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Transtint/Wood dye color mixing

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Forum topic by woodetal posted 10-11-2021 05:39 PM 468 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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woodetal

128 posts in 1059 days


10-11-2021 05:39 PM

All: I am applying wood dyes to some projects and the offered colors are pretty basic. Rather than a trial and error approach to dying wood, I am sure there is some guide some where setting forth what colors, combined at what ratio give an end result color. I GOOGLED and searched this forum and anywhere I could to find such a guide (some helpful material for staining furniture projects, just not what I am after). So, far not so much help. SO, does anyone have a source for ratios and colors? I am planning to have the work outside—colorful for garden projects, blues, greens. A base color, 3 coats of epoxy, 3-5 coats of oil based varnish. I have one piece completed in green and want a different green. Working in small batches is not ideal. The cost of the dyes and waaay more product than is needed leads to this question. Any assist welcome. Best, Brian


12 replies so far

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JAAune

2057 posts in 3603 days


#1 posted 10-11-2021 06:15 PM

A color list is useless without samples in hand since the color is different depending upon species, surface prep of the wood and the topcoat. You’ll have to make your own list and samples to know what color is what.

To create your own list, start with a standardized formula. We use 1 cup of water and dye dispensed by the milliliter (using syringes from McMaster Carr).

Start with your water, alcohol, etc. and add 1 milliliter of color at a time. Dye some small samples and add another milliliter of dye and repeat. You can create a range of samples with a single batch this way before having to start a whole new batch. Bottle, label and save the leftover dye mixture when you’re done.

You might also want to test samples outside and see how long it takes for the sun to bleach the dyes.

-- See my work at http://altaredesign.com

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Mike_D_S

808 posts in 3501 days


#2 posted 10-11-2021 06:17 PM

Brian,

I use a fair amount of Transfast and have mixed it for different colors, but I’ve never seen (and couldn’t find with google) a color chart for mixing.

However, I’d think a basic color wheel and some experimentation will get you pretty close without too much wasted effort. The great thing about water soluble dyes is you can experiment in increments.

Want a vibrant orange? Start with yellow base coat and wipe on light coats of red. The yellow dye will dissolve with the application of the red and mix to give an orange.

Want it brighter? Go back over with a yellow wash.
Want it darker? Go over it with a black wash.
Want more red, do a red wash.
Want to lighten the whole thing or spots? Wipe with clean wet rag.
Want to treat some spots more than others? Work more dye into a small area.
Want to add a highlight of a very different color (green on an orange background for example)? Sand back to bare wood using 150 or higher grit in the area to take out the dye on the surface then carefully treat the areas with the new color.
etc

Start with the color you want as the main driver. So a bright vibrant orange starts with yellow while a darker flame orange starts with red.

There’s a lot you can do here and because you can re-wet the dye on the piece to mix colors, you can sneak up on the perfect color by repeated applications.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

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woodetal

128 posts in 1059 days


#3 posted 10-11-2021 07:12 PM

OK. I get the “your results may vary depending upon the type of wood you are using.” So sneaking up on the color by applying lighter/darker colors makes sense. I had not thought of re-applying a tint to the base color. Based on the responses, there is no rough guideline out there. Experimentation is the process. Basic color wheel and adjustment. Syringe for small lots is great advice! The tried and true “trial and error.” Or, perhaps more accurately, hit and miss?? Best, Brian

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Rich

7569 posts in 1876 days


#4 posted 10-11-2021 07:26 PM

One tip for TransTint that I got from the late Charles Neil is to dilute the dye 50:50 to start with. I agree with him that it’s easier to measure that way.

Like Mike said, a feature of dyes is that you can apply them repeatedly to get more color, allowing you to use a dilute mixture and sneak up on the result you want.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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JAAune

2057 posts in 3603 days


#5 posted 10-11-2021 07:35 PM

Be sure to keep your sample pieces small during the incremental process. If the samples are too big, you’ll use too much of the solution for each sample and mess up the ratio when adding more dye to the mix.

After you get a batch of samples and know what colors you want to keep, you can mix a fresh cup of dye and create larger samples.

Do keep a written record and all the small samples for future reference. If you go through this process once in a systematic manner and keep all the info, you’ll never have to do it again.

-- See my work at http://altaredesign.com

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Mike_D_S

808 posts in 3501 days


#6 posted 10-11-2021 08:28 PM

Also, I’ll mention the TF water soluble powder dyes have a very very long shelf life dry. Even when mixed they last a long time if you keep them out of the light. I start by mixing at the recommended ratio in large mason jars, making a full mason jar of the base dye. I store them wrapped in brown paper and they last a long time.

