August 13, 2012

Dying Wood

When creating my test tube vase, I performed something I had never done before.  I dyed wood.  This was only after an epic fail of attempting to stain the wood, I'll get to that disaster in a moment.

I dyed the curly maple base a beautiful blue.  It really brought out the grain and made the piece pop!  Had the base been a wood tone, I don't think it would have been as successful.  In order to do this, I went to my local woodworking store and bought some Mixol blue and green dyes.

At first, I tried mixing them with some shellac.  When doing this, you are staining the wood.  The shellac sits on top of the wood, and there is very little penetration into the wood.


I think a lot of it had to do with the color I was going for.  The Mixol dyes and the shellac were not mixing well.  My husband suggested it might have been that the shellac was a little old.  Whatever the cause, it was not working so I needed a new game plan. 

I had to wait for it to dry completely and sand it off.  What a pain!  There is nothing more frustrating that having to complete a tedious process all over again.  My new game plan, dye the wood.  I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would work, because when you dye something, it penetrates.  There would be no sanding it off if it didn't work.

Here is what I used to dye the wood.
  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Mixol Blue and Green
  • A rag made from a t-shirt
  • Gloves (because you do NOT want to dye your hands)
  • Glass jar for mixing
  • Respirator mask (because of fumes)

Caution: Make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area!

I mixed approximately 2/3 cup of denatured alcohol with 15 drops of blue and 6 drops of green in a mason jar.  I shook it up to mix it well.  I then soaked half of my rag in the mixture and rubbed it on the wood.  

I wish I had photos of the whole process, but I didn't want to dye my camera blue and my husband was sleeping.

The dye went on quickly and easy!  The denatured alcohol evaporated very quickly allowing me to put three applications of dye on in under an hour.  This was the look I was going for.

The difference between the staining and dying was night and day!  I learned the hard way, hopefully you won't have to!

The dye was bright, vibrant and this was before applying a finishing top coat of shellac (new shellac just in case).

I will be explaining the full build of the test tube vase later in the week.

Sharing this over at:
Sugar Bee Crafts: Take A Look Tuesday

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