General Finishes Water based Dye Stain

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Teinture aniline à base d'eau General Finishes

Water-based Dye Stains penetrate deep into the wood to beautifully magnify the grain. They will provide your project with more depth and color vibrancy than any other wood stain. This product is excellent for highly figured woods like mahogany, walnut or maple. Dye stains can also be used as a toner when mixed with Water Based Topcoats.


Step 1: Preparation for Dye Stain

Before applying stain, all raw wood projects require preparation sanding. If you skip this critical step, your finish may fail.


Preparation for Raw Wood Projects

Sand open-grain wood (e.g., oak, ash, mahogany, parawood) with 120-grit sandpaper, followed by 150-grit, then 180-grit.
Sand closed-grain wood (e.g., cherry, pine, maple, birch, alder) with 150-grit sandpaper followed by 220-grit.

Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.

Do not over-sand with fine-grit sandpapers; this will close and seal the wood grain, preventing ideal color absorption.

Do NOT use steel wool with water-based finishes; the particles will get trapped in the finish and rust.


Reducing Grain Raise on Raw Wood
To reduce grain raise, dampen the wood with water after prep sanding. Let dry completely, then lightly sand with fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad.


Step 2: How To Apply General Finishes Dye Stain


General Finishes Dye Stain Application Steps

Stir stain to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can before and throughout the application process.

Test your complete finishing process beforehand. Stain color can be affected by variances in wood, room lighting, and deepened with the application of topcoat. 

Divide your project into manageable sections: top, side, drawer, door, table seam.

Apply 1-2 coats. A second coat will create a deeper, richer color. Do not apply more than 2 coats.


Hand application: Apply a LIBERAL amount of dye stain using a cloth, a synthetic bristle brush, foam brush, pad applicator or roller. Dye Stain penetrates the surface fast; if not enough stain is used, the surface may dry too quickly, causing an uneven appearance. Stain one complete section, such as a side, top, or drawer, and immediately wipe off excess evenly with a cloth, paper or shop towel before starting the next section.


Spray application: Before spraying, strain topcoat through a fine-mesh filter. Spray wet films at 3-5-mil thickness. HVLP: 1.1mm-1.3mm spray tip, medium air cap. Verify tip sizes with your equipment supplier. Wear a full filter respirator and work in a ventilated space. Keep your gun at a 90° angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large, flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6-8" wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" wide to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage. If coverage is even, there is no need to wipe. If you have issues with uneven coverage, wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth.

Dry 2+ hours between coats in ideal conditions: 70°F/20°C; 50-70% humidity. Inadequate dry time is one of the top reasons for finish failure. If in doubt, wait longer. Increase dry time if humidity is over 80%

Allow final coat to dry 2-4 hours in ideal conditions: 50-70% humidity, 70°F/20°C.

Step 3: Topcoat over water-based stain

Always seal General Finishes dye stain with a topcoat product. Adding more coats of the Water based Dye stain will not improve durability.



Cleanup of water based products

Application tools and materials containing water-based products can be cleaned with soap and water immediately after use.

Product Spills
Spills may be able to be removed from fabric and carpet if cleaned immediately with soap and water.


Product Colors

Yellow, Amber, Light Brown, Medium Brown, Dark Brown, Orange, Empire Red, Vintage Cherry, Cinnamon, Merlot, Pewter, Ebony, Green, Blue, Reducer (Clear)

Base Type


Interior or Exterior

Interior only


Water Based Stain



1 - 2 coats

Application Method

Brush, Spray



Usable over existing finishes




Spray Tip Sizes

HVLP 1.1mm-1.3mm


Dry Time - Touch

30+ min.

Dry Time - Recoat

2+ hr


Can Sizes

Pints, Quarts, Gallons

Can Size Exceptions

5 Gallon Pails available in Light Brown, Medium Brown and Dark Brown only.


60-80 sq.ft./pint, 120-160 sq.ft./quart, 480-640 sq.ft./gallon



Very Thin

Weight Solids



Amber: 240.586 g/L
Blue: 241.508 g/L
Cinnamon: 180.280 g/L
Dark Brown: 237.570 g/L
Ebony: 13.049 g/L
Empire Red: 211.959 g/L
Light Brown: 190.333 g/L
Medium Brown: 239.163 g/L
Merlot: 241.058 g/L
Orange: 177.655 g/L
Pewter: 108.540 g/L
Green: 242.044 g/L
Vintage Cherry: 207.285 g/L
Yellow: 102.018 g/L

More Information
BrandGeneral Finishes
ApplicatorPolishing cotton, Foam brush, Roller
Product typeStain
Drying time2 to 4 hours
Coverage120 to 160 square feet per liter

Technical Sheet

To consult the Safety Data Sheet, please click here.

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