How to Stain Bamboo Furniture

bamboo stalks on wood surface

Many experts consider bamboo furniture to be the among the hardest kinds of furniture to stain. This is because bamboo has a natural protective coating on it with a high silica content that makes bonding and absorption a very difficult proposition. However, if you have the time and patience to follow the instructions below, you can successfully stain your bamboo furniture.

Step 1 - Prepare the Surface

As in any staining or painting project, surface preparation is very important when working with bamboo. Use 100 and 200 grit sandpaper to first remove the top layer of the natural protective coating. Then follow up with 200 grit sandpaper to roughen the entire surface. This will allow the stain to penetrate the underlying wood. A very thin layer of the natural protective coating should remain.

Step 2 - Apply the Stain

stain and brush

Follow these steps to properly stain the bamboo piece. Before purchasing your stain, make sure that it will work on bamboo. Not all stains will.

  1. Use a paint brush or rag to apply the stain along the natural grain.
  2. Immediately rub the stain in and wipe it off.
  3. Allow the stain to set for a few minutes.
  4. Sand again using the 200 grit sandpaper.
  5. Wipe the piece down, removing all sanding dust.
  6. Apply another coat of stain with the grain.
  7. Immediately rub the stain in and wipe off the excess.
  8. Sand the piece completely again, using the 200 grit paper.
  9. Wipe the piece down, removing all sanding dust.
  10. You should see the wood beginning to take on the stain color.
  11. Apply another coat of the stain with the paint brush.
  12. Immediately rub the stain in and wipe it off.
  13. Allow the stain to dry completely for at least 2 hours.
  14. Apply multiple coats of a protective clear coat to protect against scratches and stain rub off.

At this point you should really begin to see the stain color beginning to saturate the bamboo piece. If the color is not as deep or dark as desired, you will need to put off step 14 until you reach the desired color depth. Repeat steps 1 through 4 until you achieve the desired result and then perform step 14.

Safety Precautions

There are some safety considerations when using staining products.

  • Wear latex or polyvinyl gloves to protect your hands from the staining products being used.
  • Always do projects such as these in well ventilated areas. A garage with the front and side door open is ideal to keep air circulation up and dust down.
  • Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from splashes.
  • Keep pets and children out of your project area until stain is dry and tools and materials are put away.
  • To keep stain off floors, lay down a layer of newspapers or plastic roll.

Staining bamboo furniture is a difficult process, but if you follow the steps laid out in this article you will end up with a piece of furniture that you can be proud of for years.