I understand the fact that we sometimes get really concerned when the wood filler being used for our DIY project doesn’t match the color of our wood after repairs. I mean, I know how difficult it may seem trying to make the filled area the same color shade as the other wood areas after stain has been applied.
However, I’ve got great news for you. In just a matter of time, I’ll be showing you how to make wood filler for hardwood floors. Exciting isn’t it?
Although making wood filler appear like natural wood is quite easy, the difference in color shade is a problem that is caused by wood fillers infiltrating the surrounding grains close to the repaired section.
To have your wood filler looking all like wood, you must ensure the color of whatever wood putty you choose, is very similar to the wood color you’d be working it. By doing this, the problem tends to be half-solved already.
Meanwhile, to get the wood filler completely looking like real wood grain, sand a piece of scrap wood from the same project to form sawdust. Thereafter you mix the putty and sawdust properly while you apply to the affected area.
After applying, you allow it some time to dry thoroughly before going ahead to sand down using 220 grit sandpaper. Stain the wood afterward.
Now that we’ve been able to brief you through and you have a slight understanding of what you’re about to deal with, let’s go into a detailed step-by-step guide in the section that follows. We will also be providing you with some pro tips that will guarantee your wood filler matches perfectly with the wood grain for your project.
Making wood filler look like wood.
Having wood filler appears more like wood is one problem woodworkers generally, have always had to struggle with. The best and easiest way of getting wood putty to look like real wood is by staining the entire wood while making sure that the stain is applied the right way.
When the stain is applied otherwise, the wood filler tends to cause the surrounding wood to appear slightly discolored, which obviously isn’t what we expect.
We all know wood is a substance that exists on its own. It is natural, side and end grained and as such, is entirely different from filler. Filler on the other hand is a combination of several organics and inorganics, hence the reason for the varying stain absorption properties.
You’d observe that wood varies in density from one specie to another which makes it quite difficult for wood filler manufacturers to create a particular filler that goes hand in hand with these different densities.
However, let’s quickly take a look at the required steps to making wood filler appear more like wood.
Also Read: Top 5 Best Sealer for outdoor wood furniture
How to make wood filler – Step-By-Step Guide.
Below is the step-by-step methods you’ve always needed. Follow through with it and I can assure in no time, you’d get that repaired section looking all like the surrounding wood from your project.
Step 1: Purchase a wood filler very similar to the wood.
The first thing to keep in mind is getting the closest wood filler that is very similar in color to the wood you’re working with. By doing this, you’d ensure the color matching process is successful. Also, you want to make sure that whatever wood filler you choose is one that is able to accept stains.
Step 2: Make sawdust using scrap wood from your project.
It is very important that the sawdust you make is directly from the wood you’re working on. This aids color matching much easier. Also, ensure you sand using fine-grit sandpaper, ideally 180-grit sandpaper. You can as well collect sawdust from the cup of your orbital sander if you’re able to get one.
Step 3: Apply the sawdust and filler mixture.
Once you’ve got the required amount of sawdust, mix thoroughly with the filler using wood putty. Make sure you mix properly. Once you have a paste-like consistency, apply the filler to the repaired section while you go ahead to top it up with the sawdust and filler mixture.
Allow it to dry for 24 hours, after which you sand the contours using 220-grit sandpaper.
Note: Whenever you’re sanding, ensure to sand in the direction of the wood grain and not against it. By doing this, you’ll be able to hide the repaired section easily.
Once you’re done sanding, wipe off any excess dust you notice on the wood surface using a wet rag first, allow it to dry, then a dry rag to ensure all dust is completely varnished.
Step 4: Opt for a stain
Choosing a stain will not be necessary if the wood has been stained previously. All you need to do is go for the stain that was originally used. However, if it happens that the wood hasn’t been stained before, make sure you go for a stain that matches the entire piece of wood.
Step 5: Test the stain
To be sure the wood will accept the stain and also, determine if the chosen stain is the best color match, then you really want to test the stain on a piece of scrap wood on which the filler has been used on. Once stained, leave it some time to dry. Once dried, you should be able to determine whether or not the stain is best for your wood.
Note: Make sure you stir and not shake when applying stain on wood. This way, you can rest assured that color pigments will not remain at the bottom of the container.
Step 6: Slightly thin out the stain.
After testing the stain, if you happen that the stain appears too think, you may likely need to thin out the stain. To get this done, mix the stain with water or mineral spirit while you observe the outcome. The color of the repaired section will be lightened and as such, match with other parts of the wood.
Make sure the mineral spirit or water is poured into a mixing bowl and stir well using a mixing stick. Thereafter you apply the thinner, little at a time and test until you’ve arrived at your desired color depth.
Step 7: Apply the stain
In the process of getting wood filler look like real wood, it is time to get your brush and apply stain to the filler. The size of the repair section you’re working on will determine the size of the brush you’ll need.
It is very crucial that a thin coat of stain is applied, rather than a thick coat of stain because if the stain is too thin, you can always add a second coat. Meanwhile, if you have a thick coat, things can literally get messy. However, all hope isn’t lost.
Tips to make your wood filler for hardwood floor
Below are few tips from professionals of which you want to put at the back of your mind when working with and staining wood fillers while you see your wood project become better by the day.
It will definitely be a successful ride if you’d always remember to test these procedures on scrap wood before having them applied on the real deal.
Tip 1: Choose a pre-stained wood conditioner for softwood.
When working with softwoods like pine, maple, and birch, applying a pre-stained conditioner is very essential for the success of your project. This would help prevent the fillers from being absorbed by the surrounding environment wood.
Since most wood fillers require 24 hours before getting dried completely and manufacturers suggest applying stain 2 hours after applying pre-stain, we also suggest applying a second coat of pre-stain conditioner while you wait for 2 hours before applying the wood stain.
Tip 2: Never forget to apply wood filler before sanding.
Sanding basically will reduce the textural difference between the wood and wood filler hence the reason why sanding after filling is quite essential. This would ensure that the disparity in color between the wood and the filler is almost unnoticeable. When you have the texture the same way, the stain will be absorbed uniformly throughout the wood.
Note: Be sure the wood you’re working on is free of all sanding dust before applying a single brush of stain on the wood.
Final thought on how to make wood filler for hardwood floors
You can be rest assured that with the right stain and adhering strictly to all it takes, I mean following the steps, tips discussed above and by delving a bit into your artistic part, you can have any wood filler look like wood.
However, be sure to follow through with the manufacturer’s instructions where the drying time is concerned before deciding whether or not the stain is the right shade for your wood project.