Black Stain


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Oct 26, 2004
Wayzata, Minnesota
I have a non-framing project that I am building out of 1 x 2 premium grade lumber from Home Depot.

I don't want it painted but I would like it to be black.

What is the blackest black stain that I can buy?

Depending on how big your project is, I have had great success using black acrylic paint as a "stain." Thinned with water it provides a sealed black surface that shows the grain nicely. You can also add additional coats if the first one isn't "black" enough. You may have to sand lightly or use fine steel wool as well if the grain raises.

Many top coats can be applied, once again depending on the need: lacquer, polyurethane, wax, etc.

I buy raw poplar mouldings and use black acrylic (artist paint, usually Liquitex) - no odor and easy clean-up!
Instead of using Liquitex, in-the-tube paint, try airbrush paint. It is high pigment and very liquid. I use it to hand-color bevels on mats (when they BEG me and throw lots of money my way...) and there are no lumps or bumps to deal with. Also, the acrylic bond breaks down to some extent when you get beyond about 30% additional water. So if you end up using tube paint, then mix with a matte or gloss medium for your thinning. And don't skimp on quality. Price and quality are closely linked in the art materials business, so don't waste your time with cheap junk. It may 'look the same' but it is not.
If you're just looking for black wood stain, I use Minwax oil based stains on most projects. For black, probably Jacobean would be the color you want.

You can check the store display for color charts, but as for brands, either Minwax or Cabot.

Cabot is thicker with much more pigment, Minwax is thinner which will penetrate a little better.

Depends on whether you're using oak, pine, or poplar how it will take the stain, of course.
Well I have to say that I am duly impressed that the only answers (and good ones too!!) to a question about stain on wood have come from women!! It's traditionally the guy who piddles around out in the little woodshop making bird houses and whirlygigs and fat ladies bending over in the garden (I have always HATED those ghastly things!!) and I am glad to see that the fair side of framers have an active interest in this stuff.

Had my ex shown any interest in getting a bit of stain on her fingers occasionally, we may have still been married.

(Now let's see, Doug you're out of the running automatically, Betty and Ellen are spoken for already, I have a bad allergy to cats, .............. rats!! I just can't catch a break here!!)


(Just kiddin' around on a wet Saturday in Paradise!!)
If my ex-husband had let me register for tools like I'd wanted to instead of china place settings maybe we'd still be married.
Try a black, aneline dye, diluted with methyl alcohol. Dries quickly but will leave the wood grain visible. This will raise the grain of the wood slightly but if the visibility of the grain is not an objection it could be a solution. We frequently use this stuff and apply a black overcoat of lamp black mixed with a laquer. If you want a gloss, wax the finish.

Jack Cee
My boyfriend loves buying me tools, my ex never did. I guess he couldn't handle that I was way better with anything mechanical than he was. Bob knows he has a good woman with a tool belt!

Jacobean is one of my favorite stains, it might not be black enough though...but its beautiful especially on walnut!

Universal tinting color. Home Depot etc. carries the stuff. Mix with turpentine to your desired level of coverage. 16 oz. bottle will last for years. It can be mixed with any medium that you like (turp., oil, etc.). Dirt cheap also.
India Ink.
Followed with sanding, Watco Danish oil, and Watco liquid wax (thanks, Dave at Vermont Hardwoods).
A poor man's ebony.
I'd say the aniline dye too. If you mix it yourself you can make it as strong as you like. It comes either alcohol or water soluable and from where you are I'd send you just down the road to Rockler Woodworking at The Ridgehven Mall. They have samples and good advice.
I like all the answers I've seen. May as well add my technique. Usually we'll use Solarlux Dye; for black dye its wise to add a bit of brown(Van Dyke Brown)-otherwise the finished product looks Purple. Secondly, sometimes I'll use the Japan colors from Framing Fabrics (I think its called MANN's) Both end up looking pretty nice.

Good luck