5 minutes to make, 24 hours to brew


2 hours to apply and dry


Enough wood stain for a 10 sq ft butcher block countertop



DIY Wood Stain

All you need is coffee grounds, vinegar, and a steel wool to get the aged wood look coveted by pretty much everyone these days.
  • steel wool
  • 1 tbsp coffee grounds
  • 1 quart white vinegar
  • sealable container (mason jar sized)
  • tung oil (post-stain finish)

Cheat Sheet

  • The coffee grounds give the otherwise grey stain a bit of a brown tint. If you prefer a silvery gray color, just nix the coffee grounds altogether.
  • Don't be scared if the finish looks bad after staining — it will be ashy but once you finish it with the oil, it warms up and deepens significantly.
  • Make sure to apply the oil finish in a dust free location — little specs of dust will be visible once the oil cures. Oil every couple of months to protect wood from water damage.

Old is the new new, especially when it comes to wood decor. Turns out, achieving that grey, salvaged look popularized by Restoration Hardware and found on everything from IKEA hutches to West Elm coffee tables is an easy three-ingredient process. Transform any raw wood item into a high design decor piece with a little white vinegar, coffee grounds, and some elbow grease. Yes, really.

Lesson Plan

  1. Combine coffee grounds, vinegar, and steel wool in your sealable container (mason jars work great).  Let it sit for 24 hours. The vinegar will begin to dissolve the steel wool.
  2. After 24 hours, fish the steel wool out of the container.
  3. Rub the steel wool over your wood, dipping the wool back in the container for more liquid as necessary.
  4. Allow the first coat to stand for one hour, then do a second coat. Two coats should do the trick (we went with two on our butcher block countertops and were pumped with the results — see photo), but if you’d like a darker color still, go for a third round.
  5. Wipe off lingering coffee grounds when the solution dries. Finish with a coat of tung oil.