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.
Immediately after applying the stain.
10 minutes later.
The finished color with a coat of polyurethane on top.
And here is the headboard with a different batch of stain on it. The wood is the same, but the stain didn’t go on as dark this time.
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!