Skip to product information
1 of 1

Natural Wood Stain & Varnish Set

Regular price
Regular price
Sale price
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Stain and varnish all woodworking and home projects with natural earth- and plant-based supplies!

Avoid all toxic preservatives, additives and solvents by mixing your own stains and using non-toxic varnish.

Set includes:

  • 4 - 3 oz packets of Earth & Mineral Pigments - Colors: Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna
  • 1 - 8oz bottle Natural Varnish
  • 1 - 8oz bottle Walnut Oil 
  • Instructions with 4 stain mixing recipes and tips on applying the varnish

Watch tutorials on Natural Earth Wood Stain recipes.

Our 100% plant-based Natural Varnish is made with a proprietary blend of archival ingredients using time-tested recipes from the Renaissance.

This varnish enhances depth of color and richness with a fast-drying, water-clear, glossy finish. It provides superior, durable final protection against dirt and grease. Hand-crafted in small batches, this varnish is non-yellowing and free from VOCs, heavy metal driers, additives, petroleum based ingredients, harsh fumes, and toxic additives. It won’t bloom or crack like some other conventional varnishes. This varnish seals most surfaces including paintings, wood, stone, metal, plastics, crafts and more.

For Natural Varnish frequently asked questions, please visit our Natural Varnish Blog Post.

Shipping & returns

Return Policies

We offer full refunds on any defective or damaged products. We also offer full refunds (less shipping costs) on elective returns if the product is in re-sellable condition and the return has been made within 3 months of the purchase.

Shipping Policies

Free Standard Shipping on orders above $100 for U.S. customers.

Orders containing in-stock items are typically processed within 2 business days from when we receive the order during operating hours. If a purchase contains out-of-stock or pre-order items, we will ship the order once ALL items are available and it can be fulfilled completely. Once an order is shipped, you will receive a confirmation email with tracking information; please save this email in case of any issues with your order.

After a package leaves our facility, it becomes the responsibility of the contracted carrier to get it to you. Any issues or problems that arise must be resolved with them directly. For USPS orders in particular, we've be instructed that it is best for the recipient to first speak with their local post office regarding any concerns.

Additionally, you can monitor your shipment or file a claim for lost mail with each of the carriers we use: U.S. Postal ServiceUPS, or FedEx.

We work hard to ensure orders are processed and received as quickly as possible, but unfortunately, we're unable to locate lost or delayed packages. We recognize errors happen and ask for your patience in those circumstances, but we will not ship replacement items or issue refunds until a formal determination is made by the carrier. Please use the resources outlined above to seek resolution if needed.


International Shipping

If you’re ordering from EuropeCanadaAustralia or New Zealand, please click the appropriate link to visit the distributor for your region. We normally ship USPS International for international orders, and the order typically takes 2-3 weeks for delivery. Due to global constraints, shipping times may vary, and additional delays can occur due to customs inspections. Since we never know if a package will be held at customs, any import fees or taxes applied to the delivery must be paid by the recipient.

  • Varnish FAQ

How is it different from normal varnish? 
The main difference between our varnish and all other varnishes on the market is that we don't include any toxic solvents - mineral spirits, turpentine, etc. Our varnish does not off gas any toxic fumes which all others do.

What are the ingredients in the varnish?
The varnish is a vegan-friendly, plant and food based, proprietary blend and we are currently working to patent the recipe, so we can't give the detailed ingredient list at this time. 

Does it contain shellac? 
We do include a natural shellac in this varnish, but it is completely bug cruelty free. There are two types of shellac - one that involves the killing of lac bugs and one that is the collection of resin that the lac bugs leave - no lac bugs are killed in the process. We use this type of shellac and don't use anything that endangers animals or insects.       

Can I thicken the varnish?
Yes, any alcohol soluble resin such as shellac will thicken the varnish. 

Can I thin the varnish? 
You can use a high proof alcohol - 190 proof - to thin the varnish if desired. The varnish is already quite thin, but you can add a little bit of high proof alcohol to make it go further to spray or get more coats. Be careful not to add too much or you will lose the varnish's protective qualities.

