How to Make Wood Stain with Rusty Nails

Wood stain adds beauty, character and essential protection to bare wood surfaces. Make your own stain with ordinary cider vinegar and rusty nails. Take a look around the garage and in the backyard for discarded, rusty metal and iron parts to add to this environmentally friendly wood stain formula.

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Cover stained wood with urethane or varnish to preserve the finish.

Step 1

Place the rusty nails, metal or iron parts into a clean glass jar or other non-reactive container.

Step 2

Pour 1 pt. of cider vinegar into the jar, completely covering the rusty nails and metal.

Step 3

Twist the jar lid into place to cover it tightly.

Step 4

Store the jar at room temperature. Leave the contents undisturbed for one week.

Step 5

Tumble and stir the nails and metal in the jar when the week is up. The contents will begin to appear rust-colored and murky. Rust particulates will begin to separate from the nails and metal.

Step 6

Uncover the jar and leave it at room temperature for 15 days to allow for evaporation and stain development.

Step 7

Inspect the contents for evidence of a dark amber color after 15 days. Stretch a thin layer of cheesecloth across another clean container and secure it with a rubber band or clothespins.

Step 8

Pour the liquid contents of the jar through the cloth. This separates sediment, particulates and rust fragments from the new wood stain. Discard the cheesecloth when finished.

Step 9

Transfer the stain back into the glass jar and replace the lid. Cover tightly until you are ready to use it.