Create Colorful Ornaments Using Natural Wood Stains

ornaments stained with natural wood stains

Last summer I spent some time playing around with natural wood stains. I used steel wool, coffee, tea and a variety of juices and, as one might expect, the results varied pretty wildly. Some of the colors had a bit more kick than I was looking for at the time (I referred to the beet juice stain as “Barbie Doll Pink”), but as we set up this year’s Christmas tree it occurred to me that the bold colors that didn’t hold much appeal for me as stain for household trim would look downright spectacular as tree ornaments.

Boy was I right. This easy project took just a few minutes of effort and I love the splashes of color we got on our tree from using fruit juice to stain simple wooden cutouts.

Ornaments were soaked overnight in juices including blueberry, cranberry, carrot and beet (and a terrific shade of  yellow by stirring turmeric into a cup of water). I love the “ole-timey” look they give our tree, and I’m already wondering what else I can use to stain future homemade ornaments. Red wine, anyone?

Click through the simple steps below to learn how to add bold, natural colors to your holiday decorating tradition.


Step 1

 Open Gallerywooden ornaments stained with natural stains

If you’re handy with a Dremel, you can use cookie cutters as templates to cut your own ornaments, but wooden trinkets or cutouts can be found at any craft store. We kept it simple this year with basic star and circle shapes.

Step 2

 Open Gallerywooden ornaments stained with natural stains

Look to the kitchen for vibrant colors to be used as natural stains. Here we’re using blueberry juice, carrot juice, beet juice, cranberry juice and a couple of tablespoons of turmeric in a cup of water. Rather than applying stain with a rag or brush, we got great results simply soaking our ornaments in the juices overnight using forks to keep them submerged.

Once the stain has done its job, remove the ornaments, wipe them down with a rag and spread on parchment paper to dry.

Step 3

 Open Gallerywooden ornaments stained with natural stains

Use a sharp bit to drill holes in each ornament so that twine may be attached for hanging.

Step 4

 Open Gallerywooden ornaments stained with natural stains

Cut twine into 6 inch lengths, thread through drilled holes and tie a knot to form a loop.

The cheerful colors of our natural stain choices worked well, but just about any juice or liquid with rich color can be used to make your own!


  • Wood cutouts (round or holiday-themed)
  • Richly-colored fruit juices (eg: beet, carrot, blueberry, cranberry)
  • Twine


  • Cups or bowls
  • Parchment paper
  • Drill with sharp bit
  • Scissors
About Mick Telkamp 


A former Midwesterner living in North Carolina, I write about my adventures in backyard chicken-keeping and suburban homesteading over at HGTVGardens, and my exploits in the culture of Southern cooking ...

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