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How to make your own wood stain with watercolor

Updated March 23, 2017

Wood stains come in a variety of colours and types, but the stains often have harsh fumes and are limited to wood colours. When the preferred effect of the stain is a light blue, green, pink or any other non-wood colour, the options are limited. Painting the wood often results in dark colours, and they are not always appealing. When the preferred effect is a light stain, it is possible to make a wood stain with watercolour paints.

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  1. Pour some white vinegar into a bowl, bucket or similar container. The amount will depend on the size of the wood stain project. For example, a small side table might only need about a cup or two of vinegar while a large TV case or bookshelf might need a quart or more of vinegar. The vinegar forms the base material for the stain, so add the appropriate amount for the project. Typically, a quart is enough.

  2. Add watercolour paint to the vinegar. Use the artist watercolours found in a tube to make adding and mixing easier. Add about a quarter of the tube.

  3. Mix the colour with the vinegar until the watercolour dissolves in the vinegar. Look at the colour. Add more paint as preferred until the colour reaches the desired wood stain colour. If the original colour is too dark for personal preferences, add more vinegar until the right colour is achieved.

  4. Use the stain on the wood. According to the Vinegar Book, the stain colour will have a slightly silvery sheen.

  5. Tip

    Sand the wood smooth and condition the wood before applying the stain. This will give the best results and appearance at the end of the project.

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Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Bowl, bucket or similar container
  • Watercolour paints
  • Mixing stick or paint brush

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