How To Make Wood Filler Look Like Wood (A Complete Guides)

Filling up gaps and fractures between boards with a filler that matches the color and grain of the surrounding wood as precisely as possible is one of the most crucial components of any woodworking project. This method can be practically imperceptible when done correctly, resulting in a smooth and flawless surface. When done improperly, though, it can stand out like a sore thumb, detracting from the project’s overall impression.

In a rush, there are a few tricks on how to make wood filler look like wood and getting a good result. One method is to mix sawdust with the filler before applying it. Another option is to apply a wood stain on the filler. To make the filler look more like wood, apply a sealant or paint over it. Whatever method you select, make sure to test it out first on a little piece of wood to ensure that it will turn out the way you want.

However, there are a lot of considerations to make, but if you follow these easy guidelines, you should be able to do so without difficulty. Shall we?


What are the benefits of using wood filler?

Wood filler is a sort of putty for repairing wooden things. It is made up of sawdust, resin, and solvents and is available in a variety of colors. When the wood filler dries, it hardens and can be sanded or painted. Using wood filler has a number of advantages.

First, it restores the appearance of wooden objects. Second, it prevents the rotting, splitting, and warping of the wood. Third, it gives a consistent surface for painting or the surrounding surface.

How To Make Wood Filler Look Like Wood

How to make wood filler look like wood- A step-by-step guide

Here’s the step-by-step guide you’ve been waiting for; if you follow it, you’ll be able to match the mended section to the rest of your project’s wood.

1. Select wood filler that matches the color of the wood.

It all starts with finding the closest color wood filler; this assures a successful color matching process. You should also make sure that whatever wood filler you chose absorbs stain. For example, if you’re using darker wood filler, try to find a darker piece of scrap wood; if you’re using lighter wood filler, try to find a lighter piece of scrap wood.

2. Make sawdust from project scraps.

It is very important that the sawdust you make comes from the same project’s wood; this will make matching easier. Also, use fine-grit sandpaper, preferably 180-grit sandpaper, while sanding. If you have an orbital sander, you can also gather sawdust from the cup.

3. Combine sawdust and wood filler and apply.

Once you have the proper amount of sawdust, use wood putty to combine it with the filler. As soon as the filler and sawdust mixture has formed a paste, apply it to the repaired portion and top it off with the filler and sawdust mixture. Allow 24 hours for drying before sanding the shapes using 220-grit sandpaper.

Do the sanding in the direction of the wood grain rather than against it. That way, it will be easier to conceal the restored section. Once the wood has been sanded, wipe away any excess dust with a damp rag first, allow it to dry, then a dry rag to ensure all dust has been removed.

4. Decide on a stain

If the wood has already been stained, choosing a stain isn’t necessary. You only need to use the stain that was initially applied. Choose a stain that matches the entire piece of wood if the wood has never been stained.

5. Do a stain test.

Test the stain on a scrap piece of wood that has been filled to see if the wood will adhere to it and if the chosen stain is the best color match. Allow alloy to dry after staining. You’ll be able to see if the stain is perfect for your wood once it has dried.

However, before applying stain on wood, make sure to mix rather than shake the bottle to ensure that color pigments do not settle at the bottom.

6. Thin the stain

If the stain appears to be too thick after testing it, you’ll need to thin it out. To do so, mix the stain with the mineral spirit or water and inspect the outcome; this will lessen the color of the mended section and make it match the rest of the wood.

Pour the stain, mineral spirit, or water into a mixing basin and whisk thoroughly with a mixing stick. Then, a bit at a time, add the thinner and test until you get the desired result.

6. Stain

Now, this is what we’ve been waiting for. Get your brush out and stain the filler to make it look like real wood. The brush size will be determined by the size of the repair. It is preferable to apply a thin coat of stain rather than a thick coat; if the stain is too thin, a second coat can be applied; nevertheless, if the coat is too thick, things can become messy, but all hope is not lost.

Also Reads: Top 5 Best sealer for outdoor wood furniture 

How To Make Wood Filler Look Like Wood

Few tips to improve the appearance of your wood filler

When working with and staining wood fillers, you need to keep in mind these few tips and you’ll notice a difference in your wood projects. When you remember to try these processes on scrap wood before applying them to the actual thing, you’ll be sure to succeed.

  • Pick a pre-stain wood conditioner for softwood.

When working with softwoods such as birch, pine, and maple, using a pre-stain wood conditioner even before filling the holes is not an option; it is essential to the project’s success. The fillers are not absorbed by the surrounding wood because of the pre-stain conditioner.

We recommend adding a second coat of pre-stain conditioner because most wood fillers take 24 hours to dry completely and manufacturers recommend staining 2 hours after applying pre-stain. After that, wait 2 hours before staining the wood.

  • Before sanding, make sure you use wood filler.

It is common knowledge that sanding reduces the textural difference between the wood and the wood filler; hence, sanding after filling is necessary for guaranteeing that the color difference between the wood and the filler is nearly undetectable. The stain will then be absorbed uniformly throughout the wood if the texture is the same. However, before you add a single brush of stain to the board, make sure it is completely free of sanding dust.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How To Make Wood Filler Look Like Wood

Q: Is it possible to stain over wood filler?

Yes, it is possible to stain over wood filler. However, because of the age, porosity, and/or moisture content of the surrounding wood, the wood filler does not accept stains to the same extent as the rest of the wood project. Use wood filler sparingly and remove as much surplus wood filler from the top layer of the wood project as possible before staining to minimize splotchy results.


Q: Can you sand over wood filler?

Yes, you can sand over wood filler. In fact, sanding wood filler prior to staining or painting it will result in a smoother finish.

Before staining or painting a piece of wood, use wood filler to fill in the gaps and cracks between the boards. It can also be used to remove knots and other blemishes. The wood filler can become a touch rough around the edges over time. Is it possible to sand it down and refinish it?


Q: Can you remove excess wood filler from wood?

Getting rid of extra wood filler is not impossible. In fact, with a few simple tools and materials, it can be readily eliminated. A putty knife, mineral spirits, and a rag are all that is required. Using the putty knife, scrape away as much excess wood filler as possible. After that, soak a rag in mineral spirits and massage it over the leftover wood filler until it’s gone. Finally, use another rag to dry the area.


How do you make sawdust filler out of wood?

There are several ways to make your own sawdust filler. You may save money by using what you already have, and the process is really fulfilling. This is how you do it:

  1. Begin with a piece of wood that you are willing to cut up. I prefer to utilize scrap wood since it eliminates waste.
  2. Using a chop saw or a hand saw, cut the wood into small pieces. Make the components as consistent in size as feasible.
  3. Lay the wood out flat on a flat surface and pound it with a hammer. This is the most enjoyable step. The wood should be broken down into very little bits. Make use of a food processor or a drill.

Conclusion: How To Make Wood Filler Look Like Wood

All it takes is following the methods, tips, and digging a little into your artistic side to make any wood filler look like real wood with the correct stain. Before choosing if the stain is the proper hue, wait for the manufacturer’s advised drying time.

If you can produce your own sawdust wood filler, then you can achieve a lighter or darker color depending on the wood you wish to fill. The benefit is that you may make your own in small batches instead of buying big quantities of commercial wood filler that would be wasted.

Hopefully, some of the advice we’ve provided will help you on your wood project while also helping you improve as a woodworker!