How to stain pine a very dark brown color?

May 15th, 2011, 02:46 AM
So, this isn't exactly guitar related, but maybe some of you will humor me anyway...

I bought a cheap little pine shelf from Ikea for my girlfriend's side of the bed (this is a present for her). It's solid pine, and it's unfinished. Here is a picture:

Anyway, I want to dye and/or stain it (I don't really know the difference between these two things) so that it eventually looks like the color of this night stand here (this is the color of all my bedroom furniture, and I'm trying to match it):

Can anyone tell me how they would go about doing this? I've got a bottle of Tru-Oil so I'm planning on just finishing it with that after I dye it (I'm including this info in case this is important to know for your dyeing/staining recommendations).

Thanks for all your help!

P.S. I will probably use whatever I learn here to stain my next pine tele build, so maybe this post is guitar related after all! :mrgreen:

Keyser Soze
May 15th, 2011, 10:47 AM
A color picture of the second item would be of more benefit.

More importantly, do you want something that will complement the furniture or be a dead match? Because a match is going to be almost impossible, if for no other reason that the differing grain pattern and pore structure of the two woods.

From what I can tell the furniture finish was probably accomplished using a dark sprayed on toner. Your best bet would be to do the same. Getting a matching product might not be easy though. Behlens/Mohawk products (available from Woodcraft) might get you close.

I strongly doubt any dye or commercial stain is going to get you there all by itself.

Another approach that might give acceptable results is to use some water based brown paint. Dilute it 50/50 with water and apply it very very thin - so thin that you are not building a surface film, but instead are staining the wood. You can even use acrylic artist's paints in this fashion. Follow this with some sort of amber or brown clear coat (shellac or tru-oil) to provide added depth/warmth, then maybe a durable clear coat for protection.

May 15th, 2011, 12:51 PM
It's probably a mistake to use dye on pine because it will absorb the color very unevenly. This is euphemistically referred to as a "tendency" to blotch. The fact is, pine blotches incredibly. Also, it doesn't have a grain structure like any hardwood so you can't fake it to look like anything else. The light and dark grain winds up being reversed. On the other hand, pine can be a pretty piece of wood if you only let it be what it's supposed to be.

If you really want to try to make a pine board look like something else, then think in terms of sealing it, then putting the color in your finish layers. Also, you'll want a pigment based stain rather than a transparent dye, so that you can cover up the pine with your new brown color. Some gel stains or wiping stains work well for this purpose (after you've used a coat of your clear finish as a sealer or base). Otherwise you can get some of the pre-tinted varnishes like Poly-Shades (normally I stay away from Minwax products but it seems that a DIY product like that might be just what you need). If you have any offcuts of the wood left over, I'd strongly recommend making a test panel before you do anything to the shelf.

May 15th, 2011, 04:03 PM
A color picture of the second item would be of more benefit.

That actually is a color photo of the second item. It's just a very very dark stain.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. The figuring with the knots, etc... is actually quite nice on that pine board of mine (IMO), and I realize that to stain it as dark a color at the rest of the furniture I'd have to totally mask any figure.

I might just tru-oil the thing and call it a day. If I do that, any tips on tru-oiling pine? I've only done ash so far...

May 15th, 2011, 10:29 PM
Gather some walnuts in their husks when they fall. Keep them damp in something impermeable w/ restricted airflow. The husks will turn black and begin to rot & exude a black liquid. Voila: real walnut stain (just like in your picture)! Dip you cloth or pad in there & wipe it on. Cheap, authentic, self-reliant.

Warning: it really is a stain, so wear gloves & don't get any on you.

May 15th, 2011, 11:04 PM
You can also soak tobacco in water or alcohol to create a dark stain .

Nick JD
May 16th, 2011, 12:23 AM
Japan Black.