Staining wood with natural dyes is both environmentally friendly and a good alternative to using store-bought paints or wood stains. Using natural stains, there is less clean-up and less hazard of breathing in harsh fumes from some wood stains. The process can actually be done with pigments found in some favorite caffeinated beverages.
1. Tea Extract
Black tea contains tannins that will seep into wood grain and create a natural stain. Depending on the size of the wood piece you are staining, boil 1 to 2 quarts of water and soak about 15 to 20 black tea bags in it until the mixture is quite dark. After it cools, brush a coat over the wood and allow it about 2 hours to dry. This will create a light to medium stain; if you would like to darken it, this can be done by brushing on a coat of vinegar.
2. Coffee Stain
Brew enough strong, dark coffee to cover your wood piece, and allow it to completely cool. Brush a thorough coat over the wood and let it set for about 15 minutes, then wipe with a damp cloth. Coffee will produce a deep, rich brown color that shows up especially well in lighter woods.