We are building a bed frame and my hubby accidentally got white pine for the head board, but red pine for the posts and the wood for the sides of the bed. We wanted to stain the whole bed a rustic color, unsure which stain at this point because we don't know what to choose since we have different color pines. We can't return the wood because they have already been cut and sanded. What is our best course of action.

  • 2
    Trial and error. Have you done any testing? Maybe it won't be noticeable with your particular stain.
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 20:55
  • 2
    test on the scraps, if you still have them
    – jsotola
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 21:12
  • The best place to practice and experiment with the headboard would be on the side that is next to the wall, this won't be visible when in use and you can try different shades of stain. Personaly the post being a darker color may accent them so it could be a positive. To make them look similar a darker shade on the white and a neutral on the red can be tested on the back side, my oak head board has 3 different colored sections so my wife could choose what she liked the best.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 22:05

2 Answers 2


I have had good success making pine look like maple, walnut, teak or semi-transparent blends by mixing deep colors and adding latex paint to an oil based stain to make it more pastel like to tone down the contrast. I even made K3 particle board stain like old mahogany with many thin layers of brush grain stain and urethane for a dining room table extension .enter image description here Usually I might brush on and wipe off excess for contrast or apply a sealer first lightly for less contrast.

If you like my idea towards a slightly semi-transparent stain rather than a clear stain consider taking 1/4 cup in yogurt container then add teaspoon of latex white or any colour you are inclined towards . Then experiment on a hidden side with untinted and tinted then add more latex stir and try again until you get a blend of clear stain and semi-opaque or "milk-stain".

THe above are the typical mini-wax stains.


Your best solution is probably a quality gel stain. That way you mitigate pine's notorious blotching when stained while making the pieces similar in color. (Obviously it won't change the grain.)

A solid plan of attack is to lay out each stage of finishing on a separate stick, so you can see how it will turn out. That is stain about three inches of a board, then stain and clear coat another three inches, the whole shebang on another three inches. That way you have a reproducible process you know will work.

I'd also highly recommend a trip to the local library to pick up a copy of Flexner on Finishing which covers the lion's share of possible finishes and has a very nice pictures of various wood and finish combinations.

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