Coloring Oil Finishes

Coloring oil finishes is done by adding Artist’s pigments to an oil finish. These oils can then be applied to wood to create a finish that also has color. Tinting the oils directly creates a toning effect. Applying multiple layers to one piece will deepen the color. Layering several subtle colors will blend them, showing dimensions of each.

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Coloring oil finishes is the process by which an oil finish is tinted with a pigment, creating a toner. This new finish applies both color and film.

My video shows the technique, as well as how to create the mixture. Artist’s Oils can be found in many different places. Most craft stores sell them, as well as artist supply stores, and online. The individual tubes are a little on the expensive side, but they will last a very long time. Keep them in the house to prevent them from hardening or going bad in the temperature extremes of the shop.

Finishes are typically clear, and color is applied below them in the form of stain. Some finishes have color already in them, and are called toners. These toners apply both color and clear finish at the same time. Oils tend to lack this addition of color, but it can be done in the shop easily with artist’s pigments.

This is a great way to rusticate wood. Add a bit of grey or black to an oil. Then, apply the oil to bare wood. The pigment will land on the surface and instantly age the wood. A wipe of a weak yellow or orange will warm up the look if desired, but is not necessary. The rustic look is very popular now, and thankfully it is easy to create.

My 10 Step Guide to Wood Finishing is a free PDF that explains hand applied finishes. It makes an expert finisher out of anyone. Also, since the finishes are applied by hand, they do not require any fancy equipment. This makes the process easy for beginners, and cost effective.

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If you have any questions on coloring oil finishes, please leave a comment and I will answer them. Happy Building.


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