a bucket (or other vessel for this to soak in).
When it was time to stain the wood, I placed some of the vinegar mixture in a smaller jar, covered my work space (this stains concrete too) and using a cheap brush, just painted on the stain. The color is instant...just let it dry.
Here is a side by side of the before and after process. I let my vinegar/steel wool mixture sit for about a week. Man it was stinky but the result was worth it. Less soaking = lighter color stain.

Suggested materials:

  • Cider Vinegar
  • Water
  • Steel Wool
See all materials

Holly Lefevre
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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  2 questions
  • Mar32554540 Mar32554540 on Jan 29, 2018
    I want to do a photo transfer on wood. My question is do i stain with viniger/steel wool mixture first or after the photo transfer. Thanks any help will be appreciated

  • Carrie Totten Carrie Totten on Mar 24, 2018

    I tryed this to get a weathered wood look on a coffee table and it dryed with a pinkish tint. Not the color I was going for. Any tips on how to fix this?


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