Purple is one of the bold wood stain colors that are rare in wood finishing. As it is, many brands do not offer a purple option in their wood stain lines.

So you can easily walk an entire interior or exterior wood stain aisle at your local retail store and not find one.

Yet purple wood stain is among the most beautiful wood finishes, especially when used correctly.

What is the Purple Wood Stain?

Purple wood stain is a deep-colored wood finish designed to mimic the color of Purple Heart wood. It can be used on indoor and outdoor wood to add interest and depth to furniture and other wooden pieces.

Since the purple wood stain is a gel stain and a glaze, it works by forming a film on the wood surface, giving it a rich purple or purplish brown color.

You can thin the stain by adding water as directed by the manufacturer on the product label, doing it slowly to have complete control of the consistency.

By diluting the stain, you can create a gel, standard stain, glaze, antiquing tint, or whitewash—just the most versatile wood finish ever.

The stain provides a genius way to achieve the bold, beautiful color of Purple Heart wood without incurring the steep prices of purchasing the wood.

Aside from being expensive, the Purple Heart wood has limited supply in many regions, making the purple wood stain a handy alternative.

What is Purple Heart Wood?

Purple Heart is a distinctive wood type that is incredibly strong and durable. The wood comes from a group of 23 large tree species native to parts of central and South America, especially the Mexico-Brazil territory.

Purple Heart lumber has a bold and vivid purple color that is solid throughout the wood. This color is unique only to Purple Heart wood. The wood boasts a distinct grain pattern that is straight and continuous throughout the boards.

Purple Heart boards are also heavy and hard, guaranteeing excellent yield and ideal for all kinds of woodwork. The wood accepts regular wood glue and wood finishes, so woodworkers enjoy using Purple Heart for small and large projects alike.

When exposed to sunlight, the lumber takes on a tinge of brown as it ages. Thankfully, you can coat the wood with exterior grade varnish to prolong the purple color.

Even better, you can stain your Purple Heart wood projects with a purple wood stain to restore and preserve its beautiful purple shade.

Alternatively, you can use the purple wood stain on other lower-cost wood species to avoid spending the premium on Purple Heart.

What are the Characteristics of Purple Wood Stain?

As the name suggests, purple wood stain is purple in color. However, this is just one of its main characteristics. Read along to learn more about the purple wood stain characteristics that can benefit your woodwork.

  • Purple wood stain is water-based, so it has a low odor with a pleasant jasmine scent that is not irritating and it soothing to work with.
  • Water-based also means the stain is low in volatile organic compounds, making it safe to use in enclosed spaces.
  • It has a thick consistency. Unless diluted before use, the stain goes on thick, creating a protective coating on the wood surface.
  • The stain is deeply pigmented, providing superior protection against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. This explains why wood coated with the purple wood stain retains its vibrant color without fading.
  • Purple wood stain is formulated to be incredibly easy to use, so you need no expert woodworking knowledge to use it successfully.
  • The stain is made of eco-friendly ingredients. It contains no toxic ingredients, so it will not hurt your pet or the environment.
  • Purple wood stain is highly versatile and multipurpose. You can use it to transform the color of your outdoor furniture, paneling, walls, railings, tables, garden chairs, doors, cabinets, and more.
  • The water based stain is mold-resistant, protecting your wood against molds, mildew, and undue discoloration.
  • Purple wood stain is waterproof. Once applied on the wood surface, it protects it from water damage. This quality makes it ideal for exterior use, where precipitation and humidity are rampant.
  • It cleans easily with soap and water, thanks to a water-based formula.
  • Purple wood stain is fast-drying, which can significantly speed up your project.

What is a Purple Wood Stain Used For?

Woodworkers use the purple wood stain on various indoor and outdoor projects in its original form as a gel or glaze.

People also dilute it with water and apply it on wood, metal, glass, fabric, wicker, pottery, concrete, and laminate as stain, antiquing tint, or whitewash.

Here are some more specific uses of purple wood stain.

