Dyeing is a creative way to use leftover pieces of wood to make toys such as colored stacking blocks for a child, picture frames or even wooden beads for jewelry-making. You can use wood dye, which is manufactured in many different colors, but food color is both bright and non-toxic, making it perfect for objects that are going to be in contact with food or children. Using food color may not create as long-term a finish as a chemical colorant, but it's safer.
Things You'll Need
- Food coloring
- Light-colored pieces of wood, such as pine or oak
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- White vinegar
- Plastic zip bags, 1 gallon
- Food-safe wood finish
Prepare Your Wood
Sand your pieces carefully to ensure the edges are entirely smooth. Rinse off the dust and let your pieces dry thoroughly before proceeding.
Stir a few drops of food color into 1/4 cup of warm water. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and mix. Adjust the amount of food color until the water is the desired shade; more food color will make a darker stain.
Place the wood-and-dye solution into a 1-gallon zippered bag; let it soak for at least a minute and longer if you want a darker stain.
Remove the wood pieces from the dye and allow them to dry completely. Paint the finished pieces with a food-safe wood finish to protect the dye.
Tips & Warnings
- You can also use coffee and dark fruit juices such as grape juice or beet juice to dye wood. Fabric dyes also will dye wood.
- The dye will fade over time, so you may want to stain the wood a darker color in the beginning.
- Photo Credit Emevil/iStock/Getty Images
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