Stain Wood Veneer

How To Stain Wood Veneer – Step-by-Step Guide


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Oak veneer sheets are commonly used for furniture and remodeling a house. These are also extensively used to build homes.

But you see, the natural color is not good enough for a house or a space. Although the natural color is beautiful, a room full of similarly colored materials does not make for an appealing look.

Because of this, most people tend to ask can you stain wood veneer?

The simple answer is yes. You can stain wood veneer. You can even paint it.

The process of staining wood veneer is similar to staining any wood. Since wood veneer is delicate and has thin layers, the process demands you to be careful. There are some other differences, minute ones, that we’ll get into in the steps as well.

Steps for staining wood veneer

Before we jump into an extensive step-by-step guide on how to stain wood veneer, here is what you will need:

  • Degreaser.
  • Sanding paper, 180-grit.
  • Sponge.
  • Wood stain.
  • Clean cotton cloth.
  • Wax, shellac, or lacquer.
  • Natural bristle brush.

Step 1: Cleaning the surface

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When it comes to staining wood veneer, the surface needs to be clean. Make use of a cloth and some degreaser to wipe the surface.

Make sure that dust and grime are not on the surface.

Step 2: Sanding the surface

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Wood veneer has a reputation for being delicate. A common mistake while sanding wood veneer is that people go easy on it.

In truth, you should not go easy on sanding veneer. The second step to our can you stain wood veneer guide is to ensure that the surface is sanded properly for the stain to take hold.

Use fine-grit sanding paper to sand the surface. A 100 or 180-grit sandpaper will work for you. Remember, using heavy sanding paper may end up making you sand through the surface altogether.

When you sand, sand along the grain and not against it. If you feel that the surface is not smooth enough, you can move to a higher grit sanding paper.

Before moving on to the next step, ensure that the wood veneer surface is smooth and free of scratches.

Step 3: Staining wood veneer

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Now, for the real answer to can you stain wood veneer question, get a small sponge or paintbrush. Some people even make use of rags to stain their wood veneer.

Whatever tool you decide to use to stain your wood, it should be clean. Dust and other particles can be transferred through these tools. And when you sand the wood, later, these can scratch and damage the surface.

When you use stain, remember it will darken the wood. Get a block of wood to test the shade. If you feel that the stain is too dark, take some of it out and dilute it. Test it again. Repeat the process till you find the shade you like.

Once you have the stain ready, use the sponge, paintbrush, or a rag to stain the wood by dipping it in and using it on the surface of wood veneer.

After you stain the surface, make sure that you wipe the surface immediately. Wipe it off in large circular motions. Then, use the cloth to wipe the surface parallelly. In this manner, you will spread the stain over the entire surface evenly.

Let the stain dry for the next thirty minutes.

If you’re satisfied with the result, move on to the next step. But, if the stain does not look good to you, you can simply apply another coat and wait for it to dry.

Step 4: Using wood finish

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Before you use a finish of your choice on the wood surface, you need to clean the surface again. This way you will remove the small dust particles on it.

Next, get a paintbrush to apply the finish on the surface. You can make use of any wood finish on wood veneer. Once you have the answer to can you stain wood veneer, and stain it, finishing will be easy.

Wax is one of the commonest ways to finish the surface. Simply because it is easy to use and helps you get a good look. But remember, wax finishes will not last long. So, you need to be generous with the coats of the same.

Before you apply the finish, sand the surface as you did before. Sand along the grain, not against it. Once done, use the paintbrush to apply the finish on the surface. Remember to keep the coat even.

You can even make use of a clean rag to do the same.

Let the coat dry.

Step 5: Finishing the project

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The last step in our can you stain wood veneer guide is to reapply the coat of finish. Wax finishes need successive coats. The reason for this is that wax does not protect your surface.

To make sure that it does, you need to apply at least three coats of finish. A general rule of thumb dictates:

  • Two or three coats at first.
  • One coat a day for a week.
  • One coat for a month.
  • Another coat for a month after.

Based on that, you can pretty much see that your wood veneer will need quite a lot of coats to finish the project. But remember, this may look like a time-consuming process, but it will help you protect the surface for longer.


When you’re looking to stain or paint wood veneer, the first tip is to remember to be careful. Wood veneer is delicate and is made of thin layers. If you sand it too much, it will break.

Another thing to remember is that the type of finish you can use on the surface is limitless. You can practically use whatever finish you want.

After you apply a coat of finish, you may need to sand it. But that is something you’d have to make a judgment call on. Sometimes the finishes need buffing, other times they do not need to be buffed.

If you use steel wool to sand after applying the finish on the surface, remember to clean the surface. Steel wool leaves small particles of steel on the surface.