How To Dye Wooden Beads: A Beginners Guide

Date: 17-12-2020

Colourful Wooden Beads in Heart Shape


Wooden beads are fun to use for lots of different arts and crafts projects. You can buy coloured beads but dying them yourself is not only satisfying but you can create different effects that you won’t get with manufactured beads. Raw wooden beads are perfect to dye because they aren’t coated, so dyes and paints will stick to the wood, whereas beads that are already varnished need to be sanded back or de-glossed first.  View our range of varnished and unvarished wood beads here.


Raw Wooden Beads in a Row


There are several ways that you can dye wooden beads and the technique that you use depends on the supplies that you have, the type of effect you’re trying to create and the type of project you’re doing.

You’ll find below a step-by-step guide on how to dye wooden beads and some project ideas to get you inspired.

What can I make with wooden beads?

Here are a couple of ideas for crafting with wood beads.

Macrame: Wooden beads go hand in hand with macrame projects!

Wooden bead lampshade or chandelier:  Why not create a statement by making a DIY bead chandelier? It’s something a little different to its crystal counterpart, but after you’ve dyed some beads, it’ll really stand out. You can make a chandelier with several tiers and loops of different sizes to give it a glam look.

For a lampshade you can either make the whole lampshade out of wooden beads or add them as accessories down the bottom. You can also add some tassels for some extra flair.

Wooden bead statement necklace:  A bright wooden bead necklace can look amazing worn around someone’s neck. The brighter the better. You can even dye your beads several different shades to make it even more colourful.

Beaded towel ring: Instead of hanging your towels on something boring, create some wooden beaded towel rings that will add some colour to your bathroom or kitchen. Use a sturdy wire ring at the centre to hold it together.

Kids craft: Little crafters love all kinds of beads and will be sure to create something interesting and unique using wood beads.

Dyed Wooden Beads

Supplies needed to dye wooden beads

  • Wooden beads
  • Liquid watercolours or food colouring
  • Small glass jar or container with lid
  • Parchment or waxed paper
  • Toothpicks
  • Small bowl

Steps for dying wooden beads

Step #1: Prepare the watercolour or food colouring

Place a few drops of liquid watercolour paint/food colouring into a jar or container. Dilute the watercolour/food colouring or use it at full strength depending on how vibrant the colour you’re after.

Step #2: Place beads in jar

Place a few beads into the jar or container at a time and screw the lid on.

Step #3: Shake jar

Shake the jar gently and spin it to dye the wooden beads.

Step #4: Remove beads

Open the lid and pour the beads into a small bowl.

Step #5: Leave beads to dry

Use a toothpick and slide it into the wooden bead hole to pick it up. Then place the dyed bead on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to dry. You can also put them into a strainer over the sink and place a paper towel over them to dry.

Step #6: Repeat the process

Keep repeating this process until all your beads are dyed. Try using different colour combinations for variation.

Once your beads are dried, you can spray them with a varnish to seal and protect them, but this isn’t necessary. However, the dye can run if the beads get wet and aren’t sealed.

What other ways can you dye wooden beads?

You can also use colour stain paint to dye wooden beads. This can speed up the dying process as you can use a larger container to fill with equal parts colour stain paint and water. Then you can let the beads sit in there for 30 minutes or until you are happy with the colour. You can use the same drying process we mentioned above.

Happy Crafting,