Popsicle sticks have many uses including crafts projects -- such as stick puppets or miniature log cabins -- or even as a tactile tool in speech therapy. The wooden sticks are made from white birch trees or pressed sawdust and are naturally light in color which makes them easy to write on, paint or stain. Applying a stain to popsicle sticks before use in foods or crafts can make them visually appealing and will also save time.
Things You'll Need
1/2 inch paintbrush
2 clean cotton rags
Packet of Kool-Aid mix or similar drink mix
Mix one packet of drink mix or 20 drops of food coloring with 1/4 cup of warm water in a bowl. Stir with a Popsicle stick until the liquid is well mixed and not grainy.
Lay the Popsicle sticks in a single layer on a paper towel. Apply the stain mixture to one side of each of the sticks with the paintbrush. Allow the stain to dry before moving on to step 3.
Turn the Popsicle sticks over and use the paintbrush to stain the other, bare side of the stick. Allow the stain to dry before using the sticks.
Using Wood Stain
Lay the Popsicle sticks in a single layer on a paper towel.
Dip a small area of a rag into the wood stain. Allow excess stain to drip back into the can.
Apply the stain by rubbing the stain-soaked rag on the Popsicle sticks. Remove excess stain from the sticks by forcefully blotting the wood using the second cotton rag.
Dry the stained popsicle sticks according to the directions on the can of stain. Drying time may typically be 2-4 hours.
Turn the Popsicle sticks over and apply stain to the remaining side. Blot the sticks with the cotton rag to absorb excess stain. Allow the sticks to dry according to the directions on the can of stain.
To make the stain look more even for non-food-related projects, use fine sandpaper to sand the popsicle sticks and apply a second coat of stain or a coat of varnish.
If using the stained popsicle sticks with food items, use non-toxic, food-safe stain for the sticks. Don't use oil-based wood stain on popsicle sticks for crafts projects with small children. When using oil-based wood stain, avoid contact with skin and ensure that the room is well ventilated. Dispose of rags used for oil-based stains in a bucket of cold water outdoors until trash pick-up day to avoid self-combustion. (see reference 1)