Actually it is a chemical reaction between the tannins in wood and iron oxide. The iron oxide comes from a solution of rusty nails formed in vinegar and water (ALL YOU DO IS PAINT IT ON!).
The crazy thing is, all wood has different levels of tannins and produces different colors! My bowl was cherry, and wow did it have some tannins- it is nearly black! I love it so much!
Here is the before:
And now for the after:
Here is how:
At least a week in advance- make a solution in a jar 2 parts water and 1 part white vinegar. Throw in a handful of nails, or some steelwool (I did both) and let it sit uncovered for a week plus (don’t cover with a lid bc gas is being released as your solution forms).
Solution day 1:
Solution day 7:
Tea has tannins and when painted on the wood, can result in a deeper reaction. Tumeric tea can also help deepen the reaction, as well as bring a golden warmth.
When your vinegar/nail solution is ready, make your turmeric tea (literally turmeric spice mixed w hot water).
I painted the turmeric tea on first (this step is optional).
While the turmeric tea is soaked in, but still wet, I stirred my ebonizing solution, painted that on and watched the magic happen!
It kept darkening...
And darkening... as the solution reacted!
Once it dried I wiped it with a damp cloth... I thought the cloth would be dark with stain, but it hardly got dirty!
I waited a few days for it to dry and then took cutting board wax and 0000 steel wool and burnished to a nice sheen.
Look at that baby shine! ✨⚡