My (almost) free IKEA stool makeover

So, I had this boring old IKEA step stool.  I love it for it's convenience and it's $14.99 price point, but I didn't love much else about it.

The unfinished wood is a magnet for kid fingerprints, spilled soap and water in the bathroom and other random spots that have accumulated along the way.

I had toyed with staining it for a long time, but after a while the wood was too worn and I worried I would never get a nice enough finish if I tried to stain it.

After seeing a few posts here and there about how to weather new wood using steel wool, vinegar and tea, I decided that making the wood look aged was the perfect way to make it blend it with our decor a little more.

Here's what you need:

  • Unfinished wood
  • Mason jars
  • Tea bags
  • Steel wool
  • Vinegar
  • Paint brush
Here's what you need to do:

About 24 hours before you start your project, mix up two mason jars.  One with a few tea bags and some water, the other with a chunk of steel wool and some vinegar.  Let both sit overnight.
Note:  More tea bags = darker stain, fewer tea bags = lighter stain.  

Dip your paint brush in the tea mixture and coat the entire wood surface with the tea.  The wood looked so lovely at this point that I considered with just stopping here, but I wanted to see the end result so I kept at it.

After you have covered the wood with the tea stain, coat it again with the steel wool/vinegar mixture.  The wood will look like nothing is happening right at first, and then after a few minutes the oxidation begins to happen, and a nice weathered gray color will start to appear.  You can see in the picture above that the lower step is already starting to turn color.

Once you have covered the wood in the steel wool mixure, let it dry completely, then you can coat it in a layer of furniture wax or polyurethane.  I opted for wax since I had some on hand, but you can do whatever you like, including leaving it unfinished to add to the aged look over time.

I'm pretty happy with the end result over all!  Best of all I like the fact that I was able to create this look using items I had on hand, making this makeover practically free!

Mar | 2015

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