Full Chisel Blog

April 23, 2011

Dyeing wood with poplar buds

Filed under: Alchemy,Finishing,Historical Material,Of Interest,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 6:01 am

There are many dyes and stains [there is a difference] that are made from wood bark, roots, nut hulls and even fresh buds.  I just got a few to give this traditional method a test.

From a cottonwood tree next door these have been washed with water to remove dirt.  I also had to remove the harder bud sheath to get to the softer yellow material inside.  I then put it in some alcohol and allowed it to sit for a while.

The color looks a little green.  After standing in the sun for an hour the green [chlorophyll] faded a bit living it a more yellow color.  And the buds are a bit sticky but this went into solution in the alcohol.  I let it sit overnight before doing this test.

The color is a little off in this picture appears more yellowish in person.  This is a small test, I am going to try a couple of different species of poplar [Populus spp.].  I will concentrate this down and do another small test on wood.



  1. The question arises; how many buds does it take to create a pint of stain?

    I think it is a fantastic idea to have mother nature supply the pigment, but not if I have to stare at a bare tree for the rest of the year :o)

    Comment by Mitchell — April 23, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  2. Hi, I enjoyed your post very much! Particularly the great images.
    Don’t know if I’ll have the patience to do it myself though…

    Comment by Robert — July 24, 2011 @ 3:18 am

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