Months ago, I bought 6 bundles (10 pcs of 4 x 44 x 1/2″ palochina planks) of second-hand palochina from this supplier. I have used most of the woods for various projects in our house including my DIY sofa. This pallet wall art is one of those.
I am not exactly a fan of palochina’s natural wood color. It’s too yellowish for me and I often see them polished and varnished which make them look too ordinary. I am after a worn out, rustic, vintage look I usually see in Pinterest. Since I am pregnant, I am trying to stay away from chemicals and so I am in experimental mode of using natural materials to finish my DIY projects. This is my first time to stain a wood using what’s available in our kitchen–coffee!
I have used similar brownish wood stain before but I find it too dark, it covers the wood’s natural grains. I want the opposite which is to show the grains and coffee did what I had in mind.
To achieve the antique effect, most of the tutorials I’ve seen in the web use coffee grounds (used, of course) and steel wool mixed with 1-2 cups vinegar which they let stand overnight. I don’t have a steel wool and my husband drinks instant coffee (not the 3-in-1 kind) so I have to use what’s only available.
My first mixture was too light. Remember, you’re not drinking black coffee, you’re staining wood. So, not wanting to use up all my husband’s coffee, I used the rest of my old decaf instant coffee and it worked! Haha! Here’s what I did:
1. Mix 4 tbsp. instant coffee (caffeinated or decaf) with 1/4 cup hot water. (This was enough for my 3 planks but feel free to add using the same proportion if needed.)
2. Apply 1 layer and let it dry outside first (preferably under the sun for fast drying) before applying 2 or more layers.
Also, I’m not sure if it’s because I let it dry in our dry our storage room that it smelled like dried pee after a week or if it was because I used decaf. I did the same thing with our shoe rack but I used regular instant coffee and had let it dry outside. It still smells wonderful!
3. For the last layer, instead of using steel wool to add grayish dimension to the wood, put a small drop of black acrylic paint (I used the one from my acrylic set) in the coffee mixture. But be careful with the black though or your wood would look more like a charcoal than antique wood.
After the stain had dried completely, I sanded the wood using 180 grit sandpaper to prepare it for my “vintage” beach signage. The color kinda faded a bit which I really like. Next, using a white chalk, I drew my letters. If you’re hesitant to draw your letters freehand, you can always print out your letters, cut them, then trace them on your wood.
To make my signage a bit realistic, I sanded the letters after the paint had dried. Clean up the powdered paint that had scattered along the edges of the letters by using a damp sponge.
Lastly, since this will only be used as a wall art, I used clear gloss lacquer varnish (P58.00 from local hardware store) instead of polyurethane, to protect the wood. Two coats will do.
And my finished “vintage” wooden sign using coffee as stain. 🙂