Make Stain From Paint and Water-Based Wood Sealer

5 Materials
3 Days

Something NEW in decorative painting that we’ve been working with is creating stains by mixing paint and a wood finish product. Our longer video gives details on how to work with our formula, check it out here.

If you’ve been working with decorative painting for a while, or are brand new to the craft, we think you’ll like seeing how we’ve made this stain and how we’ve used it on concrete, metal, and over paper for decoupage effects too. 

We used a vintage toolbox to show how we used a mixture of craft paint and Behr Waterproofing Wood Finish to give it new life.

If you dilute paint with water, it’s hard to control when you are trying to create a translucent layer because water grabs into pores too quickly and is difficult to wipe off for decorative effects. 

Here’s how the box looked before.

Technique 1: We primed the clean surface with CLEAR wood finish. We added color on top with brushes and faded it with baby wipes.

We blended a 50/50 mixture of paint with waterproofer in pumpkin orange and a little brown, concentrating around the edges, leaving the center more natural. We created the blue-green accents the same way. Brushing clear wood finish on top helps blend the paint even more. 

Learn more about how to stain wood perfectly every time.

Technique 2: We used damp baby wipes to rub back areas to reveal more of the wood grain. These are all water-based mediums, so you can dip a brush or cloth into water to help blend your colors too. 

Technique 3: We used flat pumpkin orange chalk paint on the carved decorations, prime them with a little of the clear wood finish, then made a blue-green stain for the top. This is one of our favorite color combinations and reminds us of antique copper.

Technique 4: We used a bright neon green for a drop shadow around our carved appliqués. Whenever you are creating shadows on a decorative paint project, think of it as an opportunity to add bright-but-subtle colors instead of the usual drab gray, blue, or brown. With wood finish stain, even vivid colors will blend in well.

Technique 5: Adding hot-spots of bright colors. We added pumpkin orange and lemon yellow on edges or sides of the box. Because this wood finish and paint are translucent, even bright colors will still be subtle.

Technique 6: This box will be used indoors, so we added a top coat of Waverly Clear Wax for a soft glow. 

This box has gotten wet when we filled it with flowers, and was also inadvertently left out in the rain while it was drying. The finish held up beautifully, and there were no water stains. 

The “Clear” wood finish is amber in color, so can be used as an antiquing top coat over paint. If you mix paint into the wood finish, the amber tends to disappear. We mix our stains on trays as we go, so that we can make them more light or intense as needed. 

The longer video at our YouTube channel will give you lots more details. If you’re a decorative painter, or want to be, be sure to check it out. We have more tips and photos on our web site too, check it out here! If Amazon is out of the wood finish, you can find it at HomeDepot (there is a link to it on our channel).

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Stephie McCarthy
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