  1. Protecting indoor wood from the inside out. When applied to bare wood, the stain penetrates the grain, protecting it from inside and out.
  2. As a glaze. Woodworkers wipe the stain over existing finishes to brighten and highlight the surface character. When used this way, the product offers beautiful 3-dimensional effects.
  3. Waterproofing. Since the stain creates a waterproof coat on the wood surface, it is typically used on outdoor furniture, railings, and fences to protect them from water damage.
  4. Protection from UV damage. Wood pieces exposed to sunlight typically benefit from the protective pigments in purple wood stains.
  5. Decorative purposes. Some homeowners paint their decorative pieces and items like terracotta pots with purple wood stain to match the rest of their exterior décor.
  6. A deck stain. Purple deck stain is popular for homeowners who have stained their outdoor furniture purple to create a uniform outdoor look. Because purple wood stain is popular for outdoor furniture, purple deck stain is an excellent choice for these spaces. The deck stain does an excellent job penetrating deep into the boards while giving a stunning look to the yard.

How to Use Purple Wood Stain

Knowing the entire range of applications of purple wood stain can greatly benefit your wood projects. The stain is of superior quality, so you may want to make the most of it.

Here is some help to point you in the right direction.

What you will need

  • Purple wood stain
  • Sandpaper
  • Sander
  • A pair of hand gloves
  • Drop cloth
  • Clean rags
  • Applicator (paintbrush)
  • Oil-based sealer

Procedure for using purple wood stain

Step 1. Decide how you want to use the gel

As a glaze, you will just wipe it on as it is. As a gel stain for use on porous wood surfaces, you can dilute the purple wood stain with water up to 70 percent. The stain has unique qualities that keep the color vibrant and strong even when diluted. 

Step 2. Cover your work area with a drop cloth

As a tradition, it is always best to cover the floor beneath your project with plastic sheeting or drop cloth. This material will collect the wood dust while you sand your wood to avoid messing up the place.

The drop cloth also ensures any spilling color does not stain the floor or objects adjacent to your project. For s small project, you can use a handful of old newspapers to get the job done.

Step 3. Sand the wood

Once you are set, use a power sander with 220 grit sandpaper to even out the wood surface to ready it for the stain. 

You could start with 150 or 180 grit sanding paper before switching to finer 220 grit paper for final sanding. After sanding, use a tack cloth to wipe the wood dust and let the surface dry.

Step 4. Prepare the stain

How you prepare the stain depends on your desired outcome. If you wish to use the stain as a glaze, skip this step.

However, if you prefer the product as a penetrating wood stain, transfer some of it into a clean bowl and mix it with water.

We recommend mixing one part of purple wood stain with two-part water—this is the ratio that has worked best for us.

What if you have two stains you want to use together; is mixing stain colors possible? Find out

Step 5. Apply the stain

For use as a glaze in its original gel form, some people just shake the product bottle to mix and then spit it directly onto the wood (or whatever object they are staining).

After spitting the gel directly onto the wood, you use your high-quality bristled paintbrush to spread it along the grain to create an even film. The product dries pretty fast, so ensure you work fast and don’t pause midway.

To use the product as a standard penetrating stain, mix it well in the mixing bowl to create a uniform liquid, brush it onto the wood along the grain, and allow it to penetrate the wood for a few minutes.

Often, five minutes should be enough waiting time, after which you wipe the excess stain off the wood surface. Use a clean rag and wipe with the grain to leave the wood looking evenly colored and beautiful.

Ensure you use painter’s tape to cover the parts you wish not to stain if you are staining only some parts of your furniture (such as the tabletop).

After applying the stain, leave it to dry completely. The product labels should guide you on the appropriate drying time.

Step 6. Seal it

After the stain has dried completely, observe the color to see if you like it. If not, add another coat of the stain following the same steps as the first coat.

Once you are happy with the stained wood and the surface has dried, apply a coat of oil-based sealer to lock in the color and protect the stain from reactivating. It is water-based, so exposure to moisture can affect it if the surface is not sealed.

