Homemade Black Walnut Stain
Ok, so let's get back to nature and start thinking about what is around us to use in our crafting life. For this, we are making a natural stain from Black Walnuts. The cost is nil, other than just some time. It's alchemy that you will be doing here; which is turning one thing into another. Don't over think it because it is really quite simple. The walnuts contain a chemical called Juglones which produces its dark color. This is what makes it poisonous to other plants (Like tomatoes!) and some people and animals can be allergic to them. The Romans named them Juglans Regia in honor of the Roman God Jupiter. Walnut trees are one of the oldest that man harvested from dating back to 7000bc.
Make sure to wear gloves!
- The green walnuts on a tree are best, look for larger trees for larger harvests!
- Green outer shells (husk) mean a high concentration of juglone, but you can use any age so long as the husk is still on them.
- Keeping the husks after opening and toss the inner parts (compost is good, but not for use on certain plants~see list below for the list from a horticulture site that can be useful to gardeners!).
- Filling a large pot with 2 gallons of water - mix in the husks.
- Bring the mixture to a rolling boil for 1.5 hours - stirring every so often.
- When the water cooks down to about a 1/4 (about a half a gallon) strain the husks and discard them (again note compost).
- Let the resulting liquid cool.
- You can now start staining!
Warning: It also will need to be kept refrigerated it is a natural juice meaning it is perishable & it will go bad.
Tips for staining: Because this is a water-based stain, you will have to sand lightly between the coats as it will raise the grain of the wood. It will make your wood a rich golden color. Note the more coats you use ~ the darker it will get. The image below is a sample of what it would look like on Oak and Maple at 1 coat. It can also be used as a base for dying fabrics or make ink.
~Vegetables such as tomato, potato, eggplant and pepper, and ornamentals such as lilac, peony, rhododendron, and azalea are particularly sensitive to juglone. Read more here.