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I bought some plywood from Michael's (1/4" x 12" x 24") that I am going to woodburn some designs on to. However, I'd like to put some sort of finish on the plywood so it looks more refined/elegant and not just like cheap plywood. Since I'm woodburning on to it I don't want the stain/finish/varnish to be too dark as I want the design to be clearly visible. I hear vinegar and coffee are some homemade options for finishes, which are appealing to me as they're cheap and easy but I have no experience with any type of finishing. So, any ideas what would be best for plywood and what would give me a light but finished look?

Any help would be much appreciated!

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You don't mention what type of wood it is but it's an important piece of info to know. Some woods and their plywood counter parts are more difficult to stain without additional prep. Birch is an example that usually requires a conditioner prior to staining.

A lot of oils will give wood a nice light finish. Mineral oil is really cheap and easy to apply. Varnish would give it a light yellow color and offers more protection than oil alone. There are lots of other options if you're feeling more adventurous.

No matter what finish you apply, you will need to prep the surface (sand at a minimum) in order to get good results.

Plywood usually isn't cheap so you might consider some solid woods instead for your next project.

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