Oil-based varnish or polyurethane should give you the best results in this case. After sealing, let it cure completely before putting the piece to use.

Now, find out whether it’s okay to add stain to polyurethane.

How to Make a Purple Wood Stain at Home

Many leading wood stain brands do not offer purple wood stain, so knowing how to replicate the stain at home can be handy.

To make a homemade purple wood stain, grind some purple cabbage in a food processor and transfer a small amount of it at a time to a fine strainer.

Push the ground cabbage onto the strainer with a spoon or pestle to extract the purple juice. It may take time to extract enough juice this way, so be patient and repeat the process until you have collected enough purple juice.

Finally, clean the foamy liquid with a cheesecloth or disposable kitchen towel. Once done, store the juice in the fridge for two to three days before staining your wood.

Purple Wood Stain vs Purple Wood Dye

Comparing purple wood dyes vs stains is not easy. While both have a purple pigment, they are not the same.

  1. Purple stain costs more than purple dyes such as the Keda Wood Dyes.
  2. The wood stain offers more application options (gel, glaze, or penetrating wood stain), while the dye offers limited application options.
  3. The wood stain consists of relatively heavier particles that settle at the bottom, and you must shake it continuously while using it to ensure consistent color. The dye requires less shaking as the particles are lighter and remain suspended in the solution.
  4. The purple stain is less prone to blotching. The dye is more blotch prone.

Unicorn SPiT Gel Stain – Best purple wood stain for outdoor furniture

The unicorn spit is paint, a stain, and a glaze—all in one bottle. Some users have considered it the best thing ever invented in a bottle. Others also consider it the easiest wood finish for any hobbyist or professional woodworker.

The product is versatile, allowing you to use it across various surfaces, including furniture, paneling, walls, garden chairs, railings, tables, doors, cabinets, and more.

It’s also one of the best stains for outdoor wood furniture.

You can also use it as a film-forming glaze or dilute it into a penetrating stain for use on bare wood.

What is the Lavender Wood Stain?

Lavender is a purple stain with a hint of soft blue color. It also has a look of blue-stained wood. The stain contains no solvents and is incredibly easy to use. It is richly formulated to enhance the wood grain and make it pop instantly. It also boasts high coverage and resists fading.

What are the characteristics of the lavender wood stain?

  • High pigment concentration.
  • Low odor and low VOC.
  • It is water-resistant. 
  • It is resistant to molds and other fungi.

What are the uses of lavender wood stain?

Lavender wood stain is primarily used to transform the color of window frames, door frames, doors, skirting boards, cupboards, and kitchen units. It is also used to stain outdoor furniture.


What kind of stain is the hardest to apply on wood?

The hardest stain to apply on wood is lacquer. This is because of its fast-dry properties. It dries very quickly and can be difficult to work with. Additionally, lacquer is a very thin stain that can be easily wiped away if not applied evenly. Generally, lacquer is not recommended for staining wood projects.

Can you use purple food coloring as a wood stain?

Yes, you can use purple food coloring as a wood stain. In fact, it’s a great option if you are looking for a nontoxic stain or want to do a DIY project. Purple food coloring is made from plant-based dyes, so it is non-toxic and safe for indoor and outdoor use.

Why is Purple Heart wood so expensive?

Purple Heart wood is so expensive because it is a rare type of wood. The supply of Purple Heart wood is limited, so the price for this type of wood is high. If you are looking for a durable and beautiful type of wood, then Purple Heart may be the right choice for you. However, be prepared to pay a higher price than for other types of wood.

Read: Gray wood stain colors

Final Thoughts on Purple Wood Stain

The purple wood stain may be expensive, but it is incredibly high-coverage, offering the best value for money compared to any wood stain type.

If you are unwilling to spend money on the relatively expensive Purple Heart wood, the purple wood stain should be a handy alternative for staining other types of wood to look like Purple Heart.

Is purple wood stain your desired finish? We hope that you enjoyed this guide. Please let us know what you think in the comments.

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