2 homemade wood stains

July 27, 2015

You don't need to buy stains from the store to maintain your frames or furniture. Just follow these instructions to make your own at home.

2 homemade wood stains

1. Oil-paint stain

This stain is perfect for colouring wooden picture frames because you can use the exact colours of a painting to make the artwork coordinate with the frame, thinning the pigment to allow the natural wood grain to show.

If you want traditional wood colours, choose raw umber (equivalent to walnut), burnt umber (mahogany) and yellow ocher (golden oak).

What you need:

  • Artist's oil paints in tubes (one or more colours, as needed)
  • Turpentine

    What to do:

    1. Mix equal parts oil paint and turpentine in a clean, wide-mouthed jar. Test the hue and opacity of the stain on a scrap of wood. This flexible stain can be easily modified. If it is too opaque, add turpentine; if it is too transparent, add more oil paint. If you want a unique shade, mix paints as needed. Be sure to mix enough stain for the entire project, as it is hard to duplicate a custom stain if you run short.

    2. Brush the stain on the wood and allow it to dry to the touch before varnishing. If you want more grain to show, wipe the freshly stained wood with a clean, lint-free cotton cloth (such as an old T-shirt) moistened with turpentine.

2. Varnish-based stain

Some wood species, such as maple, are so hard that they don't absorb stain satisfactorily. If you find that this is the case, you can still "stain" a piece of furniture by tinting the sealer and varnish with the wood stain of your choice. This custom-tinted varnish recipe solves the problem as no commercial product can, and is a little less expensive to boot.What you need:VarnishPaint thinnerStain1 varnish-quality natural- or nylon-bristle brushExtra-fine sandpaperTack cloth

What to do:

1. Stir together: one part varnish, one part paint thinner and one-half part stain in a wide-mouthed jar to create a tinted sealer coat. Stir slowly to avoid bubbling. Brush onto a smoothly sanded piece of wood and allow to dry overnight before varnishing.

2. Sand the sealed piece of furniture lightly and wipe down with a tack cloth. To deepen the stain colour, add stain, as desired, to tint the varnish in the can. When mixing the colour, remember that the colour will deepen with each coat of varnish. Test the colour on a scrap of wood or inconspicuous part of the project before proceeding.

3. When the colour is right (it should be transparent enough to allow wood grain to show through), brush varnish onto the entire piece, taking care to avoid drips or streaks. Allow varnish to dry overnight.

4. If a second coat of varnish is needed, repeat step 2. Allow the varnished piece to dry for two days before using.

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