How to Tint Oil-Based Polyurethanes

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Tinted polyurethane provides an even color to finished wood.
Tinted polyurethane provides an even color to finished wood. (Image: wood image by Zbigniew Nowak from Fotolia.com)

Polyurethane sits on top of wood rather than being absorbed by it. Absorbed stains create an uneven color when applied to hardwoods like cheery and oak. Tinting oil-based polyurethane---before application---provides an even finish over hardwoods. Using the correct type of tint ensures the oil-based polyurethane remains strong after application.

Things You'll Need

  • Clear oil-based polyurethane
  • Plastic container
  • Polyurethane tint kit
  • Eye dropper
  • Wooden stir stick
  • Scrap wood
  • Paintbrush

Pour enough clear oil-based polyurethane into a plastic container to coat your woodworking project.

Select the desired tint from a polyurethane compatible tint kit. Open the tint container and set it aside.

Squeeze and hold the bulb of an eye dropper. Lower the tip of the eyedropper into an open tint container. Release the eye dropper bulb to fill the dropper tube with tint.

Release two to three drops of tint into the plastic container filled with clear oil-based polyurethane. Stir the polyurethane thoroughly with a wooden stir stick to mix the two components.

Apply tinted polyurethane to a scrap piece of wood using a paintbrush. Allow the polyurethane to dry for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add additional tint to the polyurethane to darken the color, if needed. Pour additional polyurethane into the plastic container if the tint becomes too dark.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tint oil-based polyurethane in a well-ventilated area.

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