Getting a variety of questions about bone staining….
You can use anything you want to stain bone, old coffee grounds and tea bags, to spices you have tucked away in
your kitchen cupboards…. from dried flower petals to boiled vegetable skins…. the possibilities are endless.
All you need to do is find a container you can soak your bones in ( i use old mason jars)
make sure bones are fully dry before you start the soaking process ( wet bones will not absorb color as much) and know that the outcome of the bones will vary heavily on each individual bone and each batch you do.
Sometimes things turn out deep and rich in color, other times its a light coated hue… Variations of bones, bone cleaning process,age and environment all have a sway on coloration and staining.
Personally i never measure when staining, i just boil water, throw a bunch of dried herbs,grounds,teas or spices in a container, throw in the bones and cover with hot simmered water…. the larger the container and amount of water… the more ‘stain" i throw in.
Then, you distract yourself and leave the bones to soak anywhere from a few hours to a couple days.
If after a couple days your bones are still too light for your taste, air dry them ( over a night or 3) and re-soak with a fresh batch of water and stain.
It is important you let the bones fully dry, just because the bone feels and looks dry on the outside doesn’t mean its dry on the inside, so its best to let them dry for a longer time rather than short, the larger and thicker the bone, the longer the drying period .Another thing that helps stain, is sun.
I have found than sun bleached or sun dried bones tend to absorb color much more intensely than others… no clue why.
I am guessing it has to do with the sun wearing on the smooth natural finish that bones have, leaving more texture for the stain to attach to….. i just pulled that out of my ass
so there is a very good chance that is not technically why sun bones stain better, but thats what ive got.
Another common question lately is why teeth wont stain when staining skulls…. i am going to blame enamel for that, teeth have that natural gloss and coating of enamel which ends up acting like a shield against stains, one thing you can do to increase your chances of tooth staining, is to gently sand away some of the enamel coating.
Sometimes you will get different coloration on the same piece of bone, this is usually due to grease or moisture, if your bone was not fully dry when thrown into the staining concoction, chances are that a section was still wet which lead to less stain absorption… if that makes sense. The other reason is grease, sometimes bones retain a bit of grease after decomposing, the grease is some what repellent to stain, so make sure you check to see if there are any darker grease stains on your bones before throwing them in a batch of stain.
Personal recopies for stain are hard to share since i literally grab handfuls of whatever i have around and throw them in a jar…
Coffee grounds are always a great 'natural stain’
teas offer a nice rustic/lightly antiqued stain
Dried hibiscus petals and lavender offer a rich deep purple blue stain
just lavender can stain purple or even at times a deep grey color
turmeric and cinnamon create a really potent nice deep yellow/orange color
Blackberries are a vibrant purple/blue
cherries are a pinkish sometimes red color
coffee and blackberry re a deep bluish black-ish
Mix a little bit of everything, and you will come out with a dark strange brown our blackish coloration….. just have fun with it