Learn how to color wooden beads for crafts and jewelry making projects using 3 easy techniques.
There are several different ways to color wooden beads. The technique you choose to color wooden beads will depend on the supplies you have available, the type of project you are doing, and the effect you are trying to create.
Scroll down for the step-by-step instructions to learn three different methods to color or dye wooden beads. Hand-dyed, painted, and colored wooden beads are an excellent craft supply for jewelry making and DIY projects, including homemade garlands, beaded necklaces, and wooden bead bracelets.
Related: How to Color Wooden Blocks
Colored Wooden Bead Craft Supplies
This collection of colored wooden bead craft supplies contains several different types of art supplies that you can use to color wooden beads; liquid watercolor paint, food coloring, acrylic paint, tempera paint, and extra-fine tip paint pens or brush tip paint pens. There are even more supplies you can use than those we have listed.
The type of supplies you need will depend on how you would like your colored wooden beads to look once they are finished, or you can use the supplies that you already have to make it easy–up to you!
First, choose the method you would like to use to color, dye, or paint wooden beads from the three techniques described in detail below. Next, gather the supplies from the wooden bead coloring options listed here:
- Liquid watercolor paints or food coloring OR acrylic paints OR tempera paint OR extra fine tip paint pens and/or metallic brush paint pens
- Small shatterproof bowl, OR 4oz mason jar, or 8oz canning jar or 16oz wide mouth mason jar OR a small jar with a lid from the recycle bin
- Extra-long toothpicks and/or thin wooden dowel
- Paintbrushes (optional for some colored bead projects)
- Spray varnish (optional)
- Unfinished wooden beads
- 260 beads with 5 sizes (8 mm, 12mm, 16mm, 20mm, 25mm)
- 6mm unfinished wooden beads
- 8mm unfinished wooden beads
- 10mm unfinished wooden beads
- 12mm unfinished wooden beads
- 14 mm unfinished wooden beads
- 16mm unfinished wooden beads
- 18mm unfinished wooden beads
- 20mm unfinished wooden beads
- 25mm unfinished wooden beads
- 30mm unfinished wooden beads
Scroll down to find the directions for three different wooden bead coloring techniques. We have also included instructions in the form of video tutorials to make it even easier to learn how to color wooden beads!
3 Easy Methods to Color Wooden Beads
There is more than one way to dye, paint, and color wooden beads, so we have provided three main tutorials with a couple of variations for each wood bead coloring technique.
How to Dye Wooden Beads
Using liquid watercolors or food coloring to dye wooden beads is the easiest way to color wooden beads. All you need to do is put a few drops of color in a canning jar and add a wooden bead or a bunch of beads to color them. Of course, you will need more than a few drops of color if you plan to color several wooden beads at a time. 😉
If you would like to see how liquid watercolors look on wood, hop over to have a look at rainbow-colored wooden blocks to see all the colors! We even have a color comparison guide using two different brands that you can use to see how each one will look when used at full strength.
How to Dye Wooden Beads with Liquid Watercolors
- Place a few drops of liquid watercolor paint or food coloring in a canning jar or bottle with a lid from the recycle bin. Add more than one color to create new colors! (Note: You will need more than a few drops of liquid watercolors and a wide mouth 16oz canning jar, or larger if you plan on coloring a lot of wooden beads at a time.
- Add a few drops of water to dilute the color. Skip this step if you want the deepest or most vibrant color possible.
- Place a wooden bead or wooden beads into the canning jar or recycled bottle.
- Put the lid on the canning jar or recycled bottle and give it a gentle shake and a spin to dye the wooden bead or beads.
- Pour them into a small bowl or tip the canning jar onto its side. Next, slide a toothpick into the wooden bead hole to pick each bead up. Place the dyed wooden bead or beads on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to dry. Alternatively, you can dump them in a strainer over the sink and then place them on an old rag or a paper towel to dry.
- Repeat as needed with more beads and/or using more colors and color combinations. Don’t forget to wash your canning jar in between each color–unless you plan to mix them, of course!
- Once dyed wooden beads are dry, you can spray them with a varnish to seal and protect the color. (optional) Please note that dyed wooden beads can bleed color if they get wet even when they are sealed and protected. Don’t shower with them on necklaces if you hope to maintain their color.
How to Dye Wooden Beads Step by Step Video Tutorial
Watch the video tutorial below to learn how to dye wooden beads using this easy coloring process!
Related: Wooden Bead Bunny Craft
How to Paint Wooden Beads
There are a few different ways you can paint wooden beads with acrylic paints or tempera paints. acrylic paint can cover wood better than tempera paint can, so we prefer acrylics for coloring wooden beads.
One method that can be used to paint a wooden bead requires an extra long toothpick and/or a paintbrush. While another painted wooden bead technique requires a small bowl and a toothpick, or, a paintbrush.
You can even do a crazy variation of both… My daughter sure did! You can see her painting a wooden bead in the colored wooden bead video tutorial below the written instructions.
How to Paint Wooden Beads on a Thin Wooden Dowel or Toothpick
- Thread a wooden bead or beads onto a toothpick.
- Use a paintbrush to paint the wooden bead the color or colors of your choice from the top of the wooden bead down.
- Flip the toothpick or wooden dowel over to paint the other side of the wooden bead using the same technique.
- Slide the wooden bead off the wooden dowel or toothpick and onto a piece of scrap or waxed paper and allow the colored wooden bead to dry.
- Roll it around with a toothpick a few times before it dries, so it does not stick to the paper.
How to Paint Wooden Beads in a Bowl
- Place wooden beads or beads in a small bowl.
- Roll the wooden beads around with a paintbrush and/or a toothpick to cover the entire bead with color.
- Poke a toothpick into the bead hole to pick it up and place it on scrap or waxed paper to dry.
- Roll the colored wooden bead around a few times before it dries to not stick to the paper.
Once painted wooden beads are dry you can spray them with a varnish to seal and protect the color. (optional)
How to Paint Wooden Beads Step By Step Video Tutorial
The painted wooden bead video shows the colored wooden bead methods listed above in action!
How to Color Wooden Beads with Paint Pens
Another fun and easy way to color wooden beads are with paint pens.
Extra fine tip and brush tip paint pens make it easy to apply color to beads in a gazillion different ways, the only limits are the limits of your imagination.
…and extra fine point paint pens to paint the wooden spool beads in the next photograph.
Once colored wooden beads are dry you can spray them with a varnish to seal and protect the color. (optional)
We are working on some more cool videos and photos of examples of colored wooden beads painted with paint pens to share with you very soon!
… Stay tuned, and bookmark this page so you can come back to see what we have added!
Related: Rainbow Bead Lucky Necklace
Colored Wooden Beads for Jewelry Making and Craft Projects
Coloring wooden beads to use for crafts, jewelry making, and DIY projects is fun and easy. You can also purchase colored wooden beads. However, if you need to match a certain color dying wooden beads yourself is the way to go!
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!