Changing the color of a particular wood is a common task in the woodworking world. When you end up with orange surfaces, your next move lies in knowing how to neutralize orange tones in the wood.
Orange tint can be the natural color of the wood or stain or paint color that you applied earlier.
But eventually, you may feel to tone down the orange color to match the surroundings or you need to change it to a different color option. That’s where you need professional help.
As a professional woodworker, I did some research and find out how to neutralize orange tones in wood
Adding stains with blue undertones neutralize orange tones in wood. You can use blue tints or paints to tone down orange tones in wood or aerosol toner with a blue or green cast. Finally, you can bleach the bare wood to knock out the orange in the wood.
But that’s a quick snapshot and there’re a lot of things to know about neutralizing orange in wood.
So, in this article, we’ll explore how to neutralize orange tones in wood deeply, how to tone done orange stains, what color tones down orange, and much more.
Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about toning down orange wood as well.
Let’s jump in!
Methods To Neutralize Orange Tones in Wood
There’re several methods you can use to neutralize orange tones in the wood. But some of them can damage the wood and give an unpleasant appearance to the wood.
As per my experience here’re the best methods you can use to tone down the orange color of any wood without harming the surface.
- Adding stains with blue undertones
- Adding blue paints or tints
- Aerosol toner with a blue or green cast
- Bleach the wood
I’ve followed all 4 methods above to neutralize orange tones in the wood. so, let’s get going through each of the above methods in-details with pros and cons.
At the end of this article, you’ll be able to select the method that suits you the most.
1. Neutralize Orange Tones by Adding Stains with Blue Undertones
Adding stains with blue undertones is one of the best methods to neutralize orange tones in wood. mixing blue stains with wood tones down the orange color of the wood and lightens the wood color.
I know you’ve wondered why you have to use the color blue color especially to neutralize orange. That’s because of the color wheel.
According to the color wheel, to neutralize a specific tone, use the color in the opposite direction on the color wheel.
For example, according to the basic color wheel theory, the orange color is placed opposite to the blue color.
That means you can neutralize orange color by using blue color stain, paint, tint, or any other blue pigment product.
Above the same method, we use to neutralize red tones in the wood by adding a green tone.
Here are the basic complementary color pairs of the color wheel, which cancel each other out when combined or mixed.
Every woodworker needs to have good knowledge about the color wheel. Anytime you mix the color that already has on wood with the opposite you get brown.
By adding stains with blue undertones, you can neutralize orange tones in wood without beaching the wood.
Please be careful about the amount of applying stains with blue undertones.
Because you get the neutralized brown color as you wish and cancel out both orange and blue colors, the orange-blue ratio should be 1:1. Add 50% of orange color to 50% blue color to get the base brown color. Otherwise, you won’t end up with light brown color.
Add blue stains on orange wood in small amounts until you notice both colors cancel out.
Adding too many blue stains to the orange wood surface may result in blue-toned wood rather than neutralizing the wood.
Therefore, apply blue stains little by little until you notice a clear difference.
Better to test blue stains on the scrap wood from the same wood first to get an idea about how much stain you need only to tone down orange without getting excess blue on the wood.
2. Neutralize Orange Tones by Adding Blue Paints or Tints
Adding blue paints or tints can neutralize the orange tones in the wood. here you can use blue paints, Mixol universal tints with blue color, and blue dyes.
According to the color wheel theory you can use any type of blue paint or tint to tone down its opposite color orange.
But here you need to have a clear understating about how many coatings of paint or how many tints you need to use to get the desired color you want.
Here’s the process of neutralizing orange tones in wood with blue tints.
- Prepare the surface
- Prepare the blue neutralizer
- Apply blue to orange tone
- Let it dry completely
- Repeat the process
So, let’s discuss each of the above steps to get deep knowledge about the process.
1. Prepare the Surface
First, clean the orange-toned raw or treated wood with lint-free tack cloths to remove dust, debris, and grimes. Or you can use soapy water for the cleaning.
Then let the wooden surface dry for a few hours and sand with 80 and 100 grit sandpapers to smoothen the surface.
Having a smooth surface is essential for any kind of woodworking project to get a promising outcome. Then clean the sawdust with a dust collector pipe or wipe using rags.
