How to Thicken Semi-Transparent Stain

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean gallon can

  • Stick

  • Cloth

Thicken stain by removing solvent.

Semi-transparent stain consists of two principal ingredients: solvent and solids. The solvent is the vehicle that carries the solids to the wood. The solvent evaporates, leaving the solids to sink into the wood grain to color it. If your stain seems watery or thin, or your wood is staining too light, you can increase the concentration of solids by thickening the stain. Semi-transparent stain doesn't have many solids to begin with. You don't need to add anything to make it thicker, just remove some solvent.


Step 1

Remove the lid from the can of stain. Let the stain can sit by itself in a well-ventilated area for 72 hours so the solids can settle and form a layer on the bottom of the can.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Pour one-third of the solvent off the top of the can into a clean can.


Step 3

Stir the remaining solvent with a stick. Apply some of the stain to a scrap piece of scrap wood with a cloth. Let it dry for 15 minutes.

Step 4

Repeat steps one and two if stain is not thick enough, or dark enough.


If your stain gets too thick, put some solvent back into the can to thin it until the consistency is just right.


Use breathing and eye protection and use stains only in well-ventilated areas.


Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...