7 Tips for Staining Your Wood Projects

wood stain options

Alright, so you have a really cool project to work on with your CNC machine. You’ve already set up the software and machine to get the cutting done—easy and precise. You are ready to assemble your project and starting to consider the final color. Wood is easy to paint, but a beautiful piece of wood is stunning when stained. Here are seven staining tips for creating an even glow for your wooden project.

Get the Right Equipment

Stain can be messy and it’s permanent, so treat it like paint. Wear safety goggles to ensure nothing splatters in your eyes (especially with oil-based stain), gloves to keep it off of your hands and old clothing you don’t care about. You might need a drop cloth to ensure nothing gets on the floor or tracked around on your shoes.

Test on Scrap

Always have an extra board that you can test colors on. You might find the end color just doesn’t look how you thought it would. You may find that you need to create a thicker or thinner layer to get the color you want. Testing will also give you a chance to see how it reacts when your coats aren’t even.

Consider Mixing for the Right Color

Professionals often don’t limit themselves to the can colors. You can mix a cooler and warmer stain to get the perfect blend for your project. You can only mix the same type of stain (oil-based or water-based/latex), so be careful when picking out stains to mix.

Understand Stain Types

Oil-based stain is the most common, but it won’t wash out of anything with water. You will need a special brush cleaner to remove the stain from the bristles or any surfaces it shouldn’t be on. With water-based stain, you will be able to use soap and water to clean up your brush, but you still don’t want to get stain on anything that you don’t plan to permanently color.

Coat Evenly

Go with the grain of the wood, and then go against the grain if you want a thicker coat. Always cover evenly—if you allow streaks to sit, they will cause streaks in the final coloring. 

Add the Finishing Coat

The stain is just the color layer. You will need a top coat to seal your wood and protect it. There are 2-in-1 stain options that provide a sealing coat with the stain to save some time, but these are a bit trickier to apply without streaking.

Keep the Old Stain for Repairs

If you are working on an important project, like a table or bed frame, then there is a good chance you will want to do touchups if damage ever occurs. You can keep stain for a long time. Write your project name on the can, and store it on a garage or basement shelf. If you need to use it later, there may be a “skin” layer on top, but push that aside and you have the same color to easily patch any dings or scratches.

To make your future projects easier, consider our Easel CNC software. You will be able to edit and save versions of the projects you are working on, so try it today!


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Aluminum Machining

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