Whole Green Love | Monthly Archive | September

14 Sep

I’m not really a crafty person.

But doesn’t pinterest make you feel like you can create anything? I’m embarrassed to say this, but most of the projects I find, Nic ends up doing most of the time. That’s so bad! But he’s so handy and good at creating things that it just ends up that way. I wouldn’t use the word “crafty” to describe Nic. More like a hands on-perfectionist-likes to get projects done, kind of guy. Love him.

So. I finally did a project on my own. I created a height chart for Lyla. She is growing so fast and is so tall (95 percentile – holla!) that I really wanted to start tracking her height. I saw some super cute wooden height charts on pinterest, mostly linking to etsy.com. I thought, c’mon, I can do this. I bought all the supplies – the board, paint, brush, and we already had the color stain I wanted to use. And then, six months went by.

Here is the thing with me and crafty projects: I hate starting something that I can’t finish RIGHT AWAY! Mom of a two year old + working + running a household= No time. That’s why I procrastinate on these things. But last weekend I started and finished Lyla’s height chart!

Not to toot my own horn (but I’m going to): I really liked how it turned out! Should I start selling these babies on etsy, or what?!

(When we hang this on the wall, it will be mounted 6 inches from the floor. We just haven’t chosen a place for it yet.)

So, I finished this one and then thought it would have really been cool to stain it with a more natural option. I attempted creating my next height chart with a coffee stain.

How to Stain Wood Naturally with Coffee

What you need:

1 cup of coffee grounds (the darker, the better)

1 ¼ cup of boiling water

Coffee filter

Mesh strainer

Whatever piece of wood you want to stain

Fine grit sand paper


Towel or rag

Put the coffee grounds into a bowl that can withstand high heat. Carefully pour your boiling water over the grounds and let sit for at least 30 minutes and until cool. Place a coffee filter in the mesh strainer and slowly pour the water and coffee grounds mixture through the filter and into a container that will hold your coffee stain. It’s also good to choose a container that you can easily dip your paintbrush into.

Setup the wood you wish to stain in a safe area to get messy or cover the floors/surrounding furniture (I like to do this entire project outside, if weather permits. I get Pandora going, sip on some tea, zone out, and get crafty.) Use a fine grit sand paper to sand the surface, edges, and sides. Wipe the surface clean with a dry rag or towel to remove any dust.

Now you can get to staining! Dip your paintbrush into the coffee stain, let most of the excess drip off for a few seconds, and brush the stain onto the wood. Use even strokes and be sure to cover all visible areas. Do not use so much stain that it pools on the surface. Allow to dry (I did not wipe off excess stain, as opposed to if you are using an oil based stain. I let it soak into the wood). Repeat stain layers until you achieve the desired shade.

In my eyes (which really, really, really love dark wood stain), I wasn’t totally in love with the final product, even after four coats of the coffee stain. I want to be honest here and let you know that I did end up re-staining the board to get the dark color I desired.

I still thought it was important to share this technique because:

  • There is a noticeable difference in the wood color (which I wish the before and after pictures better depicted), so if you are looking to stain wood and aren’t hoping for a very dark color, this might be a great option for you.
  • The staining process was much more enjoyable with the coffee vs. conventional oil based stain which is stinky and can really do damage if it accidently gets on a surface you didn’t want it to.
  • If you are pregnant, very sensitive to fumes, or need to stain something in an area that is not well ventilated, coffee stain may be the way to go.

Have you ever tried staining wood with anything other than a conventional stain? How did it turn out?