Introduction to Wood Stains in India

Ever wondered how the dull and boring surface of an ordinary plywood can be made vibrant with colours that enhance the surface patterns ? Enter Wood stains (Click on link for the beginner's guide to using wood stains). Wood stains are finishing media that allow for adding color to a wooden substrate. Staining the wood results in the wooden grains / patterns being enhanced resulting in a finish appealing to the eyes. Now, wood stains is a topic that I have been deliberately avoiding because of my inadequacy in the skill. However, over the last few years, I believe that I have gained enough practice and expertise to discuss it here.
Complete guide to wood staining
Walnut wood stain
Wood stain - Before and After
The surface preparation required and the method of stain application may make the whole staining process look very complicated. The idea behind this post and the subsequent posts (COMING UP) is to detail the process of staining for all to benefit. This will be a series of 5-6 posts explaining the individual steps involved in achieving the desired look using stains.

Wood Stains in India

I don’t claim to be an expert and I am not offering to elaborate on all the different types of stains that are there in the market. This blog is brand agnostic, and so am not endorsing any particular brand either. Following are some of the Wood stains that I have worked and have seen fulfilling results with.
  • Asian Paints
  • Wudfin (by Pidilite)
  • MRF Wood Stains
  • Sheenlac
All these stains come in a 100 ml bottle and will cost anywhere between Rs.33-Rs.40/-.
Wood Stains available in India
Different wood stains - 100 ml bottles

Colour options in Wood Stains

Wood stains come in various colors that suits your needs. These are available in most hardware stores that also sell paints. Unfortunately, not all colours may be available at the local store as they stock only fast moving colours. The following is the shade range that I picked from the MRF Paints website. Other brands also have similar colour ranges.

Wood Stain colour options
Wood Stain colour ranges
Image Courtesy : MRF Paints

Stained Wood Finish

As I mentioned earlier, the stained finish will enhance the wooden patterns on the surface and make the grains noticeable more prominently. Unlike in paints, where the surface finish is one uniform opaque layer, stains will make the surface grains visible. Stained finish is certainly my favorite and I have shown few projects below that I did using wood stain.

Stain wood finish
Stained wood look

Application procedure

Though I am going to elaborate each of the steps involved in staining wood in individual posts, it makes sense to mention the steps involved in staining wood:
  • Sanding. Stains fill the grains and other dents in the wooden surface giving it a different color. And so this becomes a very important step. Staining requires a very smooth surface
  • Sealing. Sealants prevent uneven distribution of the stain and helps in achieving a uniform color across the surface
  • Staining
  • Varnishing
While there are certainly other types of wood stains, I have only mentioned those that I have worked with. The composition of these stains is beyond the scope of my understanding. That said, I should warn you that working with sealants and stains may result in inhalation of fumes and hence warrants the need to follow safety precautions. 

More later in the subsequent posts. Meanwhile, do leave a comment and let me know if there is anything specific you need me to cover in this series.

- Somu

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  1. Very informative.. Am wondering how the coloured stains will look. Must try this out!

    1. Hi Ambika, glad you found it informative. Infact am wondering too... So far I have only tried shades of brown. Do let me know if you try it out. Would love to see the outcome.


  2. I was wondering same as Ambika, I have a dresser to revamp and debating between painting or staining with colored stains.

    1. Staining needs sanding... so if you are refinishing, that should be one hell of an activity... Besides that , I would be just as eager as you are to know the colored stain look. I was not able to source from the few shops that I inquired in. Hopefully will look for you to let me know :)

  3. Very informative! But what can I do, if I want a glossy white finish, or a bright blue one? I just can't find a good solution....

  4. I am a starter in wood provided by is really useful...thanks

  5. We have imported wood stain CABOT make and the drying is very very slow - takes more than 10 hours !! What am I doing wrong ?

  6. Thanks Somu. I was thinking that only one-side-teak (OST) can be varnished. I did not know until now that even plain plywood can be given such a beautiful appeal by staining. Many thanks.

    1. Hi, Applying directly on plywood is normally never recommended. But then, that is the beauty of being a non-professional. You can always experiment :)

  7. I am a DYI enthusiast. Your blog is very informative.

    1. Hi Ankur, thanks for dropping by. Happy to hear your feedback :) Do keep coming back and happy DIYing :)

  8. Where can I find the stains and PU's in Bangalore? One of my passionate hobby is carpentry and mostly I have used minwax products for stains, fillers and clearcoats.

  9. Hey Somu, Gr8 info... perfectly explain... I always like to do creative stuff.... its really gona help me out.

  10. Hi Somu,

    Could you please tell me how much stain would be required for a 100sq ft area for 2 coats?


    1. Area depends on shade you selected for example if its dark shade like walnut one coat would be sufficient as additional coat would make wood grains appear light.Quantity depends on surface of material as few wood with large pores will consume more and closed pore wood with consume less

  11. can you explain how can this be done

  12. Somu ur blog is very informative. It is very hard to find somthing like this on net.
    Bdw i hav to stain the recently wood floored stairs.. My painter is asking me to buy something burnt seinna n rakh seinna.. What's your suggestion on that??

  13. Hi I made my interior doors with teak wood , can I get the finish of walnut brown for that teak wood , if so can u please suggest me which stain I should use

  14. Need to change my teakwood bed to walnut color. I wish to do it on my own. Can you guide please. It would be really great help if you could make videos of how to apply polish. Change wood colors and others.

  15. Hi Somu,
    I was wondering if there is a stain that I can use to get that ash wood effect on my ply. Or paint? I bought a piece of ply for my DIY project. It has a name of the ply on it. Is there an a stain I can get?

  16. Could any boday tell me where can I get minwax varnish in hayderabad or bangalore...

  17. Thank you so much for this detailed explanation!
    I had a question, however.. these stains that you have mentioned in your post; are these water based or solvent based?
    Thanks :)

  18. Hi,

    I am Ashutosh, a resident of New Delhi. I have a house in Karol Bagh. My house has a lot of wood work which includes furniture as well. I wanted to do something nice with it paint/polish/design. Whatever looks beautiful. I am not sure what to do. Can someone who has already been through the process help me with it?
    An elaborate explanation of the entire process would be very helpful for me. Thanks in Advance.

  19. Hi,how to stain/paint it in white. Is there a white wood stain? If so pls can you specify the brand.

  20. What sealant we can use as pre stain wood conditioner

  21. Really a great addition. I have read this marvelous post. Thanks for sharing information about it. I really like that. Thanks so lot for your convene. CutTheWood - Woodworking DIY

  22. Hi was just seeing if you minded a comment. i like your website and the thme you picked is super. I will be back. dunnage


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