For use, stir the dye powder into hot water, as shown left. (Don't mix it in boiling water; straight hot tap water works fine.) Rubber gloves will keep you from having fancy-colored fingertips. The standard concentration is 1 oz. of powder to 1 qt. of water. To mix smaller amounts, dissolve about 1/4 tsp. of powder into 8 oz. of water; about 1/8 tsp. into 4 oz. From this starting point, you can adjust the dye color to suit your taste. Just add more water to reduce color intensity, or add dye powder to increase it. After mixing, let the dye cool. Then strain the solution through a coffee filter or nylon stocking, as shown at left, before applying it to the wood. Label the aniline dye containers.
Tips on dyeing the wood Sand the project as you would for staining or clear finishing. Do not seal or fill the wood; it must absorb the dye. Put on the dye by any convenient means--brushing, wiping, spraying, or dipping. You don't need top-quality brushes to apply aniline dyes. We found that inexpensive foam brushes work just great. The easiest application method calls for two brushes. Paint on the dye with one brush, keeping the work surface wet, as shown. Wipe away any excess with another brush. Dye strength controls the color, so you don't need to worry about uneven coats. We found that brush marks and laps posed no problem. If we kept the surface uniformly wet, the color invariably came out smooth and even. Allow the first application to dry 24 hours. The water-based dye raises the wood grain, so sand away the fuzz with 320-grit abrasive. Clean off the sanding dust, and dye the wood again. Let this application dry, then buff the surface with a white Scotch-Brite pad. You can apply any clear finish to the dyed wood.
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For more indepth information on finishing, visit the Finishing and Refinishing Techniques section within the WOOD Store.
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