How to Hide Wood Filler After Staining? [Step-By-Step Guide]

You may be a woodworker or just a simple person who would like to know how to hide wood filler after staining for damaged wood or merely for woodcrafts.

In carpentry, circumstances like these happen all the time. But everything can be fixed with proper time and tools.

To repair the damage and restore the appearance of your floor, you use wood filler, a putty-like product.

However, if you opt to use wood filler to fix your floor, you may be wondering how to stain it. Staining makes it match the color of the surrounding region.

In this article, we’ll give you useful information on how to hide wood filler after staining. When you’re done reading this post, we’re positively sure you’ll be an expert at this.

What Is A Wood Filler?

A wood filler is a substance that is used to provide smooth surface repairs to holes in wood. It is used to fix the wood from the inside out.

Wood fillers are composed of a binding agent and a filling component. Usually, they are made up of wood particles and fibers combined with a binding agent.

Once put in the wood, the filler hardens, which aids in the preservation of the wood’s integrity.

You can use wood fillers in other scenarios such as:

  • Filling up nicks, scratches, and gouges on wooden furniture
  • Repair and shape the broken edges of shelves, countertops, and tabletops

Can You Stain A Wood Filler To Hide It?

Yes, you read it right! You can stain the wood after you put some fillers in. You can describe wood fillers with three features: they harden, you may sand them, and they can be stained.

Although, stainability may vary for each type of filler. Those with true wood fibers stain better than ones with high mineral content.

But most fillers are porous enough to enable some stains to penetrate.

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How Does Wood Stain Work In Hiding Wood Filler?

Wood stain is a popular choice for improving the appearance of wooden surfaces. It has the natural effect of accentuating the grain of the wood.

Like any other time, stain functions as a binder latching to the pigments on the surface of the wood filler. When applied, it seeps and permeates into the filler.

The mixture is available in oil, resin, and alkyd forms. Every wood stain comprises four main components: volatiles, pigments, resins, and additions.

Is Wood Filler Actually Stainable? An Experiment

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Types of Wood Stain

Before you find spots, put wood filler in, and stain them, you need to understand wood stains. There are various kinds of stains out there, and here are some of them:

Solid Stain

Solid stains provide a deep, opaque hue that accentuates the wood’s texture. They enhance the texture of the wood, self-priming, and provide a high level of protection.

This sort of stain is the most durable, lasting up to many years. Solids are known to cover the wood grain in the same manner that paint does.


A semi-transparent stain is dark enough to conceal the grain but light enough to allow you to see through it. It makes it ideal for displaying wood.

Clear Sealer

A clear wood stain reveals the most woodgrain due to its transparency. It has a limited collection of colors, but it’s highly water-repellent.

Clear sealers are ideal for enhancing the attractiveness of natural grain wood. However, in time the wood will turn gray with this kind of wood stain.

How to Hide Wood Filler Before Staining

There are two ways you can hide a wood filler: it’s either before or after. Here are the steps on how to hide wood filler before staining:

1. Smoothing holes and edges

Clean the holes and the nicks on the wood. To remove any debris, use a screwdriver to clean the insides of the holes.

Then, using the sandpaper, smooth off the edges as much as possible. If you don’t sand it properly, any unevenness will be visible.

2. Wood filler

After sanding, apply the wood filler. Fill each hole and dent with enough filler to allow for easy removal of any excess.

Then, scrape away any extra paste.

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3. Sandpaper

The next step is to sand the surface again. However, before using the sandpaper, make sure the wood filler has completely dried.

Use medium or high-grain sandpaper and no power tool. Manually sanding the wood with your hands allows you to control your time in each area.

In addition, apply even pressure to where you used the wood filler to achieve an even and beautiful smooth surface.

4. Cleaning

Wipe away any dirt from the surface with a clean cloth and hot water. Pro tip: you can use a little paint thinner to clean the wood of all the particles left from the sandpapering.

Also, allow the water to dry before checking to see if all debris has been removed. If not, repeat this step.

5. Check that all areas are even

Always check the surface after you finish. Run your hands through the clean wood surface if it’s smooth.

Examine the area carefully for any small holes you may have missed. If not, sand the surface until it is smooth enough.

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How to Hide Wood Filler After Staining

While there’s an option to do it beforehand, you can hide wood filler after staining. Here’s how to do it:

1. Let it dry

The first thing you need to do is to ensure the wood fillers are dry. You can figure out how long you need to let it sit by reading the instructions on the package.

2. Prepare the surface

Clean the surface by removing any paint or old stain that might interfere with a new coat of stain. To begin, sand the surface using fine-grit sandpaper to eliminate debris or to achieve a light finish.

Sand the places where you have applied the wood filler with a palm sander and 220-grit sandpaper. You can also use an electric sander, but this is usually unnecessary for small areas.

If sandpaper can’t remove some paint or stain, apply a solvent to remove it. Then, allow the wood surface to dry completely before wiping away any sawdust with a clean tack cloth.

If there is still sawdust on the surface, use an air compressor to clean it. Finally, carefully wipe the area with a clean towel, careful not to rub too hard as this might cause scratches.

