Staining Plastic?

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Forum topic by rkn2019 posted 05-22-2019 05:52 PM 142 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 25 days

05-22-2019 05:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stain plastic scrollwork

I have a dresser that has decorative plastic scrollwork. I brought it to my local woodworking store and was told that I could strip the scrollwork and then stain it a different color. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case because the stain does not penetrate the plastic and can be wiped off. I also cannot remove the scrollwork – it has to remain on the piece.

Attached is a before and after photo – pre and post stripping.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me? It’s a beautiful piece and I’m afraid that I’ve ruined it!!

4 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile


9480 posts in 1523 days

#1 posted 05-22-2019 05:58 PM

It depends on the type of plastic. Plastics are dyed every day. In this case, I think what you probably want is an overcoat though. Whether or not that’s possible, depends on the type of plastic it is. I’d probably take it to a pro paint store (NOT HD/Lowes) and see what they say. May be some sort of primer that will stick that you could then apply a wood-filler type material on top of then stain that.

Best of luck with it!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1826 posts in 547 days

#2 posted 05-22-2019 06:20 PM

this type of ornamental carving was all the craze back in the 70s and 80s.
the larger pieces could be heated and formed to fit curved surfaces or specific
angles. the ones I used did not take stain. they had to be primed and painted only.
it looks sort of like what you have there.
factory spray primed and painted then a glaze was wiped on to resemble real wood.
splattered black paint specs would resemble pecan wood.
since you have it all stripped down, you may not have too many options other than paint.
play around with some finishes to see what you would be comfortable with.

if that were my project – I would use different spatula type of tools to get the emblems off.
they are probably held in place with small nails where the wood filler is.
and – dried up paint on the back acts like an adhesive. it’s plastic on wood. so it will come off.
if any of it breaks, it is easily repaired with 5 minute epoxy.
just start from the least aggressive approach and move up the ladder accordingly.
two very thin metal tools with a screwdriver pressed between them will cause the least damage.
I have several of the “Paint Spatula” tools that often come in handy for such projects.
you can get a set for $7 with free shipping on E-Bay.
best of luck in your project.
Edit: after you get them off, and you want to go with real stained wood ornaments, they are readily
available at the Box Stores in stamped plywood.


-- Failure is proof that you at least tried ~ now, go do it again, and again, until you get it right --

View ibewjon's profile


538 posts in 3178 days

#3 posted 05-22-2019 06:49 PM

You may be able to find similar trim in pressed oak or cherry and scrap the plastic.

View DrDirt's profile


4555 posts in 4127 days

#4 posted 05-22-2019 06:50 PM

You cannot really ‘stain’ these. But the graining on them is all just the same as using graining on a steel door. it is basically ‘painted on’. Using a shellac or laquer padding technique… Below is an article, where Tim redid the graining on “bondo” repair to replace wood on a chair

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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