Can anyone recommend a nice array of laser-safe colorful wood dyes/stains?

We have been buying Rowmark Colorshop woods, which are pre-stained satin finish 1/8" plywood sheets. It is a nice product but it is also $15-16 per sheet, and that is adding up.

I would like to find a line of colorful stains so we can process cheap BB plywood and create something similar.

TransTint dyes look promising, it’s a 2 oz concentrate that you can mix with water, poly finish, or alcohol.

There’s this stuff too:

If anyone has gone down this road and found a product they like, I would love to hear about it.


Plywood is notorious for not taking stain evenly, but BB seems to be ok for the most part, probably because of its careful standards. Standard HD ply is really dodgy by comparison.

Someone was telling me they stained some. Was that @ElsieH?


@robermar36 works a lot with stain I believe.

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Also, @pubultrastar, don’t you use some colorshop? Ever looked at homebrewing it?

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Yup. However, I was going for kind of a rustic look, so I didn’t really do it the way you are supposed to when finishing. Didn’t sand before or after stain. I used a gel stain (which is great stuff by the way, very thick and easy to apply and sticks to just about anything pretty well). I didn’t even use any poly or anything after that, but I think it turned out pretty well. And yeah, probably/maybe could have been lots better. I’d be interested to see what folks who know how to do it and have the patience to do it well turn out.

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Yes, I’ve tested a number of different Romark Colorshop wood. It’s expensive, but saves a ton of time when you don’t have to stain.

I have tried just about every color, and it is good stuff… but man, at $15+ per sheet, I feel like it should not have any knots.

I’d be happy to put in the work to make some similar stuff if I could knock $10 off the per-sheet price. It would also give me access to some new colors.

Stain or dye might not be the right kind of product too, I don’t know. The Colorshop “Whitewash” is an off-white finish, clearly too opaque to be a stain… very nice looking.

I’ve done color washes on BB with watered down acrylic craft paints with good results. I did it prior to cutting, and let it dry out before use.


I make most of my own stains. I usually try to make mine more alcohol based than water based, due to the quicker dry time and less warpage to the ply. I, like @geek2nurse, will use acrylic paints, as well as coffee, tea, food coloring, walnut sheaths, oak tannins, etc.


You can buy pretty much the same thing from the wood gallery for about the same price. It used to be a lot cheaper, but that was then.

This is maple ply with alcohol based stain made with coffee.


These were stained with alcohol based stain with food coloring…


Loving the Ultra Dye from Plaid. Water-based… really bright, though.


I have never tried it but the name is cool…


dang, I love that though.

Where are you getting yours? Locally?


I ordered it from them directly during a sale a couple of weeks ago. Some folks have seen it on clearance at their local Michaels stores (hope that doesn’t suggest they’re discontinuing it).

I also use Ultra Dye. It get it directly from Plaid but some Michael’s carry. Plaid does sales online regularly.image


I need to make one of those!

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My local Michael’s never carried it. So I’m assuming it was only some of the stores and perhaps they have decided to go with another vendor. Happens quite often. I know that one of the colors Plaid was out of for some time has come back (Teal) in stock on their website.

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I bought wood from them and discovered that local only buys what will sell. Everything else is website only.

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