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Stained bamboo                                            White                                      Black                           Mahogany

Bamboo is a hardy material used in furniture, building material, decor, and a lot of other products where hardwood are replaced . Although different species of bamboo comes in different colors, sheens, and textures, in general, bamboo's naturally dry color is a yellow, cream color. There are two ways to change the color of the bamboo to your desired look. You can stain or heat treat the bamboo to a darker color or change it to a completely different color. Staining can add a mixture of different colors, while heat treatment only darkens it to a mahogany or brownish color. We recommend Amteco 300 for staining or sealing your bamboo product.

Preparation for staining

  1. Wash the bamboo with a non-abrasive cloth with soap and water before getting ready to change the color of bamboo. Allow the bamboo to dry completely.
  2. Use fine-grained sandpaper to lightly sand and remove the bamboo's natural waxy layer. All bamboo has this outer layer which will prevent the bamboo from being stained. Make sure you sand the bamboo evenly, if not the bamboo will not be evenly stained. This will give the bamboo a mottled look.
  3. If the bamboo you desire to stain has been left out in the weather for several months, it may have turned a light gray color. Bamboo that has been weathered has lost its tough, waxy, outer layer and will readily take a stain, varnish, or paint. You just need to do the first step.

Be aware that sanding the bamboo will change the character of the bamboo since it removes the bamboo's natural sheen and reduces the nodes.

Staining the bamboo

  1. Use circular motions with a sponge or rag to stain the bamboo. Pay attention to the node areas.
  2. If you find that the bamboo is not taking the stain, wipe off the extra stain with a rag and allow the area to dry. Try re-sanding the area and then re-stain.
  3. Allow the stain to dry the specific number of hours recommended by the manufacturer. Add several coats as needed to get the desired color.
  4. Finish with a sealant that will bring back the shine and prevent the bamboo from drying out and becoming brittle.

Heat treated bamboo wall

Heat-Treating Bamboo

  1. Toast the bamboo with a handheld torch. Gently move the torch back and forth down the length of the bamboo until the desired color is reached.
  2. Work in 6-inch sections, and turn the bamboo as needed. Work all the way around before moving on.
  3. You may use a high-gloss paint if painting bamboo to give it a natural, glossy shine.
  4. Heat-treating bamboo, but not browning it, can be useful in killing any insects or eggs within the bamboo. It will also remove the starch, which attracts detrimental insects and gives the bamboo a natural, glossy sheen. Observe the bamboo as you heat it, and when an oily residue rises to the surface, gently wipe it off with a rag. Do not use the same section of the rag twice or you will put oil back onto the bamboo. Overlap sections when heating for best results.

If you think these are too much work to stain your own bamboo, you can buy our stained bamboo from our website.




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Last modified: February 23, 2014