How to Hide Wood Filler After Staining: A Step-by-Step Guide in 2024

Wood filler is the best solution for repairing imperfections in wood surfaces, but a big issue is what happens when you need to hide it after staining. Staining enhances the beauty of wood, but if not done correctly, the wood filler can stand out like a sore thumb. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various methods for how to hide wood filler after staining, ensuring your woodworking projects look flawless.


You can easily hide wood filler after staining using these 6 Proven methods, like additional gel stain, sanding, wood stain markers, wax, wood putty, and inlays from the same wood. Achieve a polished finish for your woodworking projects.

What is Wood Filler?

Before delving into the techniques to hide wood filler after staining, let’s briefly understand what wood filler is. Wood filler is a versatile material used in woodworking to fill in cracks, holes, or imperfections on wooden surfaces, creating a smooth, even finish. Stains, on the other hand, add color and character to your wood projects while protecting the wood itself.

How to Hide Wood Filler After Staining? 6 Proven Methods

1. Apply an Additional Layer of Gel Stain

When your wood filler doesn’t blend seamlessly with the stained wood, an additional layer of gel stain can work wonders. Follow these steps:

  • After the initial stain application, allow it to remain damp for several hours.
  • Apply an additional layer of stain only to the areas with wood filler.
  • Immediately wipe off the excess stain.

This method helps blend the wood filler into the stained wood, preventing unsightly edges from drawing attention.

2. Sand Down The Wood Filler

Sanding down the wood filler is a classic technique to make it flush with the wood’s surface. Here’s how to do it:

  • After staining, use 220-grit sandpaper or a sanding machine.
  • Gently sand the areas with visible wood filler.
  • Wipe the surface clean to remove sawdust.
  • Re-stain the sanded parts with a matching wood stain.
  • Let the stain sit for a while and remove the excess with a clean cloth.

Sanding ensures a smooth finish and helps the wood filler blend in seamlessly.

3. Use a Wood Stain Marker

Wood stain markers are excellent for touch-ups and hiding wood fillers. Here’s how to use them:

  • Sand the wood filler with 220-grit sandpaper until it’s flush with the wood.
  • Select a stain marker that matches your wood stain.
  • Apply a thick layer of the stain marker over the wood filler.
  • Let it sit briefly, then gently remove the excess stain with a paper towel.
  • Lightly buff the area in circles for a uniform finish.

Wood stain markers provide a precise and effortless way to conceal wood filler imperfections.

4. Applying Wax

After staining, applying a light coat of wax can further reduce marks caused by wood filler. Consider these steps:

  • Add a light coat of wood-tone-colored wax before applying your wood sealer.
  • This not only deepens the shades but also offers extra protection against wear and tear.

Wax can enhance the overall appearance of your stained wood and minimize filler visibility.

5. Use Wood Putty

Wood putty, which combines oil-based and plastic solvents, doesn’t harden like wood filler, making it suitable for hiding filler after staining. Here’s how:

  • Get a putty knife and a color-matched wood putty.
  • Apply the wood putty over the wood filler with the putty knife.
  • Smooth the surface and let it dry.
  • If necessary, sand it down until it’s flush with the wood.

Be cautious when sanding, as putty with plastic and oil-based solvents may not be suitable for sanding.

6. Use Inlays from The Same Wood

For a more detailed solution, consider creating inlays from pieces of the same wood. Follow these steps:

  • Cut inlays with matching grain patterns.
  • Glue the pieces over the areas with wood filler.

When done correctly, these inlays will seamlessly blend with the surrounding wood, concealing any filler.

Tips To Prevent Wood Filler From Showing After Staining

Prevention is the best strategy. To avoid wood filler from showing after staining:

Mix Wood Stain and Wood Filler

Before applying wood filler, mix it with a small amount of wood stain to match the filler’s color with the final stain.

Use The Correct Wood Filler

Choose a wood filler that matches the type of wood stain you’re using. Water-based filler for water-based stain, and so on.

Choose a Wood Filler Color That Matches the Wood

Select a wood filler color that closely matches the wood’s color to ensure a seamless blend.

Use Darker Stain Color

If using a dark stain, opt for a lighter wood filler. Dark stains are less translucent and can cover imperfections better.

Add Sawdust to the Filler

Mix a small amount of sawdust with the wood filler to blend the color and texture.

By following these tips and employing the techniques mentioned, you can achieve a flawless finish and effectively hide wood filler after staining, ensuring your woodworking projects look professional and polished.

FAQs Related to Using Wood Filler and Stain

What types of wood filler should I use?

The type of wood filler depends on your project’s specific needs. Different fillers work better for various applications. Consult professionals or product instructions for guidance.

What types of stain should I use?

The type of stain depends on the material of the wood surface being stained. Different surfaces may require specific types of stains, such as oil-based or water-based stains. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

How do I prepare wood surfaces before applying wood filler?

Wood surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned and, preferably, sanded before applying any products. This ensures proper adhesion and a smooth finish. Remove loose debris, and sand with the wood grain, and use the right tools for even application.

Is wood filler stainable?

Are you wondering if the wood filler is stainable? If yes then you are not alone! In woodworking and DIY projects, the question of whether wood filler can be stained or not is a common one.

The quick answer is yes, wood filler can be stained to match the color of your wood surface. Whether you’re repairing a small crack in your hardwood floor or filling in gaps in your wooden furniture, using a stainable wood filler can help you achieve a seamless and beautiful finish.

Staining wood filler is a simple process, but it does require some attention to detail to ensure a perfect match. So, if you are looking to make those imperfections in your woodwork disappear while maintaining a cohesive and natural look, rest assured that stainable wood filler is your go-to solution.

Top 5 Facts about Using Wood Filler and Stain

Wood filler and stain are essential for woodworking projects. Here are some key facts to keep in mind:

  • Types of Wood Filler: Various wood filler types are available, each with its unique characteristics. Research and choose the one that suits your project best.
  • Proper Preparation: Preparing wood surfaces before applying wood filler and stain is crucial for a beautiful, long-lasting finish. Clean, sand, and follow the right techniques.
  • Matching Wood Filler: To ensure a seamless blend, mix wood filler with a small amount of wood stain to match the color with the final stain.
  • Consider Stain Type: The type of stain you use should match the wood surface. Different stains adhere better to specific materials, so choose wisely.
  • Test Before Applying: Always test stain colors and products on a small, inconspicuous area before applying them to the entire project. This prevents unexpected results and ensures a consistent finish.

Final Thoughts on How to Hide Wood Filler After Staining

In conclusion, mastering the art of hiding wood filler after staining is an essential skill for any woodworking enthusiast. Whether you choose to apply an additional layer of gel stain, sand down the wood filler, use a wood stain marker, apply wax, employ wood putty, or create inlays from the same wood, these techniques can transform imperfections into seamless finishes.

Moreover, by taking preventive measures such as mixing wood filler with stain, selecting the right type of filler, matching colors, and testing stains, you can ensure your woodworking projects showcase a professional and polished appearance. With the knowledge gained from this comprehensive guide, your woodworking endeavors can achieve flawless results, leaving no trace of wood filler behind.

Kenneth Wafer Woodnami

Kenneth Wafer is an aspiring woodworking expert from Los Angeles. He loves reading and writing about all the best woodworking tools and accessories available in the market.
He is a Finance professional and recently completed his foundation course from CFA Institute, USA.

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