Sometimes you just can not find the wood stain color that you need. This is common when you are trying to match the color to an existing piece for repairs or if you are creating a piece from another era. There are just too many colors and combinations. Here is a write up for making your own pigmented oil stain.
Measure out a quart of mineral spirits into your 2 or 4 quart measuring container. The mineral spirits is going to be what is known as the "vehicle" of the oil stain. The "vehicle" is what makes it possibly to apply the stain to the wood and carry the oil pigment. You can also use pure gum turpentine or white vinegar, but I prefer the results of mineral spirits to both solutions. You can pick this up at your local home improvement center, paint center, or Meijer.
Next we need to measure out 7 ounces of boiled linseed oil with your measuring cup. Pour the 7 ounces of boiled linseed oil into the quart of mineral spirits you measured out in Step 1. The boiled linseed oil is going to be what is known as the "binder" in the oil stain. The binder will help to keep the oil pigment locked into the pores of the wood and help it to saturate the wood. You can pick this up at your local home improvement center, paint center, or Meijer.
Now it is time to add pigment and color. This is where this gets tricky and technical, but still not too hard. The important thing to remember here is to use linseed oil based paints that already contain japan drier in them. There are a lot of paints out there that are both linseed oil based and walnut oil based. I would recommend the use of Japan colors if they are available, but Grumbacher or Winsor & Newton oil paints will also work. When you are at your local art supply store, ask them about a paint line that is linseed oil based and which already contains japan drier in it. That will be your best bet. If you can not find any paint with japan drier in it, then you will have to purchases some Japan drier to add to the mixture. Add 4 ounces of your color to the boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits mixture you created in steps 1 and 2. You can mix colors to achieve the tone and color you want, however ONLY USE 4 ounces of color total. Premix the colors before adding to the boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits mixture if you have to.
OPTIONAL STEP: If you notice that your stain is not drying properly or quickly enough, this is where you will have to add the Japan drier or cobalt drier to your oil stain. The key here is to remember that you only need a very very very small amount of Japan Drier. Do not mix in more than 1/2 an ounce to your overall solution.
Now mix the solution thoroughly with a paint stick.
Stain your project and enjoy your handi-work and how clever you are for making your own wood oil stain!
The formula provided should give you about 1 quart of oil stain.
Use boiled linseed oil. It contains a dryer element. If you use raw linseed oil, it will not dry.
Only Use a total of 4 ounces of color. Premix colors before adding to the solution.
If you have to use cobalt drier or Japan drier, please use gloves, goggles, and a face mask, as this stuff is toxic.