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Forum topic by JTTHECLOCKMAN posted 11-30-2018 06:42 AM 929 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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241 posts in 3572 days

11-30-2018 06:42 AM

May have been asked before but I could not find it so will ask again sorry. I want to use trans tint dyes to color some maple wood (small items) My question is what is the ratio mix to get the most vibrant color from the dye using warm water?? I will be mixing in 4 ounce glass bottles. I am using the liquid dyes. I will be using bright colors such as yellow, green, blue, purple and red and black. Thanks in advance.

-- John T.

10 replies so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22913 posts in 3528 days

#1 posted 11-30-2018 11:46 AM

Hi John. I have never use these dyes but when I want information, I go to You Tube and learn a ton of things.
Here is one on Transtint dyes!

cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Redoak49's profile


4052 posts in 2411 days

#2 posted 11-30-2018 11:56 AM

I have used Transtint dyes and best advice is trial and error. I mixed it with alcohol because it raises the grain less than water.

I used it on Figured maple to bring out the grain and tried a couple of different dilution. I would mix small amount and try on wood scraps.

View becikeja's profile


1003 posts in 3235 days

#3 posted 11-30-2018 12:03 PM

Experiment……. That’s about the only way anyone will be able to give you an answer. It doesn’t take much to drive strong colors.

My suggestion (use at your own risk) is to start by adding a very small measurable amount. Say half a teaspoon. the trick is consistency. use a small cap or something so you can accurately measure each additional amount. Then test on a 2” square piece of scrap. Let it dry, then put the finish on that you plan to use, let it dry and see if that’s the color you want. Then keep adding dye and go through the process again until you get what you want.

Why a 2” square piece of scrap. It’s the minimum size I have found that I can actually tell what it will look like. Any smaller and the surrounding back ground distorts. Make sure the scrap is sanded, especially the end grain.

Yes it’s a pain, but it’s the only way I have ever found to get what I want.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Rob Vicelli's profile

Rob Vicelli

109 posts in 3114 days

#4 posted 11-30-2018 12:07 PM

Hi John, I have used TT dyes but most of the time under a stain for a subtle color. I make up some trial containers measuring the drops of TT to the amount of water. You can start with 20 drops of TT to 3 or 4oz of your carrying agent (H2O or DA). Once you have the correct color calculate a larger batch and have at it. Good Luck

-- Rob V

View OSU55's profile


2363 posts in 2412 days

#5 posted 11-30-2018 01:51 PM

Ive used TT dyes a lot and to get the type of coloring you describe. As others said you need to test, so you build your own experience base. Whether using alcohol or water you wont build much intensity past the 1st coat because the solvent redissolves the dye. Spraying it may, never tried it because spraying never colored the negative grain.

Putting a binder in with the dye helps build intensity. Either a wb finish or shellac will work with TT. Shellac provides chatoyance and is what I use, wb just looks blah. Try a very dilute dewaxed shellac, 1/4-1/2 lb cut. Work with an ounce at a time while testing. Count the no. of drops you put in from the TT bottle, they are pretty consistant in size. I use craft/popsickle sticks for early testing, then the actual wood when I think I have what I want. Put 1 coat of just dye on 1st, use alcohol, wipe on several times until no more color builds, then add the shellac with dye. You can add coats of the shellac dye to build intensity. It can be a challenge to prevent lap marks. Good luck.

Unless topcoating with poly you can use waxed shellac.

View JTTHECLOCKMAN's profile


241 posts in 3572 days

#6 posted 11-30-2018 02:51 PM

Thanks everyone for the quick replys. Yes I will experiment. I have done the DNA additive but I need to use water this time and thus the question. I was hoping there was a formula as per ratio but I will play around. Should be getting the dyes some time next week. I still have some from old product I can use to experiment. The problem there is the colors are more muted and browns. Not the vibrant colors I ordered. Will see how it goes. Thanks again.

-- John T.

View OSU55's profile


2363 posts in 2412 days

#7 posted 11-30-2018 05:00 PM

If you use just the TT dye without a binder and topcoat with a wb finish, some of the dye will “lift” into the finish. It may not be enough to be an issue, but include in your testing. A coat of shellac prevents the lifting.

View robscastle's profile


6225 posts in 2626 days

#8 posted 12-23-2018 06:51 AM

Its Dyeing! not dieing unless you have your finger stuck in a power point or death wish of course!

Concentrated, non-toxic, transparent, water dye is especially for use under Shellawax & Shellawax Cream, however it can also be used with confidence under all other types of surface finish.

Including: nitrocellulose, shellac, polyurethane, etc.

It is also possible to obtain very subtle pastel shades by adding full strength dye to 100 or even 1000 times its volume of water, because the dyes are concentrated they can be diluted up to 10 times their volume in water and still have extremely strong dying capabilities.

The dyes are all made from colourings approved for use in kindergartens and foodstuffs and are therefore NON-TOXIC making them safe for use on bowls, food utensils, children’s toys, babies rattles, etc.
Sold as a pack of seven only, colours include: Cedar, Bright Green, Red, Blue, Yellow, Black, Green and Orange.

-- Regards Rob

View htl's profile


4710 posts in 1581 days

#9 posted 12-23-2018 12:16 PM

I have used Transtint dyes and best advice is trial and error. I mixed it with alcohol because it raises the grain less than water.

- Redoak49

Thanks!!! I will be filing this tip for future use as i hate raised grain in my small model projects.
One more question will Jack Daniels work, you did say alcohol? LOL

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View robscastle's profile


6225 posts in 2626 days

#10 posted 12-24-2018 12:14 AM

I am not sure about the effect with JDs or others, however I think you should buy a case or two of several different varieties and then do a series of tests just to to try out the grain rasing effect of them of course!!

-- Regards Rob

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