Wood stain is a great way of bringing out the beauty of the wood grain. There are different kinds of wood stains available in different colors designed to make wood darker than its natural color. It is imperative to know how to make stain darker on wood and enhance the beauty of your wooden items at home.
You don’t need to purchase a new hardwood floor or replace your wooden wardrobe to get a darker-wood look. There are simple and affordable guidelines to make your existing stained wood darker.
In this article, we will address how to stain wood and other ways you can achieve your desired dark wood appearance.
All at a Glance
Can you stain over stain to make it darker?
Yes, restaining could be a simple process and fun way of turning your piece of furniture into a great one and refreshen up the style in your home.
It is imperative that you test your purchased stain on a hidden area first. This is to confirm if it will work well with your wood. When it comes to darkening a stain, the approach is different from how you deal with lightening stain.
Also Read: Best Paint Sprayer for cabinets and trim
How to make stain darker on wood
- Coarse sand your wood
Sanding your wood is very crucial because it will help the wood texture and allow the surface to absorb more stain. When you sand your wood to a coarser grit, it establishes a rough texture on the wood surface, creating more room to accommodate more colorant.
While you are working towards achieving that, you should be careful not to make it so rough that scratches are visible. Try your best to maintain a good balance between coarse and fine where the scratches can’t be seen.
To achieve this result, try using a medium-grit sandpaper or sanding block. 120-grit or 150- grit sandpaper would be a great option to go for.
- Lift the wood grain with water before staining
You should be familiar with the saying that water is an enemy to an unsealed hardwood floor. However, we need the enemy in this project. Splash some water on your wood so it can get wait before staining.
The wood grain will raise because of the wetness, which later dries to a rougher texture – the exact surface you need. The rough texture will mean extra space to take in the colorant and provide a darker stain.
Water-based stains are good options to make the procedure shorter. Apply the first coat of water-based stain using a lint-free rag. Then, wipe off the excess and allow it to dry.
Wait and observe until the wood stain has cured, then apply a second coat of the same stain over the previous coat. Reapplying the coat on the wood surface with the same stain will help deepen the color, especially if the stain is dark-colored.
- Apply extra pigment to the stain
The common practice is to apply a compatible thinner to dilute a wood stain, but you can add the pigment to expand the concentration of colorant in the solvent.
You will need more colorant particles per unit amount of the stain, in case you want to make your wood stain darker. Therefore, you will be increasing the pigment-to-vehicle ratio. The higher this ratio, the darker the coloring on the wood.
If the stain you used is oil-based, apply some oil-based pigment of your choice. And if it is a water-based stain, then apply a universal color pigment to it.
Caution: It is necessary you test the stain product on a small piece of wood that resembles the kind of wood you want to work with. Allow it to dry fully and inspect if you are cool with the color or choose to increase the pigment and darken it.
After getting your desired color intensity, you can then move to your major wood project.
- Dirty wipe excess stain
The process of wiping excess stain is an essential stage so you can achieve an evenly stained wood. But be careful not to wipe too deeply and leave the wood surface a bit damp with the wood stain.
The wood will cure to have a darker color that way even though it may require a longer time. While testing the wood stain on a small piece of wood, you may also try to work with measurements and try to get the right amount of wood stain to use for the main wood project.
- Add a glaze after the stain and sealer
The best way to get a darker wood color is to replace a gel stain or glaze for the liquid stain. Gel stains and glazes are found to compose a higher ratio of pigment to vehicle.
For its application, you can work with a spray or just brush it on the wood and spread it out into a thin film. You may need to practice on a small piece of wood to understand how it works.
When you apply it once, it is enough to add more pigment to darken the color. You can also use glaze to refinish the wood alongside your regular water-based or oil-based stain and sealer.
The glaze will help to darken the color. You should be aware that glaze is a thickened water-based or oil-based stain. So, you need to confirm and be sure that you are using water-based glaze with a water-based stain and oil-based glaze alongside an oil-based stain.
Its thick feature makes it easier to work with. Leave it on the wood surface for some time so it can darken it before wiping off the excess. Make sure to wipe before it dries.
- Substitute dye for an oil stain
There are various kinds of dye including powder and liquid wood dyes at the market you can buy from. Powder wood dyes can work with alcohol or water. Liquid wood dyes are known as non-grain-raising (NGR) or TransTint liquid dyes.
They are already prepared and ready to use. Make sure to stir thoroughly before applying them to the wood. Always read the product description before buying to discover if you need to dissolve it in water or alcohol.
Whichever one you decide to work with, dye stains are generally excellent means to darken the wood. They do not entirely rely on the wood pores for coloring. They will also well with even dense hardwoods and make it as dark as you desired.
To achieve a darker color, you need to apply many coats of wood stain or use a higher dye concentration in the solvent.
- Apply a toner
A toner is a pellucid wood finish with dye or pigment included. It can lightly deposit color over the wood surface, get rid of unwanted tones, or make a blotchy color even.
You can use the toner with a dye or pigment added. Although, the best option is the former because the latter may muddy the stained surface. Using toner with a dye will help darken the wood surface without muddying it.
Another way to darken the wood surface
- Using coffee grounds
- Pour a cup of dark coffee grounds into a bowl and make sure the bowl you use is heat resistant.
- Add one and a quarter cup of boiling water to the coffee grounds. Gently pour the water to avoid splashes or making the coffee grounds pour over the side of the bowl
- Allow the bowl to sit for at least 30 minutes or more so that the mixture can completely cool off.
- Place a coffee filter in a mesh strainer and ensure that the coffee filter is open and positioned in the center of the strainer.
- Place the mesh strainer over a container and transfer it to the coffee mixture. Make sure to use a container with an opening big enough for a paintbrush to fit through. Place aside the container after you fill it.
- Consider working outdoors to avoid mess. If you have no choice but to work indoors, you can lay down a tarp inside to set the wood on.
- Sand the wood using fine-grade sandpaper. You can make use of sandpaper between 180 grit and 220-grit. Carefully sand the wood in the direction of the wood grain until it is smooth.
- Apply multiple coats until you get your desired darkened surface. Allow the wood to dry in between each coat. In case you want to seal the wood, apply a finish once the last coat dries.
Conclusion: How To Make Stain Darker On Wood
Staining can be pretty intimidating at first. You may be worried about messing up the wood look and other concerns. We hope you’ve been able to convince yourself that you can take up this project at home.
You should be aware that carrying out the dirty wipe mentioned above may muddy the wood, preventing the stained wood from looking even-colored. So, be sure not to wipe too deeply so you can at least have a damp stained wood surface to work with.
The above guides are proven steps that have helped a lot of beginners to carry out their first project seamlessly. We wish you the best on your adventures.