5 Tips to Remember When Mixing Wood Filler with Stain

A man uses wood filler.

If you’re the kind of do-it-yourselfer who never says die, wood filler is your best friend when it comes to patching up and repairing that old wood furniture that anyone else would have thrown out long ago.

Wood filler allows you to fill in the holes and cracks that appear after years of use and wear and tear. But not all wood fillers come in the same shade and color, so to be sure to match it to the color of the wood you’re working with, you’ll probably have to mix it with wood stain.

This helps you to achieve a truer color, and lets you avoid layering on the varnish. If you’re about to get started on a project that will require you to mix wood filler with varnish, you might want to keep the five following tips in mind.

Tip 1: Prepare and Clean Your Work Surface

It is important to prepare the surface where the wood filler will go. Remove all traces of old paint; sometimes wood furniture has layers of paint which kills the natural beauty of the wood.

In that case, you will have to use a paint remover. A clean and dry surface makes your work much easier once it’s time to apply the wood filler, and seeing the wood in its natural state will help you to determine the natural color of the wood.

This comes in handy when you will mix the wood filler with the stain. Remember that in order to clean the surface you have also to use sandpaper.

Tip 2: Let it Dry Before You Apply

One of the mistakes that people do when they want to apply wood filler mixed with stain is to do it when the wood is not dry. If the wood is not dry the wood filler won’t stick as it should. This will result in ugly cracking in your furniture, which is the problem you were trying to fix in the first place.

Tip 3: Choose High-quality Stain

In order to obtain the best results mixing the wood filler with the stain, it is important to identify which type of stain you are going to use. There are two kinds of stain: water-based and oil-based.

Both of them are great to mix with wood filler. Water-based stains are usually easier to work with, but they don’t have the natural look of the oil stain, whereas if you mix an oil-based stain with the wood filler, the look will be beautiful and natural, but be very messy to work with.

Tip 4: Tint First, Then Apply

Once you identify the natural color of the wood, it is better to mix the wood filler with stain until you match the color of the wood. This will helps to be more productive because if you don’t get the right color, you will have to remove all the wood filler and try it again. So it is better to match the color first and then apply it.

Tip 5: Use a Spatula and a Brush

Whenever you use wood filler, you have to apply the first several layers with a spatula. After that, it’s better to use a brush for the final touches. Remember to apply the filler in the direction of the grain of the wood.