Homemade Chocolate Espresso Wood Stain

Oh boy, has it been a week.  My computer died.  I mean, take it out in the back yard and bury it died.  Thank goodness my back-up hard drive mostly did it’s job.  All the files are there, but they look like they were filed by a drunk person.  Lots of duplicates, weird names and random locations, so that’s going to take some time to clean up.  But yay, new computer.  I guess. I do have some exciting news to share though.  I was recently contacted by the producer of a local TV station in Portland, asking if I would come do a segment for their afternoon lifestyle show!  We’ve been working out the details, but now I can tell you I will be appearing on November 17th, demonstrating how to make warm drink mixes.  This won't be the last you'll hear about it, and I’ll post a link when it’s available.  If you're in the area, tune in to Afternoon Live on KATU.  I’m excited and terrified!

Before all that craziness started, I had a simple little project I wanted to make.  As always, simple is relative.

Last year my husband and I were in Seattle near Pike Place and stumbled across a map shop.  They had just about every size and type of map you could imagine.  We’d been talking about putting up a map to mark our travels, so we decided to find one and get that project started.  My son had just decided to join the Navy at that point, so we were drawn to a nautical version.

Fast forward a few months, and we finally got around to finishing it.  We wanted to put pins in each place we had visited, so my husband cut a piece of sheetrock to fit the map, mounted it on with spray adhesive, and made a simple wood frame to go around the edge.  I can’t even tell you how much I love this.

Mounted World Map
Mounted World Map

If you look closely at the United States and a bit to the south you can see the pins.  We’re looking forward to adding many more!

Why am I talking about the map?  Because we hung it above the fireplace, moving our large clock to the right, which left a chunk of empty wall to the left.  It bugged me.  I kept trying to decide what to hang there, and decided because the clock was a flat circle and the map was a flat rectangle, whatever went next to them should be dimensional and not a basic shape.  Thanks to the abundant deer prowling around our apple trees right now, I had an idea, and I started searching for a paper mache deer head.

I found what I was looking for at Hobby Lobby online.  I got so excited about painting it I forgot to take a photo of it beforehand, but imagine this in the color of a grocery bag.

Painted deer head
Painted deer head

I obviously went with a cream color acrylic paint for the head.  I wanted the antlers to be silver, but a more metallic silver than I've ever been able to get from paint.  I ended up ordering some stuff called Metallic Lustre Wax from DecoArt.  The color here is called Silver Spark.  You rub it on with a cloth, it was fun to use and they look exactly as I pictured them in my head!

Deer antler
Deer antler

I had found an oval wood cut to mount it on, but as soon as I put them together I realized they were too close to the same color, and that wasn't going to work for me.

Oval wood cut
Oval wood cut

My husband loves woodworking, and probably has wood stain of every color out in his shop.  However, I'm not known for my patience, and he wasn't home.  I decided, instead of waiting, I'd come up with a stain from whatever I could find in my house.  I thought about watering down some paint, but I've tried that before and knew it wasn't the look I was going for.  I'd heard of using tea or coffee on fabric, so I figured it would work on wood as well.  And if coffee is good, espresso has got to be even better, right?

I was hoping for a bit of a reddish look, so I went with my hunch that adding some cocoa powder would have that effect.  Here's the two ingredients, besides water.

Cocoa and espresso powder
Cocoa and espresso powder

This is probably the best smelling wood stain ever.

Cocoa espresso wood stain
Cocoa espresso wood stain

My initial recipe was too thick and dark.

Wood stain first try
Wood stain first try

Fortunately, I had two sides to work with.  I diluted the mixture and tried again.  It was the perfect color, and the cocoa gave it that bit of red I was hoping for.

Wood stain second try
Wood stain second try

Chocolate Espresso Wood Stain

1/4 cup hot water

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

Mix very well with a whisk.

I applied two coats, then topped that with clear sealant.  I made everyone who set foot in my house smell it and try to guess what I used.  They love it when I craft.

The next step was to attach the deer head to the wood.  Since it was paper mache, it was very lightweight, so I figured hot glue would work.  The back of the deer head wasn't very flat, so I thought that would fill the gaps well.

Hot gluing deer head
Hot gluing deer head

I gave the whole thing a glossy clear coat.

Deer with clear coat
Deer with clear coat

It ended up sitting on my table for several days after that, waiting for my husband to hang it up.  I've been known to nail pocket doors inside the wall, so I usually leave that step up to him.  It turned out to be a good thing, because the hot glue didn't cut it.  When he picked it up the head nearly fell off.  He put a couple of small screws through the back and into the head to hold it on, which worked well.

This guy ended up being just the thing for my empty wall space, and for once I'm not even a little sorry about my impatience.

Homemade Chocolate Espresso Wood Stain from Crafty Staci
Homemade Chocolate Espresso Wood Stain from Crafty Staci