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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wood Coloring Test

This week's video is a bit different and was a lot of fun to make for you. It all started a while back when I made up the square planter kit. If you remember I had used a water based marker to stain the wood. After I had the video filmed and the pictures taken I had posted one of the photos on the Facebook page (link here if you haven't joined us yet) and asked what everyone thought I had used. There were a lot of really good guesses, none of them correct but good guesses. One thing I noticed was that a lot of you worded your guess with something like “I hope you used ___ because I have been wondering if it would work.” This gave me an idea, why not get some suggestions of things to try and do just that, try them. I asked on the Facebook page for suggestions and here are most of those. There were a few things I didn't have on hand and would not have gotten used so I skipped those and I added a couple of my own ideas that occurred to me as I was filming this.

I do apologize if this video seems to be a bit disconnected, I filmed the first part about 2 weeks before I had time to finish it up. Hopefully I managed to still give you an experiment that will help you out or at least satisfy your curiosity.

I want to say before we talk about the items I tested that I don't really recommend using some of these things on your minis. I just wanted to see what they would do and if you do decide to use them understand that these have not been tested for long term stability. They could do any number of bad things to the wood they are applied to especially the food based ones. Some of the non food ones would be fine and I will mention those as we go along.

The first thing I tested was a sampling of alcohol based markers. I love my markers for making cards and for my art journaling and they were one of the suggestions. I have three brands of these markers: my Spectrum Noir markers (which I love), Sharpie, and Bic Mark-it. I picked a brown in each brand so you could hopefully see how they work. As I expected these worked great and I am certain they would be fine long term. One big advantage of these markers is that they come in so many colors. Also if you are like me and you tend to do a lot of different craft/art things it is so nice to be able to use the same products in many different ways.

Test number 2 was nail polish. I happen to know this one works and works really well because I have used it many times. I usually do use the nail polish over a coat of light color acrylic paint since it tends to be pretty sheer on the wood. For this test I omitted the undercoat of paint. I had the two colors I used on my desk since I had recently purchased them so that was the reason I used the colors I did. Once again we are working with a product that I know will work long term. Nail polish has many of the same advantages that the markers do- I already have a bunch of it and it is nice to be able to use it for another purpose and it again comes in just about any color you can think of. There are even polishes that have specialty finishes (marble, crackle, glitter, etc) to give you even more options.

Next up was our first “food” item- food coloring. I decided to grab a both the standard liquid variety and some gel food color and I decided to use yellow for both types. I felt like the test would be more fair between the two if I used the same color. I have no idea how this will hold up long term but it did give a good color pay off. It is something most of us have in the kitchen so that is a plus. I am interested to see how this one looks later on.

In my opinion the ketchup and mustard were total washouts, they really didn't give much color at all. The mustard did work a bit better than the ketchup and I suspect that the bright yellow “hot dog” mustard would have been better. We had 4 different containers of mustard in the fridge and this was the one with the most color so that is why I used it. It will be interesting to see how these look in 6 months though.

Coffee and tea were next up on the test and I was actually surprised that they didn't do better. I use both of these to age and color fabric all the time and they do a really good job of that. For the wood the staining was minimal but still noticeable. I think they would be great for adding water spot marks to ceilings and walls in our mini buildings to simulate a leaking roof and age. I am not sure how kind time will be to the wood for these two but fabric seems to work well long term so I think it should be okay.

The only test that totally failed was the wrapping tissue, even though I soaked it and let it dry there is absolutely now color transfer. I know I have had this same tissue bleed onto my clothing when it gets wet so I was sure it would give some color.

Okay the idea of buying hair color at Dollar Tree to use on my hair terrifies me. LOL But it worked okay on the wood. I am really anxious to see how this one looks later because if it holds up I think it would be fun to play with. This is something that comes in several colors, mostly ones that would be kind of sort of natural looking on wood.

The lipstick and lip stain were both ones that I decided to test on a whim and I am glad I did. They both look really nice and I think there are possibilities for both products in future projects. I just want to see how they look in about 6 months before I commit to using them.

For the Kool-Aid I decided to use it both mixed with water and as the dry powder. I think it looks better mixed with water better but I can see it used dry too especially if you sprinkled it around just a bit and then spritzed it with water for bits of color. Maybe one a walkway or floor. Let's see how it looks in 6 months as far as keeping its color.

Fabric dye seems like a natural for coloring just about anything and it did work nicely. Once again I wanted to show the powder dissolved in water and as a dry powder that could be sprinkled around and spritzed with water. I think it worked really well both ways. The depth of the color of the dissolved dye is incredible! This also comes in a huge number of colors.

Soy sauce was one I had no idea if it would work or not. It is a very subtle color so I am not sure if it is worth it. If it holds up over time it might be good if you really need a light stain. I am just not sure how well it will hold up over time.

One thing that was suggested was grape juice but since no one around here would drink what was left I really didn't want to buy a bottle of it. Instead I decided to come as close as I could with some red wine, something I almost always have in the kitchen. The first thing I noticed when I walked back to the table at the end of the 10 minute soaking time was that this one wicked up the craft stick a lot. It also gives a really nice purple color to the wood. This is another one I am anxious to see how it holds up.

So that was our little very non-scientific test on alternative things to color wood with. What do you think? Would you like to see more videos like this in the future? It was fun to do.

I have a note on my chalkboard to check this craft sticks in 6 months to see what happens to them. I will write a blog post then with photos from this blog as well as new photos.  

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