How to Make Your Own Wood Stain

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Can't find the clolor you want? Make your own stain.
Can't find the clolor you want? Make your own stain. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Sometimes you just can't find the wood stain color you need. This is common when you are trying to match the color to an existing piece for repairs, or if you are creating a piece from another era. There can be hundreds of colors and combinations, but none of them work. In this case, it might be worth trying to make your own.

Things You'll Need

  • Pigment (linseed oil-based paints such as Japan paints)
  • Mineral spirits or white vinegar
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Measuring cup
  • 2-quart or 4-quart mixing container
  • Paint stick
  • Japan drier (optional)

Pour a quart of mineral spirits into your container. The mineral spirits are going to be the stain's "vehicle." It applies the pigment to the wood. You can also use pure gum turpentine or white vinegar. You can pick this up at your local home improvement center or paint center.

Pour 7 oz. of boiled linseed oil into the quart of mineral spirits. The boiled linseed oil is going to be what is known as the "binder." The binder will help to keep the oil pigment locked into the pores of the wood and help it to saturate the wood.

Add your pigment. Try to use linseed oil-based paints that already contain Japan drier. If you cannot find any paint with Japan drier, then purchase it and add it separately. Add 4 oz. of color. You can mix colors to achieve the tone you want, however only use 4 oz. of color total. Premix the colors before adding them if you have to.

Mix the solution thoroughly with a paint stick.

Stain your project.

Tips & Warnings

  • The formula provided should give you about 1 quart of oil stain.
  • Use boiled linseed oil. It contains a dryer element. If you use raw linseed oil, it will not dry.
  • Only Use a total of 4 ounces of color. Premix colors before adding to the solution.
  • Use gloves, goggles and a face mask if you have to use cobalt drier or Japan drier. It is toxic.

References

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