Working with liquid stains

Time to stain, yes! One of the most fun things to do in your project is staining. The effects that you can achieve with these stains are stunning, even with a single layer stain. And then we have all the possibilities with double stains (black under red, blue under a green) or bursts (from classical sunburst to a grey burst) or even color splashes…

This step-by-step is meant as a guidance for working with stains and is based on our experience with our suStain. When you use a different brand, always read those instructions for use.

Make a plan:
1) Envision your design, make a little draft and write down the color pattern.
2) Choose your colors.
3) Get your scrap wood that is comparable to the project you’re going to stain, sand and remove dust and grease. The color of your wood will influence the color of the end result.
4) Put on some gloves, get a fine sponge, folded rag or paper towel.
5) Make some testers!!

See what happens when you use the color directly from the bottle and how far you want to tone it down. Keep in mind that the more layers you apply after the layer has dried, the more the color builds up. Its recommended to sand between layers with 400 grit.

Diluting the colors
1) You can best dilute with water or with alcohol if the label says so. Alcohol provides a shorter drying time.
2) Keep track of your mixing ratio, as you may need to scale up when you apply the stain.
3) For the 25ml concentrates, we suggest to start with a ratio of 20 drops on 30ml water or alcohol and add more drops if you want to intensify the color.
4) For the 195ml bottles, we suggest to use as they are if you want an intense color, or start with a ratio of 10ml water on 20ml color, adding more water if you want to tone down the color further.

1) Make sure your base is well prepared. Sand down to 400 grit, going with the grain, and make sure your base is free from dust and grease.
2) If you have wood that raises its grain when made wet, you may want to wet it with water and sand down those grains. Do not use a sanding sealer, as it will also seal the wood and your stain will not penetrate those spots.
3) If you have open pores and want to have a completely smooth finish, you can fill the pores with a grainfiller in a color as close to your wood as you can get. Do not use Z-poxy.

1) Put on some gloves or a mask when used in an airbrush.
2) Apply with a fine sponge, a folded lint-free cloth, folded strong paper towel or airbrush.
3) Shake well before use from the bottle.
4)Dab your sponge, cloth or towel with stain and gently run it over the surface. Or fill your airbrush and spray an even coat, make sure to ventilate properly.
5) Work in sections, for example start at the lowest side and work upwords. Apply from the center of your section to the outside to avoid any overspill running down the sides.
6) Spread till you have an equal coverage. Start a new section a bit above the previous one and connect them by rubbing the stain down to the previous section. Work fast, don’t let the stain dry in one section, but move rapidly all the way over your surface.
7) After you covered the whole top/sides/back, rub down with a paper towel.

1) Apply a second layer to intensify the color.
2) For a double stain, leave the first coat to dry for at least 30 minutes, sand down till the stain is left in the more open grains or till desired. Apply a second layer of stain.
3) For a two-tone double stain, usually the darkest color is applied first.
4) Apply a layer of our suStain Mica for a shimmering, metallic effect.
5) Add a few drops of the concentrate to your clearcoat Nitrocellulose to make a translucent color effect.

Finish as desired with Nitro or other lacquer types or even oil. When applying oil, keep in mind that oil also penetrates the wood and will take out some of the color. We recommend to apply at least 6 layers of oil and 9 to 12 layers (depending on your spraying capabilities) of lacquer and let it cure properly.