Now your orange-toned surface is ready to take on neutralizers.
2. Prepare The Blue Neutralizer
Apply blue tint on transparent stain or poly or powder dye. Then mix slowly using a stirrer or plastic spoon until you get a constant color.
This will make the solution blue. Add more dye or tint to get the color you want.
3. Apply Blue to Orange Tone
Take a bristle brush or foam brush and apply the prepared blue neutralizer on your orange-toned wooden surface along the direction of the wood grain.
This will make it absorb into the wood evenly without making a mess.
Use light strokes with even pressure to get a constant appearance all over the wood.
4. Let It Dry Completely
Now you have to wait for at least 24 hours until the blue neutralizer gets absorbed and cured well on the orange-toned surface.
This is the step where two color tones clash with each other to cancel out evenly.
Proper drying is essential to get the perfect outcome. Once the coat is completely dry, you’ll see a reduction of orange tone in the wood. The orange tone will become lighter upon drying with a new coat.
Once the surface is completely dry, check the surface and decide whether you want o go or not for another coating.
If you like lighter orange, you can keep it as it is. But if you want to completely neutralize the orange, better to go for another blue coating.
5. Repeat The Process
Apply another coat of blue neutralizer and let it dry completely and check the surface. This should repeat until you get the neutral color you want.
Make sure to give sufficient drying time after each coating because drying is a must for a better outcome and proper neutralization process.
At the end of the process, you’ll get a nice-looking wooden surface with no orange tone in it.
3. Neutralize Orange Tones with Aerosol Toner
Apply transparent aerosol toner with a blue or green cast to neutralize orange tones in the wood. this method is better if the surface is already coated.
Aerosol toner helps to tone down stain color when it’s too much and they come in various color options.
Here we should use a green or blue option to tone down the orange tone in the wood.
Here’re the simple steps you need to follow when neutralizing orange tones in wood with aerosol toner.
1. Take Aerosol toner with a green or blue cast.
Better to take the blue one because it is the complete opposite color of orange as per the color wheel theory.
2. Mark the area that you need to apply toner with painter’s tape
Because aerosol toner is transparent there’s a high possibility of making mistakes. Therefore, better to mark the area first before spraying.
3. Apply Aerosol toner at a 12-inch distance
Spray aerosol toner along the direction of the wood grain with 12 inches of distance from the wooden surface.
Make sure to apply a thin coat for better penetration and for a fast drying time.
4. Let it dry completely
Let the applied aerosol toner layer dry completely to see the actual results. Generally, one coat of aerosol toner is enough to tone down orange tones in woods.
But you can repeat the same procedure after drying for at least 24 hours.
4. Neutralize Orange Tones by Bleaching the wood
Beaching the wood to neutralize orange tones is easy but risky. Because with a simple mistake there’s a high chance of damaging the wooden surface appearance.
Therefore you should follow the guidelines correctly to avoid the wood getting damaged.
You can tone down orange tones in wood by bleaching the wood with ease.
This is one of the commonly used methods to neutralize orange tones because other methods take a lot of time and money.
There’re two methods of beaching the wood to tone down orange. They are,
- Bleach wood with DIY homemade wood bleach
- Bleach wood with store wood bleach
So, let’s discuss each of the above methods separately to get an idea about which method suits you perfectly.
1. Bleach Wood with DIY Homemade Wood Bleach
There’re so many premixed bleaching products available in the local store, but most of them are overpriced and of poor quality.
So, let’s figure out a method to make bleach by yourself with high quality.
All the bleaching products consist of two major chemicals. They are,
- Lye and
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Lye and hydrogen peroxide can be collected from local drug stores or Home Depot.
Mixing both ingredients to a suitable ratio creates your own bleach and you can use it directly to get orange tones out of the wood.
So, let’s discuss the preparation process of the bleach and how to apply bleach on orange-toned wood to complete the task.
1. Collecting the Materials, Tools, and Ingredients
- Cup of hydrogen peroxide
- Cup of lye
- Plastic container
- 1 qt of water
- Dry towel
- Foam brush
- Vinegar solution (optional)
2. Mixing Lye and Water
Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area because chemicals are harsh. Plus, wear gloves and goggle for better protection.
