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Thread: Stencil staining of maple

  1. #1

    Stencil staining of maple

    I am making a decorative chopping board for my niece for her upcoming wedding. It would like to stain the center section (maple) with their names. I have found places online that can make vinyl adhesive stencils that look like they might work OK, but probably only with water based stains. Iím not sure the vinyl will stand up to the solvents present in oil-based dyes.

    To minimize bleed through, ideally a gel-based stain would work the best. Does anyone have any good suggestions for such a product? The outer portions of the board are walnut, so a color similar to that would be great.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    I'd take it to someone with a laser and have them burn in whatever design you want. Easy peasy with no stain bleed. Alternatively, take it someone with a CNC. They can mill in whatever design you want which you can then stain. Here's one example I did on my CNC.


  3. #3
    That is beautiful, but unfortunately I do not know anyone with either of those devices (Iíd love them but not sure my budget stretches that far!).

    How exactly did you stain the design after the CNC.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    Spray a relatively strong solution of Transtint in water or, better, I think, alcohol on your vinyl stencil. Test that it stays stuck with the alcohol, but I'd expect that to give you sharper edges as it doesn't stay "wet" as long. You can also reduce Transtint with acetone, which will dry off almost instantly, so even a paper stencil laid on top of the piece should work fine.

    Look for a "maker space" in your area, many, if not most of them, have a laser engraver that one can use. Our public library has one for public use (well, they will run it for you), perhaps yours does too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Do a Google search for "How to do a wood picture transfer". This might get you some ideas.
    Confidence: The feeling you experience before you fully understand the situation

  6. #6
    Thanks everyone for the replies and suggestions. I have ordered a bunch of dyes/stains and I am going to practice on scrap Ďtil I find something that looks acceptable.

    Iíll follow up when I get a result (hopefully)!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Peoria, IL
    You will have to seal the grain with something before trying to stencil. The dyes or stains are going to wick in the pores of the wood and go under the stencil no matter what you do. Any trophy or awards shop will laser engrave the names for you.

  8. #8


    So I practiced with a bunch of stain using yellow painters tape and found that GF Java Gel Stain produced virtually no bleeding if the dye was applied almost dry with a blue shop towel. I ordered a stencil from CraftCuts and with the help of my wife we positioned it on the wood.

    The maple was sanded to 400 grit to make sure it was perfectly smooth, I warmed the vinyl with a heat gun, and used a metal craft roller to make sure it adhered to the wood. It was stained using the dry method and the stencil was removed after 15 mins or so. Iíll follow it with a coat of shellac and several of Arm R Seal.

    The only issue I had was that the glue on the stencil was so strong that it removed a few fibers of the walnut at the edge. A quick sand will sort that out.

    Thanks for everyoneís advice and help, however I am seriously thinking about an Ortur LF2.
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