How to Use Aniline Dye on Bare Wood

Written by robert osborne | 13/05/2017

Woodworkers frequently prefer aniline dyes due to the colourings' ease of use and resistance to fading over time. Aniline dyes are also desirable because they are transparent and do not leave lap marks; the latter is a problem with other stains. Aniline dyes are available in a wider variety of colours than are stains. One distinct aniline dye disadvantage is that these dyes raise the wood's grain due to the dyes' water base. Overcome this disadvantage by preparing the wood before application of the dye (Reference 1).

Lightly sponge the area to be stained with clean water. This will allow the grain to be raised before the dye's application.

Allow the wood to dry. Sand the wood with 320-grit sandpaper to remove the raised grain.

Remove the sanding dust by vacuuming the piece and wiping a tack cloth over the surfaces.

Mix 28.4gr of aniline dye powder into 1 pint of hot water. Slowly add the powder while you stir the mixture until all the powder is dissolved. Store the dye in a labelled glass or plastic container.

Apply the dye in any manner you prefer. Wiping, brushing and spraying are all acceptable methods. Apply the dye in a uniformly wet coat. Wipe off the excess dye with a rag.

Allow the dye to dry for 24 hours.

Apply any desired clear finish to the dyed wood (Reference 2)


Wear gloves to prevent staining your skin. Don't breathe the dye powders.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear gloves to prevent staining your skin.
  • Don't breathe the dye powders.

Things you need

  • Sponge
  • 320-grit sandpaper
  • Vacuum
  • Tack cloth
  • Aniline dye
  • Hot water
  • Stirrer
  • Glass or plastic container
  • Gloves
  • Rag
  • Brush
  • Clear finish

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