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Staining Wood With Rit Dye

Written by: | Published: April 04, 2012 | Updated: August 10, 2015

There’s so many ways to color wood, from painting and staining and decoupage, you can create a variety of different projects  just by changing the color of the wood pieces you are using. Rit Dye is an easy way to add color to your wood pieces. If you’re familiar with wood staining, using Rit Dye should be pretty simple for you to pick up. Use Rit to coordinate the color with all your craft pieces for multi-media artas well as up-cycling old tired projects into something new and fabulous.

This technique is best for large pieces of unfinished, un-sealed wood. For smaller pieces, you can simply emerse the wood in your dye solution for a 10 seconds.

Here’s how to stain wood using Rit Dye:

Materials you’ll need

  • Rit Dye in the color of your choice
  • Old cotton cloth
  • Rubber gloves

Steps to staining wood with Rit Dye

  1. Cover your work area with some kind of water resistant covering – plastic table clothes or plastic bags work great
  2. Depending on how strong of a color you want to create, you can either dilute your Rit in water or use as is.
  3. Rub your dye solution/color directly on to the wood.
  4. Repeat until you have the desired shade of color.
  5. Let dry
  6. Seal with a clear sealer to prevent color from running.

Tip: for large pieces of wood, you can pour the dye right on to the wood and then spread out using your cloth.

Dye wood with Rit Dye
Dye wood with Rit Dye
Dye wood with Rit Dye - add the dye
Dye wood with Rit Dye - add the dye
Dye wood with Rit Dye - rub dye into wood with a cloth
Dye wood with Rit Dye - rub dye into wood with a cloth
Dye wood with Rit Dye - dip wood into dye
Dye wood with Rit Dye - dip wood into dye
Dye wood with Rit Dye - once dry, apply clear sealer
Dye wood with Rit Dye - once dry, apply clear sealer


I used a traditional chocolate brown dye to stain this wood, but you can use a variety of fantastic colors. The beauty of Rit Dye staining is the natural un-even coloring the wood picks up. You can add really neat color effects to your natural wood projects by staining with dye.

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Jen is Passionate about Creativity. She is the owner and "doodle in charge" of JGoode Designs, a Denver based design studio. She is an illustrator, mixed media artist and creative lifestyle blogger. Jen has been a creative professional since 1998 but says she's been an artist since she was old enough to eat glue.

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6 thoughts on “Staining Wood With Rit Dye”

  1. Hi my name is Richard Brown. I was supprised to see the rit dye being used as a wood stain show up on Pinterest. I am a Paint contractor in Kansas City Missouri.Back in 1970 My Dad taught me to use rit dye as a alternative to traditional wood stains when I was in ninth grade. I made a walnut console table in wood shop and stained it with rit dye. And later much later in 2012 I used rit dye to stain on a new house I was doing. It turned out very well. Thank you for posting.

  2. I LOVE your tip on using RIT to dye wood. I’ve got my Grandmother’s hand me down end table that she had painted. The paint on the table top was starting to chip away, and it has taken me forever to figure out what I wanted to do with it. This idea is perfect! I may have to try this on my kitchen table that is from the early 1900s .

  3. I stained a small deck on the back of my house with a mix of different colored Rit dyes. It looked great. Alas, it faded pretty quickly in the sun. I tried dying it a second time, but that also faded. Went back to using regular old stain. If you use the dyed wood for something that will stay indoors, it obviously won’t make a difference. The fun thing is the variety of colors you can choose from. Also great for baskets.


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