Friday, May 2, 2014

Tea Staining Wood

Have you ever heard of staining wood with tea? Neither had until I got a free table. 
I loved my other table. It's still sitting off to the side waiting to be sold actually. But the drop sides led to the surface being a little uneven and the top wasn't real wood. When I told someone had an antique that had a bad finish and needed some work that was going to Salvation Army if I didn't want it, I jumped. 
I didn't know what to do with it so I left it as is while I thought about it and made sure the size worked for me. It had lots of scratches and water rings, which made me feel not guilty about possibly painting it. 
I finally decided I'd paint the legs white and stain the top. I found this great looking grey stain that I would stain it with after I got the original stain off.
It was a super super messy job. Note the floors.
I was covered in oak-colored dust. There is something about sanding furniture that helps me find myself. I got lots of great finding myself done and good music listened to. 
This was it when I was done. Isn't it soooo pretty? I wanted to leave it like that but knew I'd need to protect it if we'd be eating on it.
So I got my gloves and brush and went to work
Here it is after getting it all on. It was really close to the cabinet color so I was hoping it would coordinate well
Here it is after rubbing off the stain. I HATED it. Maybe this is someone's cup of tea, but it's not mine. 
So I was back to square one. And I remembered my french doors directly behind the table and realized it'd make my life and clean up MUCH easier if I just dragged the table out there to sand. The grey stain was way harder to get off than the oak for sure. After 2 days of sanding I got the table mostly back to its bare glory. My mom sent me a link about tea stain as a possible idea for the table. 
So I grabbed a glass jar, some steel wool, and vinegar. 
Rip/pull apart the steel wool and pour vinegar over it to completely cover it. Loosely put the lid on and put it in a dry cool place for at least 24 hours. 
While I was waiting the pets and I sanded
Taped and painted
and moved it back in
Again I adored the rough top but needed to protect it. I decided that if the tea thing didn't work I'd sand it and leave it as is. 
Next you brew some strong hot tea. After it's cooled brush it on. 
This was it going on
Here it is after it dries. The top went back to the way it looked before. Here is the "stain" after it's ready. It looks no different. I was quite sure that it wouldn't work since it didn't smell any different from vinegar and was clear. How nice to work with something easy on the lungs!
Here it looks after brushing it on. I knew that it really worked when I saw the marks that it left when I accidentally touched it to the white paint. It didn't come off either! 
Here it is about 5 minutes after brushing it on to one side of the table 

Here it is after 15:
And after an hour:
Doesn't it look good? I love that it's natural and rustic and not 100% painted like the rest of the kitchen
After it dried I gave it a couple of coats of polyacrylic
I love it. It's weathered but slick looking
And it has some really cool looking depth
It was so easy and fume free to tea stain! I will definitely do that before Minwax next time!

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