I’ll draw from the main jar into other glass jars for use or mixing. Typically I’ll wrap the jar with blue tape and write the recipe on it. Since I work from standard strength bases to start I can usually get repeatable results simply by following the recipe. I’ll use cups or syringes to transfer, but since its water as the base, I use a kitchen scale which reads grams to do the actual measuring for the mix.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

5032 posts in 2781 days


#7 posted 10-12-2021 08:44 AM

Good suggestions above.

My reference for mixing wood dye/stain colors is:
Mohawk Finishing Products M900-1050 Mohawk Finisher's Colorwheel

Woodcraft/Rokrap and other retailers often carry it.

Shellac.net has some instructions online on how to use it.

Some where on the Transtint site, Jeff has posted a cross reference of his color names to color wheel names.

Have worked with Mohawk dye concentrates looking for less expensive source of wood dye stain. My local Mohawk shop had a color mixing chart that showed guidelines to reproduce standard Ultra-penetrating Dye Stains. All I could get was picture of it. LJ size conversion is still sort of readable.

The recommended Non-Grain Raising (NGR) solvent is 50/50 blend of alcohol/acetone. Can add 5-10% propylene glycol as retarder to slow evaporation in warm and/or dry weather.
Have used a couple of Mohawk formulas. The colors are close, but not perfect match. Despite the recipe sheet failing, I find it useful reminder of color ratios using red, yellow, and black to shift various brown shades used in wood stains. Maybe it can help you too?

Big challenge with any wood color is how it interacts with natural wood color. There are many color mixing wheels available at artist supply house, but they are made for mixing pigments on a white canvas. The shifts due wood tones, make them impractical; unless you want to make dark purple or blue furniture using ‘white’ woods.
Regardless, If you want wood projects using bright primary colors, might need to pick up one those artist wheels. Might help to brush on up your primary color theory too?

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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woodetal

128 posts in 1059 days


#8 posted 10-12-2021 02:37 PM

Once again, the sage experience of this site have rewarded me/all of us with advice that solves problems. Great words and advice from all. Thanks to those sharing their experience. I like the syringe, color wheel, small lots, and grain raising ideas. I started mixing from a 50/50 water/alcohol green and will add yellow and red, go to the color wheel for adjusting color, using specific wood for trial and error and coloring to meet the need. Thanks again!!!

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2900 posts in 3276 days


#9 posted 10-18-2021 02:59 AM

No one mentioned that transtint and transfast are NOT light fast, ie uv will deteriorate the color quickly sitting outside in the sun. No dye is to my knowledge. Yes both of these are some of the best, but not good enough. You really need pigmented stain or paint for exterior use.

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woodetal

128 posts in 1059 days


#10 posted 10-18-2021 03:35 AM



No one mentioned that transtint and transfast are NOT light fast, ie uv will deteriorate the color quickly sitting outside in the sun. No dye is to my knowledge. Yes both of these are some of the best, but not good enough. You really need pigmented stain or paint for exterior use.

-
Hmmm epoxy is not UV tolerant. That is why I put 3-5 coats of oil based varnish with UV blockers. Shouldn’t varnish provide enough UV protection for the dye?

View Rich's profile

Rich

7569 posts in 1876 days


#11 posted 10-18-2021 04:12 AM


Hmmm epoxy is not UV tolerant. That is why I put 3-5 coats of oil based varnish with UV blockers. Shouldn t varnish provide enough UV protection for the dye?

- woodetal

Good reminder from OSU55. No, the UV inhibitors in the varnish only protect it from UV damage. They do not block UV from the dye.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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woodetal

128 posts in 1059 days


#12 posted 10-18-2021 03:11 PM

Once again, the sage experience of this site have rewarded me/all of us with advice that solves problems. Great words and advice from all. Thanks to those sharing their experience. I like the syringe, color wheel, small lots, and grain raising ideas. I started mixing from a 50/50 water/alcohol green and will add yellow and red, go to the color wheel for adjusting color, using specific wood for trial and error and coloring to meet the need. Thanks again!!! Well I went through all the transtint info I could find, backed that up with varnish research and as stated—dyes are not going to be protected from UV by varnish. I have years of varnish over epoxy. Epoxy is not UV protected. There are some UV epoxies although I have never used them. Short of paint, using just water in the mix may give a longer life. The darker the color the greater the fade. Thanks again.

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