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3. Prepare the right stain

While waiting for the wood to be dry and ready, get the right stain for the job. Choose a stain that is as similar to the original color of the wood as possible.

4. Apply the stain

It is necessary to shake the can thoroughly before beginning to apply it. Then, using a brush, preferably a foam brush, begin spreading the solution over the wood.

5. Finish drying period

Let the stain sit on the surface for a few minutes to allow the wood to absorb it completely. Remove excess stain using a cloth, and then allow the stain to dry according to the directions on the container.

Tips and Tricks in Staining Wood Filler

Now that you know how to hide wood filler after staining and even before, you need some tips and tricks.

First, you need to have the right applicator for the job. Using the best applicator means you can get the job done perfectly.

Another tip is to test the stain and wood filler before using them.

You have no idea how a wood filler and stain will appear together. Moreover, you never want to experiment on an almost-completed project.

You can also use a wood conditioner before staining as wood fillers sometimes absorb more wood stain. It helps to prevent excessive stain absorption into the wood.

Another great trick is to color the wood filler before applying it. Simply add a little stain into your wood filler before applying it, matching it to the surrounding wood.

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Best Wood Stain For Hiding Fillers

Before you go out and buy wood stains to hide your fillers, check this list. Maybe they can narrow your choices down.

Minwax 6601000 Gel Wood Stain

The Minwax Gel stain is designed to provide you with complete control over your staining process. The stain has a non-drip composition that makes it simple to apply on vertical surfaces.

It is important to note that gel stains are thick and seep into the wood, giving it a new hue. With gel, you can feel the underlying texture of the wood.

Furthermore, gel stains have higher hiding power because they can conceal the color of a previously painted or stained wood product.

Ready Seal Exterior Wood Stain

The Ready Seal is an oil-based exterior wood stain, perfect for wood used outdoors. What’s great with this one is that it enhances your wood’s natural beauty by providing the perfect grain and texture.

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The one-of-a-kind stain penetrates deeply into the wood while protecting it from factors such as mildew, wood, and the sun’s rays.

Other advantages include the fact that it does not require priming. However, when first applied, Ready Seal appears the darkest.

SamaN Interior Water Based Wood Stain

SamaN’s wood stain is purely water-based. It is preferably used on doors, interior woodwork, cabinets, furniture, and moldings.

In addition, there is no need for a conditioner, overlapping marks, or more than one coat.

However, the stain does not bring out the grain of the wood. Nonetheless, it provides excellent coverage, and is non-toxic, odorless, and safe for dogs.

Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain

Varathane’s premium quick-dry wood stain is a special product designed for high-performance stain application.

It has nano pigments that provide the highest color quality and distinctive wood grain highlights. The pigments allow you to achieve the best colors in just one coat.

Varathane quick-drying wood stain also helps seal wood pores and hardens in about an hour. Even if you don’t use wood conditioner or pre-stain, you can easily brush it out.

Keda Dye Aniline Wood Stain

Keda Dye’s wood stain is environmentally friendly. It doesn’t emit volatile organic molecules due to its makeup.

Each Keda Dye aniline wood stain kit includes extensive instruction. The manual covers topics such as applications, mixing, and ratios.


Can you still see wood fillers after staining?

In most cases, yes. You can still see wood fillers after staining wood.

When wood fillers are applied to untreated wood, the surrounding region typically appears discolored when the finish is applied. It happens because the filler’s powdery residue infiltrates the wood grain around the nail holes.

Nonetheless, there are still wood fillers that do the perfect job of blending with the wood stain.

How to make wood filler look like wood grain?

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You’ll need to summon your inner artist to make your wood filler look like wood grain.

Begin by staining the wood filler and matching it to the surrounding wood’s color. After you’ve achieved the correct color, go ahead and apply the grain details.

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Select a stain that matches the wood’s grain. The filler can then be painted or airbrushed with grain characteristics to blend in with the surrounding wood.

How to prevent uneven staining?

Here are some methods to avoid irregular staining with a wood filler:

  • Before applying the stain, use a pre-stain conditioner
  • Put the wood filler before sanding everything
  • Always pick the right wood filler color

How do you change the color of wood filler?

Most fillers are made to accept stains, but they are no longer porous enough to absorb them once finished.

So you could sand the finish off, try to deepen them with a stain marker, then re-apply the finish. Or you can try mixing the wood filler with paint or even the wood stain itself.

Can I paint straight onto the filler?

When painting over filler, start with a watered-down application of paint or a plaster primer. If you slap on tidy paint, it will dry quickly and sit on the surface, failing to bind correctly.

Hide That Filling

Now that you know how to hide wood filler after staining, you can now do flawless woodwork for your next project.

As Stephen Hawking once said,  “one of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect.” If you made a mistake, there’s always room for improvement and a lot of wood fillers.

In general, wood fillers can be stained, but it isn’t easy, so testing it’s usually a good idea. Trust me, and you’ll be guaranteed the wood filler looks exactly how you want it!

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