Tips on staining proofgrade

I am working on my Settlers of Catan board, and I envision using color stain. I really want it to be very colorful. I am using proofgrade wood which already has a finish. I will sand that off. Any advice on stains I can get that will work well? Thanks!


There are expensive dyes you can buy from Woodworking Supplies or you can as I do and buy Rit Dye from Walmart and try it to see if it fits your needs.

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Rather than sanding off the proofgrade finish (I did it once, it takes some effort) have you considered staining the draft board? I’m told mdf is supposed to take stain. For painting it I sand it with 220 to smooth out the fuzzies left when removing the masking. A couple seconds and it is nice and smooth.

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Someone recommended alcohol based markers for me on one of my projects. But, I haven’t looked into that.


I used solvent based markers on a couple experiments (non proofgrade plywood) and it worked really well. Super quick and easy, unless you want to cover a very large area. I tried the blick studio ones, as well as the cheap eBay ones (that are sold under, like, 5 diff brand names). Markers give you a ton if control, too, for doing gradients, shading, etc. Stuff that would be very hard to do with traditional dye. Its also super tidy. Dries very quickly, no mess.

I also tried an actual wood dye (powder you mix with water) and didn’t like the effect - very splotchy color and the powder didn’t dissolve easily. I got better results using watered down drawing ink (those little glass pots of colored ink people use dip pens with). It raises the grain much more than the markers and is probably terrible cost wise, but I just had a set of them I wasn’t ever going to use. The ink has a much nicer result than watered down acrylic paint, in my opinion. I bet water colors would behave similarly.

Next experiment is going to be alcohol inks thinned down with alcohol. I feel like this will probably be a happy medium between the markers and the drawing ink. Faster to cover large areas, while being less likely to cause warping.


I’ve used copic marker on PG with good results. It has a pretty transparent effect, somewhat like watercolor.


Thats what I liked about it, too! I like being able to see the wood grain and variation through the color.

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There are lots of non proofgrade options at green valley and west penn hardwoods that would be less expensive and very colorful. Purpleheart, wenge, yellowheart, padauk, and so on… worth a look.

You might give alcohol inks a try. There are some great U tube shorts on using them and they are bright and transparent.