How to Stain Plywood

By Wade Shaddy

Premium plywood comes from the manufacturer with its face veneers already sanded, but cut edges and obvious scratches must be sanded before staining. Hardwood plywood is used in almost all cabinetry. There are many species of hardwood plywood. All species of hardwood accept stain at similar rates, due to similar manufacturing methods and preparation.

List of Items Needed

  • Putty
  • Applicator
  • Sanding tool
  • Stain application tools
  • Cloth
  1. Inspect the surface of the plywood for any scratches or defects. Use wood putty to fill unsightly scratches or gouges or voids in the plywood edges. Let the putty dry according to manufacturer's directions. Lightly sand the dried putty smooth. Sand the plywood edges to remove any saw marks and splinters.

  2. Apply an even coat of stain to the plywood. Wipe the stain off after you have applied a consistent coat. Wipe parallel to the grain on the last pass. This will prevent small streaks from showing. Let the stain dry for one hour.

  3. Apply another coat of stain if you see blotches, variations or if the stain is not as dark as you want.

  4. Apply a sealer coat of lacquer or other clear protective finish after the stain has dried. Follow the manufacturer's directions regarding sealer application.

Tips and Warnings

  • Oil stains take longer to dry than lacquer stains, but penetrate into the wood for a deeper, more complex appearance.
  • Only use stain in a well-ventilated area. Wear breathing and eye protection when using stain.

© Demand Media 2011