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Chelsea color tints
Influencer Spotlight

Wood Stain Colors with No Limitations

Wood Stain Colors with No Limitations: Influencer Spotlight

Owner of Detroit Craftswoman, Chelsea Cousineau, has been in the woodworking industry using wood as an art form for about four years. She grew up working at her dad’s hardware store, where there was always an abundance of wood cut-offs laying around. She took the opportunity to use them to create wood mosaics and pictures. She uses ZAR® Stains and tints to create her wood stain colors.

Project planning

Here she used two interior ZAR® stains and mixed colorant into them to get the brighter colors. The red started as Vintage Modern, the green started as Champagne, and the yellow started as Golden Sunset! The brown is Oiled Leather, and she sealed it ZAR Interior Oil-Based Polyurethane in a Satin sheen!


They always sold ZAR® stains at her dad’s hardware store, and she grew up very aware of its superior quality. ZAR® is thicker than a regular stain but is not a gel stain. She believes it penetrates the wood more evenly while still showing the beauty of the grain. ZAR® is also super easy to use; she loves to apply the stain with a foam brush so that my bright colors come out even and thin enough to enhance the grain instead of filling it in and hiding it.

Her go-to ZAR® Stain is Champagne. It’s close to clear, so she can tint it to any color she wants, but if left alone, it enhances the natural color of the wood and adds a shimmer to the grain. She said, The best thing about ZAR® Stain is the consistency of the product. It’s thick and saturated with color that a little bit really goes such a long way and always comes out even. Other stains are thin and can get blotchy if they aren’t applied evenly, but I never have that problem with ZAR.”

Color tints

The Formula

Now you’re probably wondering how Chelsea creates these beautiful colors! When she’s making a new color, she always start with Champagne as the base. She keeps a quart on hand, and from that, she fills a 12 pint mason jar about a third full. She finds a paint color card close to the color she wants to make and looks up the Valspar NovoColor formula to get a good idea of the color tint ratios.

She cuts the formula down as much as possible so that the consistency of the tint doesn’t take over that of the stain, as she is trying to enhance the grain, not cover it. I add the NovoColor tint, cap it, and shake it up. Her favorite part is opening the lid to reveal the color. The bright ones are her favorite 🤩

color samples
Wood stain colors

Follow her on Instagram @detroitcraftswomen