How to Make a Red Stain


The natural, vibrant color of the redwood tree is often used in woodworking, from fine furniture to luxurious hardwood floors. To get the same rich color of redwood without the actual redwood lumber, make handmade red stains at home with a large variety of paints to choose from. Handmade stains allow you to create the exact shade of color for your woodworking projects. You can create any shade from a natural redwood to a bright cherry red.

Things You'll Need

  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Gum turpentine
  • Japan oil color
  • Glass bowl
  • Putty knife
  • Rubber gloves
  • Wood
  • Stain brush
  • Pick out an appropriate shade of red from the Japan oil color family. Japan oil contains driers for a rich, quick drying finish. Possible shades of red are: American Vermilion, Bulletin Red, Liberty Red Medium and Poster Red. Any of the Japan oil colors can be mixed together to create different shades.

  • Put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect skin from the chemicals of the gum turpentine and boiled linseed oil.

  • Combine 7 oz. of boiled linseed oil with a quart of gum turpentine in a large glass bowl. Do not use bowls that will absorb the turpentine like plastic or wood.

  • Add 4 oz. of the Japan oil color(s) you chose to the base mixture.

  • Mix the color(s) and base mixture together thoroughly with a stiff-bladed putty knife. The resulting paste should be the consistency of syrup.

  • Apply a small amount of the red stain to the underside of the wood you will be working with. Use a stain brush. This is a way to test the color of the stain. If the stain is too dark, add a splash of gum turpentine to the mixture to lighten it. You can also add small amounts of Japan oil color to change the shade of red until you have the desired color.

Tips & Warnings

  • Substitute Japan oil colors with other artist oil pants or powdered pigments if desired.
  • Do not add any driers to the stain as the linseed oil and Japan oil color already contain driers.
  • Keep wood stain and ingredients away from children. These products are harmful when ingested, inhaled, and brought into contact with bare skin.
  • Call your local poison control center right away if these products are ingested.

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