First, take the plastic container and fill it with 1 quart of water. Never go for a metal container since the metal may react with the chemicals that we use in this process.
The amount of water you need to take depends on the quantity of wood that you’re going to tone down. If you’re willing to make a lot of bleach for a lot of wood, go for a gallon.
Then add 3 tablespoons of Lye solution to the plastic container with water.
After the addition of each tablespoon of Lye, stir the solution slowly to mix them well.
Important: Never pour Lye first on a plastic container and then add water on top of that.
Appy water first and then go for Lye. When working and handling Lye, you need to be so careful.
3. Apply Hydrogen Peroxide to the Wood
After stirring the lye and water, keep the plastic container aside. Then take the hydrogen peroxide cup and pour a little amount on top of the orange-toned wood.
Make sure to apply hydrogen peroxide all over the wooden surface without missing any spots for better bleaching results.
Use a bristle brush or foam brush to spread hydrogen peroxide evenly throughout the wood.
4. Apply Lye-Water Solution
After soaking the wood completely with hydrogen peroxide, take the Lye-water plastic container and pour a small amount into the wood, and spread the solution all over the surface using the foam brush.
Make sure to apply the lye-water solution all over the surface evenly with good coverage.
When hydrogen peroxide gets mixed with a lye water solution, the reaction happened.
The orange tones in the wood will neutralize and lighten the wood color.
5. Let It Dry Completely
Once you apply lye-water solution all over the wood without missing any spots, let it dry for a couple of hours under sunlight.
Sunlight and heat will speed up the reaction rate and dissolve hydrogen peroxide and lye.
During the bleaching, the orange tones in the wood will be neutralized.
6. Rinse The Wood
Before moving on to the rising process, you need to make sure the wooden surface is completely dried.
When the surface is completely dry, you should notice a yellow tint on the wood which results due to the reaction between hydrogen peroxide and Lye.
Yellow tint occurs as a residue that comes from the Lye solution which is a good indicator that the wood is completely dry. There’s nothing to worry about that.
Then rinse the whole wooden surface with water and rinse again with white vinegar solution. Repeat the rinsing process again and again until the yellow tint goes away.
Finally, wipe the whole surface with a dry towel and let it dry completely.
Vinegar solution is used as a mild acid solution to remove excess Lye from the wooden surface.
But if you don’t have Vinegar, that’s fine because rinsing with water does the same job but it takes a bit of time. Other than that water is great to use instead of Vinegar.
This is how you neutralize orange tones in wood with homemade DIY beaching. Once the wood is completely dry, you’ll notice the difference in wood color. the orange color will be reduced to a minimum or completely vanished and the wood has lightened.
Bleaching is one of the best methods to neutralize any color tones in the wood.
To tone down the orange further, repeat the above 3, or 4 steps until you feel satisfied with the wood color.
Sanding The Wood After Bleaching
Light sanding is recommended after bleaching the wood to smoothen the surface and to give a nice appearance to the wood only if the wood is completely dried.
Rough sanding is not recommended because it can damage the wooden surface. Plus, rough sanding can eliminate the bleached wood surface and inner layers with orange tones may appear again.
Therefore, never go for rough sanding after bleaching because it can damage the wood.
2. Bleach Wood with Store Wood Bleach
Wood bleaching products are useful to tone down orange tones in the wood. commercial wood bleach products come in two bottles, one with hydrogen peroxide and the other with Lye solution.
Make sure to choose a well-ventilated area for the bleaching process and wear gloves and goggles all the time for your safety.
The main difference between commercial bleach and homemade bleach is,
In homemade bleach hydrogen peroxide apply separately to the wood, but in commercial bleach, both ingredients mix first with each other and then apply the mixture to the wood directly.
So, let’s discuss how to neutralize orange tones in wood by bleaching with wood store bleach.
1. Mix the Solutions in Bottles
First, pour equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and Lye solution into a plastic container and mix them gently.
The amount of chemicals you need to use depends on the size of the wooden surface. Make sure to maintain a 1:1 ratio between the two chemicals.
After adding equal amounts of chemicals to the plastic container, the chemical reaction begins to make a bleaching solution.
Important: don’t pour Lye solution directly on hydrogen peroxide directly because they are highly reactive chemicals.
