TransTint® Liquid Dye on Gourds

2oz Bottles

Wooden Bowl
TransTint Stain

Gourd Art by Debbie Wilson
Using TransTint

Class Sample
Judy Richie

TransTint® is the brand name of a Homestead Finishing Product developed for staining interior wood surfaces.  

The liquid form is a concentrated metallized acid dye pre-dissolved in a glycol ether solvent.  The dye comes in a variety of colors.  Note: The colors on the chart will not be the result on gourds, because of their golden color.  

The concentrated dye can be mixed with either water or denatured alcohol as a bare stain on wood - or added directly to finishing materials like shellac and lacquer to make toners or stains.  

TransTint Dyes can be mixed with almost anything with the exception of paint thinner. The metallized acid dyes are light stable (for the best fade resistant result on gourds mix with denatured alcohol).

TransTint is best used as a transparent stain where you want “tie-dyed”, crazing, or random design effects.  Most people put on a base coat, and then use Q-tips, sponges, or brushes to dab on more color.  The blotchy, spreading effect is what makes this dye attractive.  The TransTint dyes go on like leather dyes, but are more lightfast.  

To color a solid larger area, use a dobber to spread over the gourd and then rub off excess with paper towel or spray it on in light mists.  It dries very quickly and doesn't need to be heat set like Memory inks.  The concentrate must be diluted before applying to a gourd surface.  

Using TransTint dyes on gourds was pioneered by Judy Richie (  She uses a 16 oz plastic bottle in which to mix by adding 1/4 to 1/3 of the 2oz bottle of dye concentrate and then filling the rest of the 16 oz plastic bottle with denatured alcohol (for all the warm colors use the 1/3 ratio).   For a stronger color use a little more.  As with any chemical make sure you have good ventilation. 

Seal with a lacquer spray like Deft.  Seal it first with several very light sprays.  Heavy spray will cause the dyes to run.   You can use a heat gun to speed it up, but isn’t required.  Be sure and don't let water get on your work before you seal it. The water will cause it to spot or run.   Judy teaches an alcohol on alcohol technique in her classes and sells the diluted product at those shows.  (Judy sells a tutorial for her Alcohol Dye Technique.)

The TransTint concentrate is sold in 2oz bottles at most wood product retailers for between $14.00 and $20.00 per bottle.   The dye is also sold in 8oz, 16oz, and 32oz containers.  Unmixed liquid concentrates have no shelf life.  

 It is recommended to keep the unmixed product in a cool, dry place and keep the top on tightly and capped.  Some colors may change over time once they are mixed so it’s always best to mix up what you will be using right away. If you use dye that has been mixed up and stored for over several months, always check the color first before you apply it to your project.  Store the mixed dye in a clean plastic or glass container.

As a Stain for Bare Wood

1. Mix with Water: The ratio of 1 ounce dye to 1 quart of water is a starting point, and you can increase or decrease solvent to suit your need.
2. Mix with denatured alcohol: As with water, the ratio of 1 ounce dye to 1 quart of alcohol is a starting point, and you can increase or decrease solvent to suit your need.

As a Stain for Gourds

1. Use about one part dye to 3 or 4 parts denatured alcohol.


*Bonnie Gibson Note:  This dye is even harder to remove from your hands than leather dyes!  Gloves are a must if you want to protect your skin from becoming technicolored for days.  I wear double layers of gloves, and small cosmetic sponges are my preferred applicators. 
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