Staining a Project? Try a Colored Stain…

Tips for Staining Wood with Colored Stain

Have you tried a colored stain? I know, generally stains come in colors such as oak, mahogany, cherry, etc. but what I’m talking about are the stains with non-traditional colors such as Gulfstream (a fab teal), Frosted Lilac, Citrus, etc. There are a few brands of water-based stain that produce tintable bases such as Minwax, Cabot, and Ace Hardware. I’ve tried a couple of them (except for the Ace Hardware brand because I didn’t like the colors) and now have a new favorite. Today, I’ll share which brand is my new favorite as well as a few tips on staining wood with colored stain…


Cabot has a new product called Premium Wood Finish that comes in a fabulous assortment of colors. I was at one of the big-box home improvement stores one day and the can of stain caught my eye. The Cabot Premium Wood Finish is a stain and finish all-in-one plus it comes in three different sheens – Satin, Semi-gloss, and Gloss. I really fell in love with the Gulfstream color (I am a sucker for that teal-y color!) so I thought I would give it a try. I decided on the Satin finish because it is my favorite!


I had a huge dresser I built using White Oak plywood that really needed a finish but I was stuck. I wanted something a bit different than the traditional stains. I found a scrap piece of the plywood and tried the Cabot stain on it… I fell in love!! It is gorgeous! So after months of this poor, naked dresser sitting on my deck wrapped in a plastic cover, it finally has a gorgeous new coat!



I purchased another can of the Cabot wood finish in Ruddy for a cabinet I built using Mahogany plywood. The color is gorgeous! The wood finish is so nice… It isn’t blotchy, covers evenly, and looks fabulous! The wood finish is self-leveling so there are no thick spots. Ruddy was the perfect color for the Mahogany plywood. (Sorry about the photo quality – it was taken indoors because it was raining!)



I also bought a small pint of the wood finish in Fruit Punch – a color I would describe as a bit on the “obnoxious” side but would look great on a chair or a small table but knowing me, I will build a huge cabinet and stain it with this color! Here is the sample on a piece of White Oak plywood:


Great, right? I am really excited to try it in a few other colors! Maybe one day, Cabot will make the wood finish in an Indigo color… I could go nuts with that!

So, when using colored stains:

  • Test it on a scrap piece of wood the same species as your project, if possible.
  • Generally, more than one coat will be used. I used three coats of the Cabot wood finish to get the shade I wanted.
  • For the Cabot stain, DO NOT wipe it off! This stain is not like a traditional stain. It is meant to be “painted” on!
  • A bristle brush or sponge brush can be used, and I prefer the sponge brush. It makes a smoother coat with no brush strokes – just watch the edges of the project and wipe up any thick spots.
  • Let it dry a full 2-1/2 hours between coats. This makes the finishing a long process but it is worth it in the end because a separate sealer does not have to be used!
  • Give the project a light sanding after the first coat. This will knock down the grain plus make it easier for the second coat to “bite” into it!
  • After the third coat, buff lightly with the finest grade of steel wool.

So, what do you think about staining wood with colored stain? Will you try it? What brand worked best for you? It is a fun way to add a bit of color to a project while letting the beautiful grain of the wood show through!


I purchased the products mentioned in this post myself. I have not been asked to write a post about the Cabot stain, I just like the product and felt that the readers might want to know about it! An Cabot, if you are reading, I would be forever grateful your new BFF if you could produce the Premium Wood Finish in Indigo!

Originally posted 2014-05-13 08:00:56.

  • LindySez

    I’m going to try it…does it work with sanded painted wood or does the wood have to be unfinished?

    • I messed up laquering though

      Grade 11, just did a project withwood stain on a oak desk. If you want the wood to look the color of your new stain you would want to have the wood clean so the new stain can soak into the pores like in the turquois drawer above.

  • Love this turqoise chest Cher…really vibrant.

  • Pingback: Jewelry Box Frame with Cabot Stain + Giveaway!()

  • Jake

    I need to check this product out. Does it come in the small cans or only the giant life-time gallons?

    • CherTexter

      I love this product! It comes in quarts or the 8 oz. cans. there is a wide variety of colors and is available at Lowe’s. It is so easy to use and I find it is much better than some of the other “one step” products!

  • nakhai1

    you never mentioned how to get the blue stain

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