All You Need to Know in How to Fix Wood Stain Mistakes

Wood stain is a finishing material used to color the wood’s surface. It can be done either directly (staining) or indirectly (toning).

The results are not optimized if a piece of furniture is not experiencing a finishing process. Even the risk of damage to furniture will occur quickly. This is where wood stain comes into play. 

What happens when there is a mistake in applying the wood stain? So, how do you fix wood stain mistakes?

Functions of Wood Stain

One of the products that you can use to do wood finishing is wood stain. In general, wood stain is a finishing material that functions as a wood dye. It is normally used as a form of transparent natural colors on wood.

The main function of wood stain is to enhance the appearance of wooden furniture. If the furniture you are working on needs a bit of beautification, then the wood stain is a product that is suitable for use.

Wood Stain Main Ingredients

Wood stain is very similar to paint designed to give color to wood. Just like paint, wood stain contains the following ingredients:


The pigment will provide color that will dissolve together with the solvent.


Solvent (water-based) will bring the pigment into the pores or wood substrate. The result will give the same color as the wood, just like paint.


The binder content in a wood stain is not as high as in paint. Its function is to hold the pigment into the wood and dissolve it.

Causes of Blotchy Wood Stain

Several things can cause wood stains to look blotchy. One cause is when you apply too much wood stain. If you don’t let the stain dry properly, the stain will seep into the wood grain and create the stain.

Another cause is using the wrong type of wood stain. If you use a water-based dye, for example, on a piece of oak wood, the natural oils of the oak will prevent the stain from sticking to the wood and causing the stain.

Next, the edges will get rough if you’re not careful with your sanding. Thus, your wood furniture will cause a wood stain on your finishing process.

How to Fix Wood Stain Mistakes— The Application Process

There are three steps to properly applying wood stain regardless of its type. These steps are carried out in stages to build up the wood surface and make it easier for the wood stain to absorb properly:


The sanding process starts with sandpaper numbers 180-220. The wood surface will be rougher without sanding, and the finishing results won’t be even.


After sanding, the process involves wood filler material. Make sure to choose a filler color matching the wood stain’s color results.


To apply wood stain, sand the surface of the wood directly or that it has been coated with wood primer until smooth. Then, clean the sandpaper dust. Continue mixing the wood stain with a solvent.

How to Fix Wood Stain Mistakes— The Right Type

Choosing a good wood stain can be seen from the type. The wrong wood stain will cause blotchy finishing. In terms of how to fix wood stain mistakes, know the right types of wood stain:

Pigment vs. dye

Pigments are wood stains that contain color. Whereas dye is mixed with a solvent, it will dissolve even more than the pigment. Dye has a greater ability to adhere to the smaller pores of the wood.


Oil-based wood stains are more widely used. Thus, it requires thinner to be dissolved before use. The application process of oil-based stain can use a cloth with wiping or a brush.


Water-based wood stain uses water-based ingredients, making it safer and environmentally friendly. Water is used to replace thinner as the solvent. 



Gel-based wood stains are thicker than other types of wood stains. If you want to clean it, you have to use thinner. This wood stain is more difficult to apply but will result in a smoother wood surface. 

Wood Finishing Fix in How to Fix Wood Stain Mistakes

Here are some easy ways to deal with problems that arise due to improper wood staining:

Uneven wood stain

The fix is ​​to sand the threshold on areas that don’t have an even color. Clean the sandpaper dust with a cloth, then dip the cloth in a wood stain.

Using the wrong color

The fix is to apply to glaze even though the results will completely differ from what you want. Use a dark color glaze such as black or brown to correct the color of the wood that is too strong or light.

Wood oil appears

The fix is to use a sanding sealer as a wood base paint. Apply a sanding sealer before you apply the wood stain.

Tips in How to Fix Wood Stain Mistakes

Working with wood stains can be laborious if not done properly. Here’s how to fix wood stain mistakes quickly and easily:

Allowing it to dry properly

One of the biggest mistakes of applying wood stains is to wait too long to dry your furniture. Instead, try fanning air over it every few hours, so it continues to dry.

Using the right wood stain

Some popular wood stain types include water-based (for general applications), oil-based (for a darker finish), and a combination.

Sand properly

To prevent wood stains from leaving marks on the wood, use a brush to apply a light coat of wood sealer first. Give the sanding sealer about 15 minutes to dry before applying the wood stain.

Smooth coating evenly 

The important thing is to get a smooth and even coating on the wood. Brush the wood stain for a lighter color. For a deeper tone, leave i

t on for 5-10 minutes before wiping it off.

The wood stain gives color, not finishing

Always use varnish on wood furniture for finishing. Or, use a product that combines wood stain and finish in a single coat.

Do not mix oil and water

Water-based surfaces can be placed on top of an oil-based wood stain, but only after 24 hours for all the minerals to evaporate from the wood stain solvent. If it’s cold or raining outside, give it another day.

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