Q: How do I make a stain from walnut hulls?
A: Making walnut stain is really very easy.
If you have a place to work and don't have to worry about splashing the stain, boiling is the fastest way to get a good, dark stain.
Place the walnuts into a pair of pantyhose, tie a knot at the top of the leg. Fill each leg if you like. Or put them into a cheesecloth bag or some type of bag that will let the water reach the nuts but not let the dirt, etc. into the stain water.
There is no need to remove the skins (unless you want to eat the nuts or cut them into slices for coiling, etc.).
Place a leg or two into an enamel pot of boiling water. Boil until you get the intensity of color you desire. You may have to add more water. This may take a little while, don't forget you have the pot on the burner! Once you have a color you like, hang the pantyhose outside to drip & dry. Remember - walnut stain will stain anything and is a permanent stain.
There is no need to add a mordant to walnuts.
Pour the stain into a bucket with a lid (plastic buckets that hold cat litter work great) and use until gone. Occasionally, dip a strainer in to catch the hairs & dirt that comes off the basket. Store in a cool place such as a basement or garage. My boiled stain never gets moldy as long as the lid is kept tightly on the container between uses.
The walnuts in the pantyhose can be reused at least several times. Just make sure they dry out completely after boiling or they will get moldy.
There are other slower ways to make a walnut stain: letting them soak in water, adding ammonia, keeping them outside in garbage cans filled with water, etc. If you do the slow soak, you may want to add several bags of walnuts to get a good color faster.