How to dye wood with food colouring

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Many childrens' and pet toys on the market come in bright attractive colours, but you are not always sure how safe those brilliant paints and stains are. If you want to provide wooden toys for your kids, or playthings and chew toys for your gerbil or bird, but would like to know they are safe as well, make your own and stain them with food grade colourings. It is extremely easy to do.

Sand pieces of wood lightly so they will more readily accept stain.

Find containers large enough to place pieces of wood in for soaking. Choose non-staining glass containers if possible, or use disposable plastic containers.

Dilute food colour in boiling water, and add a few drops of vinegar to act as a mordant to "fix" the stain so it does not come off. Pour liquid into containers and add wood. (If wood is too large for containers, paint the food colour stain directly on the wood with a soft paint brush, or rub on with cloth---use disposable rubber gloves or you may stain more than the wood.)

Let it set until colour develops---a few minutes to overnight depending upon how deep a colour you want. Repeat applications with a brush or cloth on large pieces--allowing it to soak in each time before adding more until you reach the desired colour.

Dry pieces before using.

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