The art of Wood dye

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Blog entry by Ronald G Campbell posted 07-31-2013 12:07 PM 3105 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As many of you have seen I do dye on wood. I use the Trans tint dye from Woodcraft. I dye many burl pieces as it helps to bring out the character of the wood.

There are many ways to apply dye but I like to put it on right out of the bottle. The first coat is the base coat and it goes on rather strong, out of the bottle. I will let it dry and then go back and sand the entire surface with 400 grit. In doing so I will sand back certain areas almost back to the wood. These will be the areas where I will add another color.

The second color goes on the same way. Add a few drops to a paper towel and start to blot in the area with color. I try to blot it in as I don’t want to mix blue and yellow and end up with green. Just blot some in the area. Yes they can be sprayed though a air brush.

The third color and any other colors are done the same way. Yes I always seem to get some mixture of colors that I am not happy with but I am still learning the art of dying.

I have recently used some Rit fabric dye. I will be posting a piece soon that I did with Rit. I like the Rit dye as you have exact formulas for creating colors. Many gourd artist use Rit. It does tend to raise the grain and you have to sand back with every application. Will soon post that piece

If you are confused I am not surprised as I am not an author. Post if you have questions.

-- Ron Campbell

8 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20600 posts in 3134 days

#1 posted 07-31-2013 12:28 PM

Thanks, Ron. That is very interesting. I have been thinking about it more as I see your work. I have the big box of leather dyes. When my wife was into gourds, the folks in Az used leather dyes so she bought manyyyyyyyyyyy colors and gave up the craft, so now they are in my shop. The only thing I did so far was to open a bottle of red and spill it on my work bench and it is still there!!!!!!!!

I have looked the liquid Rit dye and wondered if it can color epoxy. Do you know if it will?
I tried the crystal Rid dye in Bondo and dummy me put it in thinking it would dissolve in the body filler. I wound up with gray filler with black sand in it!!!!!!
thanks, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3363 days

#2 posted 07-31-2013 12:41 PM

Thanks for that info Ron. I like the idea of dying. it doesn’t hide the grain and it can make a piece extra decorative.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2520 posts in 3713 days

#3 posted 07-31-2013 12:46 PM

Thanks for sharing Ron, hopefully I can put it to practice.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View BENTWOOD's profile


373 posts in 1811 days

#4 posted 07-31-2013 02:33 PM

Very nice portfolio Ron. I love the idea of using dyes to take wood to another level. Even the most basic wood grains can now be an artist palette with unlimited possibilities. Really useful information.


View Ronald G Campbell 's profile

Ronald G Campbell

966 posts in 2033 days

#5 posted 07-31-2013 02:41 PM

Jim it will not work in Wes System 2 part epoxy. Water will not mix with that system. Recently I did you the Trans Tint dye from Woodcraft in the Wes System and it does work with out a problem. A turner name Marilyn Campbell,no relation uses artist paint oil based in her Wes system. The colors there are also great.

-- Ron Campbell

View BalloonGuy's profile


93 posts in 1952 days

#6 posted 08-01-2013 03:55 AM

Ron, any recommendations as to fade resistance? I’ve an exterior project in mind for my church and there are some specific colors to match.

I love your work—every time you post a new project’s photos, I call my wife over to see.

-- Tom Peterson, Omaha, NE

View Ronald G Campbell 's profile

Ronald G Campbell

966 posts in 2033 days

#7 posted 08-01-2013 12:50 PM

Tom I am not sure but I don’t think a dye is UV resistant in any way. Wood changes color anytime it is exposed to UV. I think some wood just changes colors as it ages. If you look at Cherry or Maple they both change color over time.

Shannon thanks for looking at my work. I admire your work greatly

-- Ron Campbell

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2833 days

#8 posted 08-02-2013 11:52 AM

Explained very well, and appreciated.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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