Hello all! I hope you had a good Easter weekend. My was good and peaceful and I amassed so many peeps. It was great. Last week, I shared my tutorial for making a gift card frame, which I embellished with a hand dyed wooden letter. As promised, here is my tutorial for how to dye wood with food coloring!
This tutorial is about as easy as they come. And if we’re being honest, I only chose to dye wood with food coloring because I didn’t want to have to buy paint. I was pleasantly surprised by the stained effect and how the wood grain came through, which I thought made a great accent for the wood of the frame. Want to learn how to do it yourself? Scroll through my tutorial below!
How to Dye Wood with Food Coloring
-Large glass jar/bowl (Don’t not use metal or plastic. Those materials may absorb some of the dye!)
-1 Tablespoon(ish) Vinegar
-Wood to be dyed
Heat enough water to cover your wood until it is hot enough to dissolve your dye, about a minute or two in the microwave. The heat is also helpful in getting the color to take. I just used kettle water from when I made my tea. Double-tasking for the win! Add about a tablespoon of vinegar. The acid is important in setting the dye.
Add your dye to the water. I used Wilton’s Food Coloring that comes in the little tubs, because I have a ton of it (I used to use it to dye yarn, which was great fun.), but the little four packs that you buy in the baking aisle work just fine as well. Wilton’s is more of a gel than a liquid, so I had to stir it around a bit before it dissolved.
A note about dyes:
Some dyes, like violet and black, have a tendency to break, meaning that your project may not absorb the color evenly. In the case of violet, it may absorb pink first and then the blue, leading to a more splotchy color. You can attempt to combat this by adding the vinegar gradually, rather than all at the beginning, and keeping the water temperature lower. Basically, avoid “stressing” the dye.
Submerge your wood in the dye. I ended up using a knife to hold the wood under the water, because it kept bobbing back to the top. Let it sit, checking the color periodically, until it is the color that you want.
I left my in for about 6-8 hours if I remember correctly. I just left it out on the counter.
Remove your wood from the dye, and let dry. I did not rinse my wood, I just set it on a stack of paper towels to dry. It will dry lighter than it looks while it is wet.
Once dry, you are free to use your dyed wood to embellish your projects! I really appreciate this method to dye wood with food coloring because it lets the wood grain show through. I think it gives it a subtle texture that makes it look really interesting.
So what do you think? Is this a technique that you would use? Let me know if you do. I want to see your projects!