Sunday, November 3, 2013

Making homemade Walnut Stain (Water Based)

Here is a fun 'old-fashion' project for autumn- making your own walnut stain!  This project was introduced to us by Boo's Grandma Lin, a hardy New Hampshire native, world traveler, and retired special educator for the American Schools, she has taught and lived all over the world!

Making homemade Walnut Stain 
(Water Based) 

Let the walnuts "cure" by spreading them out in a single layer in an open box or another area where they aren't in the way.  It takes about a week. It is important to not pile them. The green pulp around the nuts will slowly turn dark brown as the color from the nut inside leeches into the pulp. Any time after the entire pulp area turns brown you can start the stain making process.

First fill a pot half full of water and bring to a boil. It is best to use a camp stove or barbecue outside due to the smell.  
While you are waiting for the water to heat break the pulp on each nut into pieces to permit better water penetration. 
When the water is boiling fill the pot with pulp and nuts making sure there is enough water to cover all the material in the pot. 

Continue at a boil for an hour stirring frequently.
Now there are two ways to go about this next step. You can collect the liquid by pouring through a paint strainer or old pillow case after it cools (discarding the nuts and pulp remain) as we did. Or for a darker/richer stain you can let the whole mixture set for 24-48 hours, the longer it sits the darker the stain is supposed to become.  

Either way store in the stain in clean, clear plastic milk cartons, soda bottles, or the like filling only 3/4 full, in a freezer left out they will turn rancid and mold. Only use a glass jar if you are using the stain right away. 

Standard finishing techniques can be used including light sanding after staining and/or steel wool. 

Boo learning to stain a box.


  1. That looks so good! We have a walnut tree opposite our house, we can try that!

    1. Our stain was pretty light. Next time I think I will try letting the whole thing sit over night before separating the liquid. Have fun!