White stain on wood is a coating of various shades and intensities, applied to bring out features, or blend in with the background. This article is about applying a semi-transparent white stain to accentuate the wood grain. It is also possible to tint it to complement surrounding features.
Different types of white stain to consider
White wood and other stains consist of a colorant dissolved in a vehicle, or solvent. We call the liquid a vehicle because the colorant is suspended, as opposed to being permanently absorbed. This is why it is so important to stir thoroughly before applying white wood stain on pine or any other timber.
White stain vs white paint and other choices
The liquid vehicle may be water, alcohol, a petroleum distillate, or a finishing agent such as shellac, lacquer, varnish and polyurethane. The general idea is white wash stain on pine and other woods should not penetrate deeply, but do check the label before you purchase. In fact, as my photo shows the stain can vanish as it ages.
Choose your options carefully when comparing white wood stains vs paint derivatives. That’s because they may contain either pigment or dye colorants, or a mixture of both. Dye molecules are small and usually dissolve fully, whereas larger pigment molecules may settle completely in the container if left unattended.
The basics you need before starting
I think that’s great little video because it packs so much in, in such short time. These are the key points to maybe save somewhere handy (or simply bookmark this page for future reference when you need it):
- Apply a pre-staining conditioner after lightly sanding down.
- Add the stain carefully and let it soak in for a couple minutes.
- Wipe away as much stain as you need to get the desired effect.
- Apply the pickling finish to set the tint at the desired level.
- Lightly sand when dry to highlight the grain the way you want it.
Achieving white stain effect on a wood carving
Don’t you agree Jon Candy got his white wood stain effect on soft pine wood just perfect? My Carved Wooden Owl Guide will walk you through some time-tested methods for getting you on the path to creating wood carvings like this. The wood staining comes after the carving, of course.
You can stain wood white for sure, but you do need to choose the right product. When comparing white stain versus white paint you need to get a handle on these factors:
- Wood stains using dye are more transparent than those containing pigments.
- Therefore you need to use a dye-based product to apply white stain on oak.
- The same applies to cherry, maple, and other fine grain woods with small pores.
- Whereas pigment-based stains are preferable for coarse grain softer woods.
- There is a white wood stain right for every job. Always obtain advice if unsure.
Carving and staining a human face
This video show how to achieve a perfect lightening effect on your wooden carved face, although in this case they are not using an interior white wood stain, the same steps and principles still apply. I watched it several times and made these summary notes for you:
- Don’t rush the carving process. This, and not white wood stain dictates the final finish.
- Be bold with the intensity of the stain. Love your work. Notice how the artist caresses it.
- You can’t do quality work like this with a single chisel. You need a proper carving set! And let’s face it, LOTS of practice and learning through good old trial and error.
The Inside Edge on White Wood Staining
I’ve been through the basics with you. We now understand the various types of white wood stain, and which are best for hard grained and soft grained wood. You’ll find loads of tips for making your own, but remember using the wrong white paint on stained wood can detract from your work.
Looking again before I publish I am of two minds. Perhaps the best takeaway I can suggest is apply wood stain lightly. Then wait 24 hours before deciding whether your before and after white stain on wood is what you wanted, or needs more work done. Fortunately for wood carvers removing over-the-top white wood stain is almost as easy as putting in on.
How to Go About Removing White Stain from Wood
The general idea is white wood and other stain does not penetrate below the surface of the wood, provide you did not use oil based white stain on soft wood that literally sucks it up. Simply sand away to your heart’s content. It won’t take long, and you won’t be working with noxious chemicals either.
A neat video of four hot tips for wood staining
- Avoid finishing with high grit sandpaper that over-polishes the wood.
- Try not to drip wood stain on your work. Apply it with a lint-free cloth.
- Follow nice long, even strokes to fully cover each length of grain
- Remove the stain promptly after following the maker’s instructions.
I hope you enjoyed my post as much as I enjoy hosting this website. Please message me if you would like a particular topic covered.