Is it waterproof? Water spots / exterior use
It's not designed to be 100% waterproof, but it will hold up for a while on wood outside but will need to be re-applied periodically. The varnish does a nice job of protecting against wear, however, less well against water. Shellac based varnishes are prone to water spots. A treatment of paste wax over the varnish helps prevent this. I recommend Ashland Oregon made Axe wax. It is only pure nonpetroleum non-toxic ingredients. 

Is it UV resistant? 
No, it is not UV resistant.

Is it flammable? 
We use pure grain alcohol so it is flammable - care should be taken around heat sources

How does it dry / what is the finish? 

How long does it take to dry? 
5-10 minutes

How can I achieve a matte finish? 
Once the varnish is completely dry, gently rub the finish with 4000 steel wool, 800 grit sandpaper, or a pumice stone in order to provide a matte finish.

Is it removable? 
Yes, the varnish is removable by gently rubbing with alcohol on a soft cloth. 

Can it be used for the French Polish technique?
Yes, our varnish has been formulated and used for years by violin makers and it makes a wonderful French polish for instruments.

Note: For added strength on French polishing, it is best to use a pumice bag with 000000 pumice and rub that in with your first coat to fill the pores with both the varnish, sawdust, and pumice (that's your pore filler). The pumice retains the same refraction as the shellac (becomes transparent), and this offers a lot of strength to the finish against sweat and everything else. 

You could strengthen it by putting a coating of emulsified carnauba wax after it is cured. It works just fine for the Rosewood family. and you don't need to pretreat it with anything. 

How does it compare to Damar varnish?
It is completely different from our varnish - it is an oil-based varnish and ours is a "spirit varnish" or alcohol-based varnish.

Can it be applied to glass or steel? 
In the limited testing we have done, the varnish does adhere to glass and steel. We recommend using caution to protect the surface from scratches after it is applied (especially the glass) as it may still scrape off. We recommend you test it on a small area before applying to the entire area. 

Do I need to use it on my paintings?
The varnish will add a gloss layer of protection, bringing a luminous depth to colors and even out matte and glossy areas if needed. 

You don't need any varnish on the oil paint because oil paint is in itself very archival, durable and UV resistant. However some people add varnishes to increase the gloss shine, to bring out the radiance of the colors and make it "pop" more, to give it an extra layer of protection or even out the painting if there are some areas that are glossy and some matte.

How long should I wait for my painting to dry before applying? 
You should wait until the painting is completely dry. As for drying time, that varies widely depending on pigments used, the thickness of paints, the number of layers and the surrounding environment. NOTE: There isn’t any water in oil paint to evaporate (unlike acrylics which dry by evaporation) so traditional oil paints dry by oxidation, which occurs when the oil reacts with oxygen in the air and hardens. This is why you shouldn’t varnish an oil painting until it is fully cured, as putting varnish on a partially dry (to the touch) painting won’t allow air through the varnish layer and will stop the painting from drying properly and fully.

Can I use it on paper?
We are finding from our watercolor artist customers that the varnish works great on some types of papers and not others - it depends on the fibers of the paper and the sizing in the paper. We have not done a test of all types of watercolor paper unfortunately so aren't able to tell you which ones work well. You can try first spraying with a fixative first - Spectrafix is an eco-friendly one made of casein (milk). I can't guarantee this though as we've never tested it. You can also try brushing our Natural Acrylic Medium over your watercolors although again, we have not tested it so can't say for sure it will give you the results you're looking for.

What is the coverage of the varnish? 
Amount of coverage for a 4 oz. bottle of varnish:
Paintings (all types) or sealed or stained wood surfaces - 80 sq. feet
Raw hardwood - 50 sq. ft.
Raw soft wood or plywood - 12 sq. ft.

  • Walnut Oil FAQ

Does it yellow over time? 
We sell walnut oil because it is less yellowing than linseed oil although there will be slight yellowing over time.

