Alcohol Soluble Aniline Wood Dye Powder

Alcohol soluble aniline dye powder, a synthetic wood dye first discovered in the mid-19th century. Used on furniture and vintage musical instruments, the alcohol soluble variant is suitable for use on all hardwoods and is most notable for its poor lightfastness when exposed to UV light. This is evident on instruments from the 50s and 60s whose deep cherry colour has now faded to a pale red. This range of dyes is offered for such applications, where a vintage, aged effect is desired.

Sizes available:

14 gram bags, each of which will make approximately:

  • 1 litre of standard strength liquid dye

  • 0.5 litre of concentrated liquid dye

  • 2 litres of wash strength liquid dye


1 litre of dye will cover approximately 8 square metres. This can vary depending on the species, type and surface condition of the wood to which it is applied. All swatches shown are 2 coats of standard strength dye applied to maple which has been sanded to 320 grit.

Best used for:

Specialist guitar finishes where a fading finish is desirable. Reds and pinks can fade as quickly as 2 weeks depending on the level of UV protection provided by the top coat used. As well as being used as a liquid dye, this can be mixed with solvent-based lacquers such as nitrocellulose to make a tinted lacquer. To aid mixing with lacquer it is recommended to use some acetone as well as synthetic methanol solvent. Lacquer thinning should be reduced by the amount of liquid dye added.

Not recommended for:

General interior, furniture or craft applications where colour fading is not desirable. Water Soluble Aniline Dye Powder is a much better alternative, or our ready-mixed Spirit Based and Water Based Interior Dyes. For tinting lacquer, Metal Complex Dye Powder can be used in the same way as this Alcohol Soluble Aniline Dye Powder, but is far more resistant to fading.


To dissolve we recommend our Shellac & Aniline Thinners, which are a Synthetic Methanol solvent. Alternatively Methanol (wood alcohol) or denatured alcohol can be used, but these are not as effective.

  • Add the solvent to a suitable glass, plastic (HDPE) or ceramic container and stir

  • Continue stirring while gradually adding the powder

  • Stir occasionally over the course of 30-60 minutes to ensure all powder is dissolved

  • Strain the solution before use

  • The dye can be applied by sponge, cloth, brush, spray or dip

If adding to our clear nitrocellulose lacquer, using a 3:1 mixture of Shellac & Aniline Thinners and Acetone can help to dissolve the solution in to the lacquer.


Powder dye should be stored at room temperature in a sealed container and away from direct sunlight.

Once mixed, the dye can be stored for up to 1 year in a suitable container. Shake well before use.