DIY: Stain Wood With Fabric Dye
Color Dyeing Wood
The first time I used liquid color dye as a wood finish, it was a spur of the moment decision. I had a piece of unfinished furniture and no extra cash to purchase any wood stain. As it happened, using the color dye to dye wood turned out to be a great choice. I was looking for a more natural way to finish wood and this method of dying wood was definitely more natural.
The second time I wanted to dye wood I didn't even have to think about it. I chose to color dye. Since then I've discovered several other methods to stain wood with dyes. This page covers some of the ways to color dye wood.
Dye Wood with Color Dyes
The color dye I use to dye wood is most commonly used to dye fabric. It comes in a variety of shades and can quickly transform unfinished furniture or bare wood.
The results are similar to wood stain minus the annoying smell. You'll also find color dye is easier to clean up. Another benefit is the affordability of color dye versus wood stain.
Finishing Wood with Color Dye
The Method is Easy
1. Prepare bare wood to accept color dye by wiping any loose dust or dirt from the wood surface. Use painters cloth or a drop cloth to protect the work area from any spillage.
2. Put on rubber gloves. Pour a small amount of the color dye chosen for the unfinished furniture piece into an empty margarine tub or tupperware container. Be careful not to fill the tub all the way—it's easier to manage when there is only a small amount of liquid.
3. Dip the paint brush into the liquid color dye. Gently squeeze out excess dye by pressing the top of the foam brush against the inside of the margarine tub.
4. Paint bare wood furniture by applying the dye with a foam paint brush. Follow the woodgrain during this process. Divide the furniture piece into sections (top, legs, shelves, etc.) and color dye one section at a time.
5. When each section is complete, wipe gently with a clean soft rag to remove any remaining standing liquid. Continue until entire piece is color dyed.
before applying to any cheap unfinished furniture piece as it sometimes transfers a bit of dye into the original container causing it to become tinted.
6. Let the surface of the furniture piece dry well overnight.
7. Pour water-based polycrylic into empty margarine tub or tupperware. Then apply two to three coats of water-base polycrylic (either satin or semi-gloss) to protect the exterior.
What to Use When Setting the Wood Dye
As shown in the picture above, this is the product I always use to finish and protect my wood dyed projects. I highly recommend the semi gloss or satin finish in this water based product.
This is THE BEST stuff in my DIY book and something I never want to be without. I always use water base and usually prefer the satin finish. Note this product is also available in a gloss and semi-gloss finish.
Other Methods to Dye Wood
Note: The Rit website has helpful tips on how to dye wood and wicker. I use similar methods but they do suggest heating the dye first, though I've not found this necessary when I dye wood.
I used navy blue fabric color dye to tint the handmade wood frame shown.
Which method would you prefer to dye wood?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.