How to Stain Wood With Rit Dye

Things You'll Need

  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Rag or tack cloth
  • Drop cloth
  • Glass jar
  • Liquid Rit dye
  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon
  • Sponge brush
  • Gloves

Turn your unfinished wood furniture into custom pieces in a rainbow of colors using liquid Rit dye. Those who like the look of woodgrain showing through stain can achieve similar results with Rit. The lighter the wood, the truer the color of the dye will be. Rit also works just as effectively for dyeing wicker or rattan. After you stain wood with Rit, you can coat it with lacquer or sealant to provide a high-gloss shine.

Sand the surface of the wood with 220-grit sandpaper. After sanding, wipe the wood clean with a damp rag or a tack cloth.

Mix 1/2 cup of liquid Rit dye with 2 cups of simmering water in a glass jar. If you are using powdered Rit, mix one packet with 2 cups of simmering water. Allow the mixture to cool until the dye is still warm but you can hold the jar comfortably.

Put on gloves to protect the dye from staining your hands. Dip a sponge brush into the dye mixture and press out any excess dye against the rim of the jar.

Brush the dye onto the wood in long, even strokes. Allow it to dry between coats.

Repeat the process as many times as necessary until you achieve the color saturation you want. Reheat the dye every time you paint on another coat; it must be hot to work.


  • Rit dye appears darker when wet. Like paint, the color will be lighter once the wood is dry.


About the Author

Ann Jones has been writing since 1998. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies. Her journalistic work can be found in major magazines and newspapers. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.