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How to Ebonize Wood

Learn to ebonize less expensive wood yourself so it looks like the real deal and saves you money.


  • Step 1: Place steel wool in a jar Place a piece of steel wool with no soap on it in one of the glass jars.
  • TIP: Make sure you are using real steel wool, not synthetic.
  • Step 2: Pour vinegar into the jar Pour white vinegar into the jar, covering the steel wool completely.
  • TIP: Use plastic jars with plastic lids to avoid rust.
  • Step 3: Soak the steel wool Place the lid tightly on the jar and let the steel wool soak for 48 hours. The steel wool will dissolve.
  • Step 4: Strain the liquid with a filter Strain the liquid through the coffee filter into the other jar to remove any extra steel wool debris.
  • Step 5: Brush the solution onto the wood Brush the solution onto the wood, wiping off any excess with the rags.
  • TIP: Using a darker wood will result in a darker finish. Apply multiple coats to achieve your desired shade.
  • Step 6: Brush ammonia onto the wood When the wood is as dark as you want it, brush ammonia onto the wood to neutralize the solution and stop the dying process.
  • FACT: Did you know? The ebony tree is vital to the tourism industries in Kenya and Tanzania, where ebony wood carvings are popular with tourists.

You Will Need

  • Steel wool
  • 2 plastic jars
  • White vinegar
  • A coffee filter
  • A paint brush
  • Rags
  • Ammonia

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