Tea/Vinegar/Steel Wool Stained Table
Room Makeovers

Dining Table Update

Table with Tea/Steel Wool/Vinegar Stain
Table with Tea/Steel Wool/Vinegar Stain

Well last week was a little crazy with wind storms and trees down everywhere but I did manage to find some time to work on the table. There wasn’t a whole lot else to do without power.  No complaints here though. It could have been a LOT worse.

So…while my very nice and thoughtful husband did this:

I did this:

Good thing my power sander was already charged so I could give the legs a few final touches before painting them. I’m diggin’ this look by the way.

This is the table now.Totally in love with this table. No really, I just sit and stare at it. Does that make me a little weird? Probably.

This is the table before.

So if you are wondering how I did this here goes.

I started by completely sanding the stain off the top with a power sander using 80 grit sanding pads since I knew I would be staining it. For the base I only gave it a rough once over sanding since I would be painting it. Then I did a little research online about “weathering” new wood. There are several ways to do it but this is the one I went with.

  • Step 1: Prep the stain. Soak some steel wool in white vinegar in a glass jar for at least 24 hours. I used steel wool grade #0000 and used enough vinegar to completely cover the wool. Here’ s a little tip. DO NOT screw the lid on tight. After about 20 minutes of it sitting on the kitchen counter we heard this strange noise like frying bacon or running water. When we realized it was my little science experiment, and found that the jar was HOT we panicked a little. Luckily Bill was brave enough to take it outside and open it. I was totally prepared for an explosion but thankfully nothing happened so I just sat the lid loosely on top. Crisis averted.

  • Step 2: After you have soaked the steel wool for at least 24 hours and are ready to use the stain you need to brew a strong cup of hot tea and let it cool.
  • Step 3: Apply the tea to the table. I applied one coat using a paint brush. Not a lot but just enough to soak into the wood. It totally freaked me out because this is how it looked wet. It went back to the original color after it dried and it dried pretty quickly.

  • Step 4: This is the best part. Apply the vinegar solution. I used a paint brush but you could also use a cloth. Just rub it on then wipe off the excess. It’s that easy. I actually applied a second coat just for kicks and because it looked a little light. You could give this a REALLY weathered look by banging the table up a little on the top but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I loved the look too much. I figure it will get beat up enough when we start using it.

Table with Tea/Steel Wool/Vinegar Stain

About the edge of the table…. it wasn’t wood so I had to paint it to match the color of the table top. I just applied one coat of Clark & Kensington paint then distressed it a little with 150 grit sandpaper to make it blend in with the wood. The color is called Slate Brown. I had originally found this paint swatch at Sears but I took it to Ace Hardware and they whipped it up for me.

I painted the base of the table with two coats of homemade chalk paint in Balboa Mist. It is a Benjamin Moore color but again I had it made in Clark & Kensington. If you don’t know about chalk paint I will just tell you. It. Is. Awesome. No sanding required, it will stick to anything, and it is easy to distress. There are a lot of ways to make it but this is the recipe I use. I found it at lizmarieblog.com. FYI…her blog is GREAT!

So that’s it for now. I’m currently working on the chairs and hope to have them done soon. I am painting them the same color as the table base but I’m thinking I will distress them so they look a little different from the table.

Refinished Dining Table

Now I just have to decide on a fabric for the chair seats. I’m loving ALL of these fabrics from fabric.com!!


Updated with Questions & Answers on 10/20/2015!!

I’ve had so many questions and e-mails about this process that I thought it would be a good idea to answer some of them here in this post. This is my most pinned project and I know y’all are using this tutorial, so I want to you to be able to do it with confidence and know what to expect. Here are the answers to the questions I have been asked the most.

  1. Did you add a protective finish? No, I didn’t. Not at first. I wanted to see how it would wear without it. Here’s the verdict. Even with tablecloths and place mats it got stained with regular use. But I was able to sand out all the discolored spots and reapply more stain before adding a protective finish.
  2. What did you use to protect it? When I did add the protective finish I used Rustoleum Ultimate Polyurethane in Matte finish. It’s one of my all-time favorite products. It protects really well and doesn’t leave a shiny finish.
  3. How may coats of stain did you use? One coat of tea and two coats of vinegar.
  4. Is it normal that it left a weird odor? An odor is normal but is should go away after a week or two. At least that was my experience.
  5. Do you have to soak the steel wool for 24 hours? Yes! So plan ahead. Start soaking it the day before you want to apply the stain.
  6. This process didn’t work on my piece. Why not? It can be unpredictable depending on the type of wood you’re using it on. This is why it’s so important to test it first, on a small spot of the piece you’re refinishing. Save yourself some time.
  7. Did you use a specific type of tea? I don’t remember exactly what kind of tea I used but I brewed it in my Keurig. I don’t really think it matters but it’s probably best to stick with something basic. Nothing flavored or scented.
Tea/Vinegar/Steel Wool Stained Table
Tea/Vinegar/Steel Wool Stained Table

I don’t actually have the table anymore. As much as I loved the look it just wasn’t the right size for our space. So I sold it to a very cool girl and I know it got a great home. That might sound a little weird but when you work that hard on something you want it to go to a home where it will be appreciated. 🙂



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