How to Stain Bamboo

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Have you just bought bamboo wood, but don’t know how to take care of it? Are you considering trying to darken it in order to enhance its color or even change it to a different interesting color, while also wanting to make sure that all this is protected? We’ll then definitely get you covered. Learn how to stain bamboo.

There are many different ways you can go about staining your bamboo and we’re here to help! Not only will we guide you through the process of staining your bamboo, but we will also offer an alternative, eco-friendly and cost-free method to change its color.

Step by Step Guide on How to Stain Bamboo 

Hydrofarm HGBB6 6' Natural, pack of 25 Bamboo Stake, Tan

Follow the simple instructions given below to ensure that your stain job will stick and also look good.

1. Clean the bamboo thoroughly

This can be done by giving it a good wash with soap and water. Once the bamboo is clean, make sure that there are no remains of dirt, soap or other residues on the surface. Now it’s time to let it dry.

2. Sand the Bamboo when it’s dry

After the bamboo has dried, it’s time to sand it. To keep it simple, you can use a fine-grade sandpaper and just smooth down the whole surface of the bamboo. Make sure not to overdo it as you only need a light sanding. You don’t want to have a completely smooth surface as this will remove the natural look of the bamboo. We recommend using high-grade sandpaper such as 220-grit sandpaper and opposed to a lower grade much coarser one.  

This is a critical step that must not be overlooked since natural bamboo has a protective, waxy covering that prevents it from being able to absorb paint or stain evenly, making your stained bamboo look unnatural and blotchy.

3. Cover your work area with newspapers and your hands with rubber gloves

You will need some newspaper to protect your working area and rubber gloves in order to prevent the bamboo’s stain transfer to your bare hands. Also, you do not want to ruin your clothes, so make sure that the attire you are wearing is something you wouldn’t mind getting ruined (or just wear black).

4. Apply Stain to Bamboo

You can now apply the stain of your choice. Start by using a small sponge or a rag to apply the stain in circular motions.

Work from top to bottom and make sure it’s evenly distributed while also avoiding leaving any streaks. No need to rush; take your time and make sure to get the job done right. Pay close attention to the junction points.

If any area of the bamboo fails to take the stain, wipe away any excess liquid with a cloth and let the spot dry. Re-sand the region and then re-stain it.

Allow the stain to dry for the specified number of hours suggested by the manufacturer. To achieve the desired color, apply additional coats as needed. After applying the first coat, you may lightly sand the stained wood between coats, once each has dried, to aid with adhesion.

Remember to wipe away the extra liquid immediately after each layer of stain is applied to the bamboo. That way, you’ll get a smoother, more flawless end result.

5. Apply Sealant to Bamboo

This part is just as important as the first one. You need to seal your bamboo in order to prevent the colors from fading or bleeding. Furthermore, this step will also help bring back the original luster of bamboo that had been affected by the sanding.

Once the stain has dried, you can apply the sealer of your choice. Make sure that your bamboo is completely dry before you seal it, otherwise, moisture might cause the stain to lift off.

Same as with the stain, you may apply more than one coat of sealant as needed. In addition, you may also sand between coats of finish.

Also Read: Best Finish for a Workbench

Heat-Treating Bamboo an as Alternative Method

If you are looking for a non-chemical alternative to staining, one way to alter the color of bamboo is by heat-treating it. This method is quite simple and does not require the use of various chemicals and lacquers to achieve a different color.

1. Use heat to make the bamboo look darker

This method will make the bamboo look as if it has been roasted, sort of like the color of fresh coffee. This color is eye-catching, but it also has several advantages, including aiding in the drying of the bamboo and eliminating any water content so that it doesn’t contract or expand due to changes in the weather.

2. Punch holes along the bamboo’s length.

Start with a bamboo piece that is straight and free of any knots. Use a drill to punch holes along the length of the bamboo. This step is essential to do so, skipping this before heat treating your bamboo will cause a heat buildup in the pocket of air trapped between the nodes and eventually lead to it exploding.

So please do not skip this step as it can be quite dangerous if the heat treating method is not done correctly.

3. Use a handheld torch to toast the bamboo.

Use a handheld torch to heat the bamboo evenly on all sides. Gently run the torch down the length of the bamboo, from top to bottom, until you’ve achieved your desired hue. Keep it up and work in six-inch sections, turning the bamboo as needed.

Bamboo that has not been heat-treated may be vulnerable to termites and other pests, so this is a good pest-free idea too.

When the bamboo is being heated, inspect it carefully. Whenever an oily film rises to the top, wipe it away with a rag gently. Be mindful of not reusing the same part of the rag since you will end up re-applying that oil to the bamboo.

Also Read: Best Wood Burning Kits


Is it easy to stain bamboo?

Bamboo is a popular construction material since it may be readily stained or painted to match any decor. 

Although bamboo can be painted, it is far more stunning when it is stained. Bamboo’s natural tone is lovely, and with so many bamboo stain hues to choose from, it becomes even more adaptable. It’s easily feasible to accentuate bamboo’s natural appeal with a little bamboo staining.

Bamboo is not difficult to stain. However, it requires some patience and attention to detail to achieve the best results.

What color is natural bamboo?

Bamboo’s color is a natural one that varies from species to species. Some types of bamboo are very light or pale, while others are quite dark. The most common shade of bamboo is light golden. Though they may also be found in shades of green, brown, and more.

Do you need to seal bamboo?

Bamboo is a wonderful material to use for home decorating. It’s lightweight, durable, and beautiful. But it does need some help to look its best.

Bamboo is an environmentally friendly choice for home furnishings, but it isn’t suited to stand on its own. It requires protection, which is why it’s essential to seal bamboo.

If you don’t properly seal your bamboo, it will lose its layers of natural protection and deteriorate faster. Sealing it provides a barrier of protection against UV rays, water and weather that may cause its color to fade over time, turning greyish and dull in appearance. Sealing also contributes to a significantly longer and healthier life of bamboo.

Is bamboo naturally waterproof?

Bamboo is grass with hollow stems. It has nodes, or joints between each of its sections, with thin walls and small pores all the way through them. The walls of the nodes are made from a porous cell structure which allows bamboo to flex and take on different shapes, providing it with elasticity and strength.

As it is actually just grass, this makes it more water-resistant than most hardwood. However, naturally it is not completely immune to water damage. If spills are dealt with immediately, there should be no damage to bamboo, but if a lot of water is left on it for quite a while, then it may swell and warp.

Though it isn’t waterproof, it outperforms hardwood in many cases once it’s been treated, with much more excellent water resistance compared to hardwood.

If left in the open exposed to rain and sun without any form of treatment, bamboo will only manage to survive for two years or so.


Bamboo is a versatile material that may be painted or stained to suit any design. It’s a great alternative to lumber and may endure a wide array of conditions. Whether it’s for a deck or fencing, bamboo is a popular choice because it can be easily stained to mix in with the surrounding environment.

Just make sure to take care of it properly by sealing the bamboo, and you’ll have a lasting addition to your landscape that will provide visual allure for years.

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