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Old 02-17-2007, 08:01 PM   #1
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Default Food coloring as a stain

I was just wondering if any one has used food coloring as a stain? If so how do you use it. Thank you.

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Old 02-17-2007, 08:26 PM   #2
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I have used the paste type and I've mixed it with a bit of water until I got the color I wanted and it worked well.
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Old 02-17-2007, 08:55 PM   #3
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I havent used it myself, but I do know the colors will fade pretty quickly. Toni and sue use a leather dye thats very brilliant , I would use that as opposed to food coloring. Dale
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Old 02-17-2007, 10:11 PM   #4
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I agree. I have used food coloring as a stain before and it does fade. Also, unless you do use the paste, it doesn't go very far. The wood soaks it up like crazy. I haven't tried the leather dyes yet but I would imagine they would be better not only in color but also in applying it.

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Old 02-17-2007, 10:53 PM   #5
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I have not used food color, but I have used leather dye on several projects. In particular Cordovan makes in good cherry color on maple.

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Old 02-17-2007, 11:56 PM   #6
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I've used food coloring for the dowels in a baby's rattle. I chose food coloring for health reasons. I'm not sure if it will fade. It looked pretty good though. I let it dry really well, then I gave it a couple of coats of mineral oil, (again baby saftey), to protect the food coloring.

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Old 02-18-2007, 10:06 AM   #7
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I've used food coloring on a few projects. I didn't want the vibrant color of leather dye and it worked well. It did fade, yes, but that's exactly what I wanted. After 2 years the wood (Baltic Birch ply in most cases) is still obviously red, yellow, and green. That's all I wanted and expected from it and feel it worked successfully. So my advice is, determine what short term and long term affect you want, and it just might work if soft, subtle color is what you're after.

Mine was liquid, right out of the bottle, brushed on and wiped off like using stain on a floral pattern. The subdued colors after 2 years are really quite appealing.

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Old 02-18-2007, 02:03 PM   #8
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Here are some ideas for you to experiment with.

I haven't used it for colouring wood, but I have used it to colour photographs and they haven't faded.

The trick was to mix it with some vinegar(S?) to give it some bite.

So I would experiment with probably a washcoat of shellac to prevent the wood from drinking it all, and also to prevent blotches. Followed with the food coloring mixed with a bit of vinegar.

How about coloring the Shellac or lacquer with it?
or Oil?
Although I would think that it probably wouldn't mix well with oil if it's water based.

What about Tin-tex (S?) powder laundry dye, that probably would mix with oil and other finishes. Also probably would dilute in a bit of water to color the same as the food coloring.

Maybe Tin-tex would be worth a try in Alcoohol, or mineral spirit?

Mac, or anyone else, if you have experimented with any of these finishes, what were your results?

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Last edited by Marcel in Longueuil; 02-19-2007 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 02-18-2007, 03:17 PM   #9
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Read in a Judy Gale Roberts article that a fellow needed to color a rain slicker yellow and used mustard . Said it worked really well.
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Old 02-19-2007, 05:59 AM   #10
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Default Food Coloring


Being you want to keep the stain 100% safe, this is what professionals do when they are using water dye stains like the popular "aniline dyes" to get some color pentration into their finishes.

Normally, they use resin binders, or chemical mordents, to generally "drive the dye colors into the woods."

Here, is what I suggest that you do, you will need a clean sponge, cloth, or brush and some clean water to "wet down the wood." The water will open up the wood fibres and the grains to allow for better color penetration into the wood.

Then, you will need to allow the wood to dry, depending on the wood you are using, you may need to repeat the wetting process. After the wood is dry, sand off the raised fibres, and blow or wipe off the wood, and then apply the water stain.

Depending on the wood and the strenght of the stain you mix up, you will have be the judge of the final color.

As with all new finishing techniques you should always want to begin with "start to finish samples" before you try out the new techniques on your work.

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Last edited by MacS; 02-19-2007 at 06:19 AM.
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