Aging Wood: Vinegar and Steel Wool Solution


When it comes to DIY projects, one of the things I often struggle with is patience. My husband is constantly reminding me that the quick way isn’t always the right way. When you have two toddlers and only a few hours of afternoon nap time, though, I am always looking for the fastest way to accomplish everything on my to-do list! The idea of aging wood always seemed like a long, drawn-out process to me. After finishing this project, I can assure you that it’s exactly the opposite!

I realize that there are hundreds of tutorials out there using this same homemade stain technique, but this project was so simple and so fast that I just had to share my experience with you guys!

Here is the list of materials you’ll need for this project:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Steel wool
  • Glass jar with a lid
  • Chip brush
  • Black tea bags

I found this large cutting board at a thrift store for two bucks, and because of it’s size I thought that it might make a neat serving tray.

The only thing I didn’t like about it was that the finish was a bit too yellow. Since I was all out of my regular go-to stain (Weathered Oak by Minwax) for aging wood, I decided to give this homemade stain recipe a try.

While this project was super quick and easy, unfortunately you still need to do some prep work before staining your surface. But don’t worry! I only waited 24 hours (many tutorials say to wait 2-3 days) and I still got great results!

Step 1:

Brew some tea. Since this was a smaller project, I used two tea bags and one cup of boiling water, then let it sit for a day.

Step 2:

Rip up a piece of steel wool and put it into a glass jar. I used grade #0000, it just happened to be what I had on hand. Any grade should work, but the finer the better. It will disintegrate faster and allow the solution to oxidize sooner. Fill your jar with vinegar and cover it with a lid.

Again, I only let my solution sit for a day. You’ll see the results in just a moment!

Step 3:

Clean your surface, then brush it with your tea.

The tannin in the tea will help to darken your surface once the vinegar is applied. I was too impatient (shocker!) to let the tea dry completely, so I almost immediately followed the tea coat with a coat of the vinegar and steel wool solution.


Now I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first. After applying both coats I thought, “Oh well, another failed Pinterest attempt.” Ha! So I walked away and started cleaning in another room. When I came back to check on it ten minutes later, this is what the board looked like:

You can see the wood is already starting to turn gray. After twenty minutes it was even darker, but I decided to brush it one more time with my vinegar and steel wool solution.


An hour later, my board looked like this:

Can you see the difference? Crazy!

I let the board dry completely and immediately styled it on my table the next day. The finish looks exactly like aged, weathered wood! In fact, now I’m thinking my dining room table is too yellow! Maybe I’ll be aging the wood on my tabletop in the future as well! 🙂



I think my board turned out beautifully, and I can’t wait to use this technique on future pieces!! Have any of you guys ever tried aging wood before? What process did you use? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

Much love,





Similar Posts


  1. So easy!! I’m gonna have to try that on some stuffs ? I laughed when you said your table looks too yellow now ? You’re so cute!

  2. Great idea! I have never tried a tea stain on wood, however, I have used it to dye a large doily my aunt made. It’s a beautiful piece but like your wood was too bland. I tea stained it, and it turned out perfectly! Thanks for posting!!

    1. Sheilah thank you!! I can remember my Mom using tea to stain things as well! Thanks so much for reading my blog, it means a lot to me 🙂

  3. First of all I would like to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I’ve had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there.
    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any
    recommendations or tips? Thank you!

    1. Hello! First of all, thank you for reading my blog. 🙂 Honestly, I struggle with the same exact thing! To tell you the truth, I often pray before I begin to write. I ask God to clear my thoughts and help me focus, and to give me the words to say. It really helps! When I blog, I view it as simply catching up with friends and telling them what I’ve been up to. That really helps to sort of “break the ice” and lead into my blog post. I hope this helps! Thanks again for reading! 🙂

  4. This is my first time to your blog. I’m building a scale boat from scratch and I want it to look old and weathered when finished.

    You direction were clear and easy to read/follow. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *