Crafts, DIY Projects, Woodworking

Coffee Wood Stain


A project that I’ve been working on recently (you’ll find out what it is soon!) involved me going on a trip to Home Depot to stock up on some wood and wood stain. Admittedly, this was my first woodworking project, so I needed everything from a saw down. Everything was reasonably priced and most were tools that I could use many times. I was quite happy with my basket, and everything was falling nicely into the budget that I had for this project.

Until I came to the wood stain aisle.

A tiny jar of wood stain (it was enough for my project, but still it was so small!) was about $20. $20 just for the stain?!?! Seeing as the other materials for my project totaled to about $10, this was more than double the cost of everything else put together. I just couldn’t convince myself to spend an additional $20 on a project that I was making myself in order to save money.

You crafters understand. We make things ourselves (yes because it’s fun) but also to SAVE MONEY! I was sure I could make a wood stain that would be just as good for what I was going to use it for.

After doing a bit of research, I found several ways to make a wood stain (I knew it!). I opted for this coffee method, because I already had everything on hand, so if it didn’t work out as I would have liked, it wouldn’t cost me anything. As an added bonus, I also love coffee, and I thought a coffee wood stain would appeal to me.

So here it is, my super simple recipe for a coffee wood stain:

Step 1: Gather Materials

All you need for this wood stain is a French Press, some coffee and a glass jar to store the stain when it’s finished.

My French Press coffee maker

Step 2: Add Coffee Grounds

Add 5-8 times the regular amount of coffee to the French Press. For me, since I was making 2 cups of stain and was using relatively strong coffee, I needed 10-16 tbsp of coffee (I ended up using 15 tbsp). It seems like a lot, but you will want this coffee strong! So don’t skimp on the tablespoons.

Add boiling water to the coffee grounds. (Proportional to the amount of grounds you added, in my case I used 2 cups boiling water). Using a spoon, give the mixture a quick stir to ensure that all the grounds are submerged.

Replace the top of the French Press and wait at least 30 minutes.

Step 3: Squeeze it Out

After 30 minutes have passed, push the lever down to strain out the coffee grounds from the (very strong) coffee.

Step 4: Finished

Carefully pour the coffee into a glass jar, and you are done! Wait for the stain to cool completely before applying to wood.

Seeing as this was the first time I’ve made my own wood stain, I was not sure how it would turn out. I therefore tested it on a paint stick, applying coats to certain sections. Now I have a guide to show how dark the stain will get with how many coats.


As you can see, after about 4 coats, additional layers don’t change the colour much. I’d therefore recommend 4 or 5 coats of this wood stain, to achieve the darkest results.

This wood stain leaves the wood with a lovely warm colour, which does remind me of coffee. It’s not a particularly dark shade, so if you wanted something like walnut, this wouldn’t work. But if you are like me, and enjoy warm woods, this works great! It ends up with a shade similar to Mahogany.

This wood stain worked perfectly for my project. If I were doing something big (like furniture) I would probably invest in the real stuff. However for little projects, this certainly does the trick!

TIPS for applying wood stain:

  • Use a foam brush to apply to wood. The foam brush will soak up the coffee for easy application
  • Be careful of dripping. Clean up excess stain with brush after each stroke, and apply in thin layers

I hope you enjoyed this diy wood stain, keep your eyes out for more posts on the project(s) that I used this for!

Keep Crafting,

~ Mary




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