Can you color wood naturally? Are there any purely natural dyes you can use to add color to wood? That’s the question we asked ourselves when developing a new side table. And the answer is yes! How and what are we going to discuss in this blog. The idea for the shape of the side table was more or less determined when we started looking into applying natural dyes. Thus, with wood we not only use a pure natural base material, but we also keep the finish natural.
Coloring of wood
Some things to use for coloring wood are turmeric, carrot, vinegar with steel wool, coffee and beetroot. Each of these options gives its own color to the wood. The color effect of most is obvious, vinegar into which steel wool is soaked gives an aging, greying effect. You can find a few things about it online, but ultimately it comes down to doing your own tests. For our side table, we chose red beets. This fits best with the idea of the table and it also has the most intense coloration and therefore the best effect.
For the first tests we did, we used pure beetroot juice. You can buy this at the supermarket in 75-cl bottles. We used pine and ash to do the tests on. Of course, you get a different effect applying it on other types of wood. Some woods absorb color more than others. You can apply the juice with a brush or you can dip them if the wooden parts are small enough. If you find the effect of one layer too strong, you can dilute the beet juice with, say, natural vinegar. If you want to achieve a really deep red color, apply several layers of pure beet juice. The result is wood with a deep red glow, while you can still clearly see the grain of the wood. The end grain side of the wood absorbs more, making that side deeper and darker in color than the other sides.
After a few weeks, you will notice that the deep red color of the beets becomes duller and turns more toward brown. This is because every type of wood yellows under the influence of light, and the red pigment of the beets oxidizes. You can reduce these processes by finishing the wood. This can be done, for example, with three coats of Traelyx furniture lacquer. This also protects the wood against moisture.