How to Change the Color of Wood Veneer

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Things You'll Need

  • Fine sandpaper

  • 2-inch wooden block

  • Mineral spirits

  • Soft, lint-free cloth

  • Wood stain

  • Paintbrushes

  • Polyurethane (optional)

Wood veneer is very thin wood that is used to cover plywood, particleboard or presswood to make the finished object look more aesthetically pleasing. Often the veneer has already been stained and the color chosen may not suit the needs of the buyer. In most cases, the color of wood veneer can be changed with careful sanding and a new color stain.


Step 1

Sand down the veneer surface gently using a fine grit (300 or above) sandpaper and slow, even motion. This will remove any polyurethane coating and existing stain from the veneer.

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Step 2

Wrap the sandpaper around a 2-inch wooden block to reach into corners or other hard to reach areas.


Step 3

Wet a soft, lint-free cloth with mineral spirits and wipe down the surface of the veneer. This will remove any dust or other particles that remain on the surface. Allow the veneer to dry.

Step 4

Apply the new color of wood stain using a fine bristled paintbrush or a foam paintbrush. Make sure to use even strokes when applying the stain. Wipe off any excess stain after the product has penetrated the surface of the veneer.


Step 5

Allow the stain to fully dry. This may take several hours or overnight. Re-apply a second coat if desired.

Step 6

Use a foam brush to apply polyurethane to the freshly stained veneer to protect the finish, if desired.


Always use a soft touch when sanding veneer. Veneer, by definition, is very thin wood and if sanded too heavily can be destroyed. If applying different colors of stains to various sections of a veneer piece, be sure to use masking tape to cover the areas you do not want stained. Follow the directions on the can of stain to determine if you will need to use any chemicals to remove any excess stain from the piece.


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