It is possible to make plywood more exotic?

hey all, i was wondering was the best way to stain or dye a 3mm birch plywood, i try to stain my laser cuts with leather dye, and they look “odd” is a way to stain, dye, paint, etc, that make the plywood look a bit more exotic?

PD: this is a example picture, but is really close to how my plywood look after stain

Try sanding your plywood first but really lightly as you do not want to go through the top layer.
Use something like a 180 - 220 grit but just be careful especially on the edges as it will be really easy to go through the layers there.
Sanding will help remove any marks and also help close the pores to get a more consistent and even stain.

Depending on the plywood you are using you might want to dilute the stain with a wood conditioner, this would help you get a more even coat - suggest getting some test pieces and have a play with your mixtures and use a rag to apply.

Good luck


Not really sure what you want in terms of an exotic look. I would not use leather dye as it is not designed for wood penetration.

I use MinWax products as their product seems to stain much more evenly [less blotchy] for me.

Also use a pre stain to help the stain take into the wood more evenly.

When you sand, wet the wood then let it dry that will bring up the grain.

Careful, uneven sanding can also create blotchy appearances. I always try the stain on a piece of scrap before I sand to see if it needs sanding. Then I try sanding followed by pre-stain then stain to see if it stains evenly.

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thanks both for your advise !!

i will sand with carefull of not created a uneven surface and i will buy the wood conditioner and the minwax stain and try to se how that goes!

there is a hardware store close to me so i will buy and try that on some scrap pieces that i have, thanks so much!

Be aware that if you are staining before you laser cut, you want to be aware of what is in the dyes. For example, it’s a really bad idea to laser cut things with chromium in them; apparently they can produce hexavalent chromium, something I personally would like not to learn very much about. :stuck_out_tongue:


Like @donkjr I tend to use minmax stains on my birch plywood. For oil based stains I use their pre-stain conditioner to get a more even look. With water based stains I don’t use a conditioner.

Don’t sand too fine or it will decrease the stain uptake. I usually don’t go below 150 grit.

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@NedMan did you know about this product?


Actually I didn’t. Thanks!:smiley:

To apply stain and pre stain I like to use 3in foam brushes. 3in is biggest that will fit through the top of quart size cans of stain. I use the cheapest brushes I can find like these.

Pro Grade - Foam Brushes - 3 Inch - 36 Piece Poly Foam Brush Set

Totally useless if you need to apply an even finish (edges are uneven) but great for applying a stain you will wipe off.


thanks to all i think i will go for the min wax water base, i try the oil base one, and the problem is that they have a loot odoor, and in a aparment that is super anoying xd, but i will see!

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and thanks for that advice, i will try to stain after engrave, i am not interested on get hexavalent chromiun hahaha

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Using wood stains are fine, no hexavalent chromium present. :slight_smile:


WOOD conditioner is some interesting stuff. Wood has a grain. It is composed of soft wood and hard or atleast harder wood. When stained the soft wood will absorb the stain easier than the hard wood. The conditioner treats the soft grain wood and makes it absorb less strain. This allows for a more consistant appearing stain.

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