When mixing your own oil paint, many people choose to use Liquid Gold Hempseed Oil with the white pigments only (instead of walnut or linseed oil), so that the white paint will never yellow. 

How long does it take to dry? 
Walnut oil dries slowly and can dry to the touch between 4-14 days depending on the humidity of your area, the type of pigment used and how thickly it was applied.

Is it refined? 
Yes. It is pure, expeller pressed walnut oil, so no other chemical or oils are introduced in manufacturing or bottling (when it is refined it is naturally "bleached" with clay which is just a natural filtering for color and clarity and there should be no allergen potential because it is refined). No hexane or solvents are used at all. 

How does it compare to linseed oil? 
You can use linseed oil interchangeably. We use walnut oil because it's higher quality and is less yellowing over time. But linseed oil dries faster which some people prefer. 

How does it compare to poppyseed oil? 
Historically, some painters mixed their white pigment with poppyseed oil instead of walnut or linseed because it never yellows and is the clearest of all oils. 

How does it compare to sunflower oil? 
Sunflower oil can be used but it dries much slower than walnut oil (which already dries pretty slow) and some sources say that it may discolor your painting or yellow over time. 

Is it flammable? 
All natural oils are potentially flammable if left on a rag in a hot area. It's suggested that you store oil soaked rags in a metal bucket with a lid and submerge in water if you're not disposing of them right away. Artists have many techniques of safely storing or disposing of their soiled rags - you'll find a lot of tips on google and artist forums.  

Can it be used for a wood stain? 
Most woodworkers who are staining outside wood furniture just mix our natural pigments with walnut oil and brush it on and then wipe with a dry rag. If you want the paint more opaque just add more pigment or don't wipe with the rag. It will bond well with the wood. It will completely compost and biodegrade because it's just earth and oil. Here's a tutorial with other natural wood staining recipes as well. We also sell a Natural Wood Stain & Varnish Set.

  • Earth & Mineral Pigments FAQ

Are the pigments archival and lightfast?
Yes, all our Earth and Mineral Pigments and paints are extremely archival and have excellent/ permanent lightfastness. Natural earth pigments are the most permanent and archival of any pigment and don’t contain fillers, stabilizers, solvents or preservatives.

The earth pigments will last thousands of years in a glass jar and never fade or degrade. Without the fillers and additives, nothing gets in the way of the purity and longevity of these paints.

Note: see each pigment description on the pigment product page.

Do I need to wear a mask when mixing powders?
Our pigments are completely non-toxic but no matter what kind-of dust you're using, you don't want to inhale large amounts of any kind. Most artists who mix our pigments don't wear any mask protection because they scoop small amounts and mix carefully so as to not create any airborne dust. But definitely use a mask if you have lung sensitivity or health problems or are concerned in any way. 

How much pigment do I need to add?
Every color has a completely different oil: pigment ratio because each color absorbs moisture differently and each pigment has a different molecular structure, size, density, drying time, etc. You simply pour the pigment onto the palette and add small amounts of oil at a time and mix until it makes a smooth, thick paste. You can use a glass dropper to add drops at a time. 

Where do your pigments come from?
We get our pigments from small quarries in countries across the world, including the USA, France, and Italy, depending on where that color pigment is prevalent in the ground. We manufacture our paints in Ashland, Oregon.

Components of the Natural Wood Stain & Varnish Set including eight ounce bottle of Natural Varnish, eight ounce bottle of Walnut Oil and four 3 ounce packets of pigment; Venetian Red, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review

Why Natural Earth Paint

  • SAFE

    Free of heavy metals, solvents, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, additives, petroleum-based dyes and nano-particles.


    100% solar powered facility, 100% recycled and biodegradable packaging, and zero-waste shipping option available.


    Proud to be the most innovative eco-business in art supplies. We have a whole line of products that you can’t find anywhere else.


    The highest quality pigments, organic ingredients, and hand-crafted in small batches. Pure earth pigments make the most luminous paint available anywhere.