2. Apply Solution on Wood
Apply prepared lye-hydrogen peroxide solution on wood using a foam brush carefully all over the wooden surface.
Spread the solution evenly throughout the wood without missing any spots for good coverage and a better neutralization process.
3. Let the Wood Dry Completely
After saturating the wood complete with hydrogen peroxide-lye solution let the surface dry completely for about 24 hours.
This is where the bleaching reaction happens. Place the wood under sunlight for a better drying process.
4. Rinse The Wood
When the wood is completely dried, you’ll notice a yellow tint on the surface. If you haven’t noticed anything, that means your wood surface is still wet and bleaching is still ongoing.
When you notice a yellow tint on wood, that means the drying is completed and residue that comes out from excess lye solution will remain on the surface as a yellow tint.
Then rinse the whole wooden surface with water and then with vinegar solution to eliminate the yellow tint and give a nice appearance. Then let the wood dry completely.
Vinegar solution is useful to remove excess lye quickly from wood. but water also does the same, but it takes a bit of time.
Other than that water is also ok, if you don’t have vinegar.
Once the bleaching process is done, you can notice the orange tones in the wood are reduced or vanish. The wood is also lightened.
Repeat the 2, and 3 steps until you get to the point you want to neutralize orange tones in wood completely.
Now you have a clear understating of how to neutralize orange tones in wood with 4 different methods.
So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about toning down the orange in wood.
How To Tone Down Orange Wood Stain?
You can tone down orange wood stain by mixing it with wood stain with blue undertones.
Or you can apply stains with blue undertones on an orange-stained surface to neutralize the orange color and lightens the wood.
If your stain is too orange, apply a slight amount of green tint or stain to reduce the orange color of the stain.
How To Tone Down Orange Pine Wood?
To tone down orange tones in pine wood apply stains with a blue undertone or add blue tint or toner to the wood.
Or you can bleach the pine wood to neutralize the orange tones in the wood.
You can tone down orange tones in pine wood cabinets, furniture, and other woodwork by adding blue tones or by bleaching the wood. This will lighten up the pine wood.
In my experience, bleaching pine wood can be a little bit difficult due to the 3D structure of furniture.
You’ll have to pay more attention to cover up each corner and reaching some areas can be difficult.
Therefore, spraying blue tint is the best and easiest method to neutralize orange tones in pine wood furniture.
Or you can dissemble the pine furniture completely (especially cabinets) and bleach the wood to tone down orange.
What Color Cancels Orange in Wood?
According to the color wheel theory, blue is the complete opposite color of orange. Therefore, blue is the color that cancels orange in wood.
How To Neutralize Red Tones in Wood?
Adding stains with green undertones neutralize red tones in wood. You can use green tints or paints to tone down red tones in wood or aerosol toner with a green cast.
Or you can use raw umber with greenish undertones as well. Finally, you can bleach the bare wood to knock out the red in the wood.
As per the color wheel, green is the complete opposite color of red. So, adding green is the best method to neutralize red in wood.
How To Tone Down Orange Cedar Wood?
If your cedar wood is too orange, apply stains with a blue undertone or spray blue tint or toner to the wood.
Or you can bleach the cedar wood to neutralize the orange tones in the wood.
You can tone down orange tones in cedar wood cabinets, furniture, and other woodwork by adding blue tones or by bleaching the wood.
This will lighten up the cedar wood.
Adding stains or tints with blue undertones is recommended for cedar furniture that is hard to disassemble.
Other than that, dissembling cedar furniture and bleaching the wood is recommended for a better neutralization process.
Did I cover all you wanted to know about: How to Neutralize Orange Tones in Wood?
In this article, we have deeply discussed about how to neutralize orange tones in wood with 4 different methods and the pros and cons of each method as well.
To tone down the orange tone in wood, apply stains with blue undertones or spray toner with a blue cast. Or apply blue paint or tint on the orange wood surface. Or you can bleach the wooden surface to neutralize orange tones in the wood and lightens the surface.
Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions about neutralizing orange tones in wood as well.
Hope you have gained good knowledge about mixing and working with wood colors with color wheel theories.
Make sure to apply methods you have learned from this post to tone down the orange in any wood. Happy woodworking!