“Staining” wood with acrylics

I’m mixing a gloss varnish that is water based, with tiny bits of my indigo acrylic, to create a wash or a stain for my wood.

I want the final result to be a light blue, almost as light as the blue on the plate next to it. So it may seem odd that I’m washing out a dark color, when I could just use a lighter blue paint, in a more even tone. But my goal is to accentuate the wood grain!

Choosing the darkest indigo, and mixing it and thinning it out with a gloss, I know that it will be soggy and wet, and the color will sink deep into the cracks and grains.
Then I can wipe a rag across the top of the wood to pick up the excess, and just leave the deep color.
Wood staining and gloss
You CAN get this effect by watering down acrylics, but you can’t control the color as much that way. Too much water can get bubbly, and sometimes too runny to control.
It can also damage the quality or color of your paint.

This gloss finish mixes well with the acrylic to create a smooth “stain”. I do still add a few drop of water. The thinner the consistency of this color is, the deeper it will sink into the grains.
This wood is untreated, so it is very absorbent and is going to suck my paint right up.

Always start lighter than you think you need it to be, when mixing a dark color into a lighter one. And always mix the darker one into the lighter one.
Do not mix the lighter into the darker color.
A little goes a long way, especially with dark colors. You can always add more paint, to darken. But you would waste a lot of supplies trying to lighten a color that’s way too dark.

Use a brush that you won’t miss, later. I wash them with dish soap and hot water, but the gloss varnish can make your bristles a little hard or clumpy, later. It may look like it’s clean, but then you’re trying to paint a fine line later  in the week, and you realize the paint isn’t spreading evenly on your piece — That’s because there are still tiny remnants of that clear gloss. Ew!

I have brushes that I use JUST for the gloss.
Don’t  use a cheap brush! Yes, I’m telling you to waste a good one.
The cheap ones tend to leave looooooots of little brush bristles IN your paints and on your pieces. If you try to remove the bits when it’s wet, you may mess up your paint application.
If you wait til it dries and then chip them off, they leave little lumps and bumps behind.

Do you experiment with stains and paints on wood grains?
What are your tips and tricks for success?

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