Staining Birch Ply (6 Step Guide)

Do you want to stain your birch ply? Well, plywood is an excellent alternative to wood.

Besides the similar look, it does not easily warp hence assuring you of longevity.

Even better, it is less expensive than wood, and you can use it for your regular DIY tasks at home.

Being a 38-year-old wife and mother, I love to spend my free time practising DIY projects.

My favourite projects have always been staining and painting stuff in my home.

In my recent project, I got to stain birch ply and had fun doing it.

Here is how I stained my birch ply wood

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How to Prepare Your Ply for Staining

Start by Sanding Your Ply

I usually sand my plywood with 180-grit sandpaper as it is quick and effective.

It scraps off a thin layer of the plywood and leaves that smooth feel and look.

Plywood is not as strong as wood, so you need to be extra careful as you sand on the edges.

Get Your Wood Conditioner

Getting the right wood conditioner should be your next task. Wood conditioner dilutes the stain.

It is easily absorbable into the plywood.

As you choose the conditioner, you need to check the type of plywood in use as some may absorb the stain unevenly.

Use a cloth rag to apply the conditioner instead of a foam brush; this reduces the blotchiness on your birch plywood.

Make a Test Sample

Test samples are essential in any situation. Before I start staining my birch plywood, I always test a small area and check the outcome.

I use different shades of the stain to ensure that I get the precise shade I desire. If I like it, I proceed to the entire ply’s staining.

A Step-by-Step Guide for Staining Your Birch Plywood

Step 1: Get Your Birch Plywood Ready

Start by lightly sanding your plywood to get that smooth surface.

I use 180-grit sandpaper for accurate results.

Depending on the weight or texture of the birch plywood, I sometimes wet the surface to loosen the fibres. Your birch ply is ready.

Step 2: Apply a Pre-Stain Conditioner

While birch is a strong ply, it is also prone to imperfections when wrongly handled.

To protect it, you need to apply a pre-stain conditioner to avoid unsightly pigments.

Some may cause blotches and blurry effects.

Using the pre-stain conditioner ensures that the birch absorbs the stain more evenly during absorption.

Step 3: Apply the Stain to the Plywood

Get the correct stain for your plywood. I love water-based stains as they sync in well with birch plywood.

There are two ways to the application; using a rag and using a foam brush.

I prefer using an old t-shirt rag as it protects the plywood from blotchiness.

For the best results, apply it very quickly.

If you prefer using a foam brush, you should use simple brush strokes along the wood grain.

Step 4: Wipe Off the Excess Stain

Is there an excess stain on your plywood? This is more likely the case if you used a foam brush.

But worry not; you can quickly wipe it off using an old rag.

If left for long, the wood stain does not only dry but also turns into a terrible mess.

Wipe along the grain to eliminate swipe marks.

Step 5: Use a Toner and Fix Any Splotchy Areas

While you might have followed all the required steps, flaws may still occur.

Once the stain dries, you should use a toner to get that professional look.

Use a foam brush and brush it along the grain, just like the stain.

Step 6: Leave It to Dry

This step is as simple as it sounds. Leave your DIY birch plywood to dry.