Red Dye Finish Recipes/Ratios

Our daughter asked us, the other day, to make her a pink table. M had been itching for an excuse to purchase wood dye to experiment with, and this was the perfect opportunity since we had a goal in mind. We are looking for the body of the table to be slightly lighter than the table top in terms of color, and for there to be depth and luster. I think we found a great match!

Without further ado, here's our ratios and application process for each of these pine wood scrap boards.
Luster and sheen look great on pine! Especially in red tones!

As always, use the utmost care and keep out of reach and hands of children. And before committing to project, don't forget to try it out on a scrap piece first. You can adjust as you see fit.

For all three shades, here's the basics:

A. Tools
  • Glass jar with lid
  • Paint brush
  • Cardboard 
  • Wood
Let's get started!
B.Ingredients
  • Tinted Finish -
    • Polyurethane
    • Mineral spirits
    • Oil-based dye
C. Ratios
Mix the ratios of your choice into a glass jar.  Apply to scrap wood to evaluate results before committing it to a project. Adjust according to your preference.

  • Dark Red Luster Dye
    • 1 Part Polyurethane
    • 1 Part Mineral Spirits
    • 1/16 Part Red Dye (Recommended: Lockwood Dyes)
Apply 3 separate coats with a paint brush, with it dry before applying the next coat.
This reminds me of purple heart wood before it ages, and the luster compliments the shade.

  • Medium Red Luster Dye
    • 1 Part Polyurethane
    • 1 Part Mineral Spirits
    • 1/32 Part Red Dye
Apply 3 separate coats with a paint brush, with it dry before applying the next coat.
This ratio has the most depth out of the choices. A favorite for sure!
  • Light Red Luster Dye
    • 1 Part Polyurethane
    • 1 Part Mineral Spirits
    • 1/64 Part Red Dye
Apply 3 separate coats with a paint brush, with it dry before applying the next coat. 
This one changes colors according to the light on it. Sometimes it's red, sometimes orange, sometimes pink, sometimes gold. Very neat if you want a red-based iridescent item!

Enjoy! :)


Don't be afraid to experiment with varying quantities of dye, and find the ratio that provides the results that you would like to call your own. Dyes open up the can of worms called creativity, and wood makes such a fun canvas. Keep in mind the above examples are pine, imagine the possibilities with figured hardwood!

Now that our feet (paint brushes) are wet with an oil-based dye, that leaves us with water-based and alcohol-based to experiment with, not to mention creating finishing schedules that include combinations of these! We are very excited to continue learning about the artistic nature of wood and how we can optimize the natural aesthetics, all while creating functional items. To be continued!

The three recipes shown here are oil-based dyes from W.D Lockwood. This was our first time using oil-based dyes. We did not receive the items for free, and we are not getting paid in any way, shape, or form to evaluate their products. We do, however, like the products and choose to continue using them without a commission of any sorts.

Which of these oil-based options are your favorite? What would you apply your favorite dye to? Would a recipe card format be preferred?

Thanks for checking this out, we would love to hear what you think of the dyed wood look!

MC & M

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