How Can I Make Multi-Colored Plywood by Layer?

Most of us build furniture and structures in and around our homes, offices, or just about anywhere using plywood. We also know how unappealing the unfinished edges of plywood can be. It is understandable if you do not want to conceal these edges but beautify them instead. To that effect, you must be asking, “How can I make multi-colored plywood by layer?”

To make multi-colored plywood, you need to purchase multiple wood veneers of varying colors and then glue them together using clamps.

If I were you, I wouldn’t just want to know the materials required to make plywood with multi-colored layers. I would also like to know how to use these materials to make the plywood I have always wanted and what to do if it starts to fall apart. Why don’t you let me inform you?

What Are Wood Veneers?

Wood veneers are thin slices of wood obtained by unrolling the trunks of trees or slicing large blocks of wood called flitches.

The grain and figure of wood veneers vary depending on the trees’ growth ring and species and the method in which it was sliced.

Uses of Wood Veneers

Wood veneers have various purposes. For one, they are used to create a wood-like finish on structures made from other materials. The appearance of wood veneers as a surface material has always been regarded as elegant and luxurious.

How Can I Make Multi-Colored Plywood by Layer?

Wood veneers can also be glued or pressed against core panels creating a flat panel used for doors, parts of furniture, and top and panels for cabinets.

Another known use of wood veneers is in plywood. Layers of wood veneers are glued, heated, and pressed on top of each other. The grain of each layer varies by a right angle to the one before and after it. The layers are placed this way to increase the overall strength of the plywood.

There are six types of wood veneers. They are:

  • Raw veneer
  • Paperbacked veneer
  • Phenolic backed veneer
  • Laid up veneer
  • Reconstituted veneer
  • Wood on wood veneer

Most people prefer wood veneers because they are cost-effective and environment-friendly.

Advantages of Wood Veneers

  • Ever since the scarcity of natural wood began, its price has only gotten steeper. With the introduction of wood veneers came a more affordable option. You can easily glue the thin wood veneers onto the surface of structures made from other materials and give them that wood-like aesthetic.
  • Trees have various grain patterns and so do wood veneers when they are sliced from these trees. Their diverse patterns make them perfect for giving furniture different luxurious looks. To add to their versatility, you can polish or varnish them to deepen their shade and give them a bolder look.
  • Wood veneer furniture is effortless to maintain. All you need to do is take a dry or damp cloth, clean the furniture, and it will look as good as new.
  • Wood veneers are made from wood and, as such, possess a certain level of strength that other engineered wood-like particle boards don’t. By adding veneer sheets to these kinds of engineered wood, you can strengthen them and make them last longer. 
  • As engineered wood is susceptible to water damage, wood veneers can be used to protect it and increase its durability.
  • Wood veneers take up less wood to make than solid wood materials, which makes them more eco-friendly. Also, when they have been used to their fullest capacity, they can be recycled and used to produce particleboard and MDF
  • Unlike laminates, wood veneers are natural products obtained from trees, which means they are not toxic. However, some adhesives used in making plywood are harmful, but most manufacturers do not use them.

Disadvantages of Wood Veneers

  • Like other materials made from trees, wood veneers are susceptible to water and moisture damage after long exposures. However, there are ways to make them water-resistant or waterproof.
  • Wood veneers are not the easiest sheets to install. Most times, you need to help of a skilled professional to get that perfect finish.
  • Due to its delicate nature, wood veneer sheets attached to particle boards or other surfaces can peel and reveal the concealed material.
  • Once wood veneers are damaged, they are impossible to repair. Unlike natural wood furniture that you can sand, wood veneers are too thin for sanding. The only way to repair a wood veneer is to replace the entire surface.

What Is the Difference Between Wood Veneer and Solid Wood?

Solid wood products are made entirely of natural wood. Products made from solid wood can be sanded, stained, varnished, treated, and painted on. 

Wood veneers are also made of natural wood, but just from thin slices of wood. They are bonded to a substrate like glass, fabric, plywood, and others to give the appearance of wood.

How Can I Make Multi-Colored Plywood by Layer?

Solid wood tends to expand and contract depending on the temperature and atmosphere around it. This is more obvious during the summer and winter periods, going from very hot to very cold. Due to this expansion and retraction, products made from solid wood tend to crack more easily than furniture covered with wood veneers.

If you have a hard time telling whether a piece of furniture is made of wood veneers or solid wood, lift it. Furniture made from solid wood is weighty and much more challenging to move than one made with wood veneers. 

Another telltale is the grain of these materials. If you feel for the grain of a wood veneer, you will notice that the surface is smooth. This is not the case with solid wood. Solid wood has a natural grain; you should be able to feel the coarseness of the grain.

How Many Layers of Wood Veneers Are in Plywood?

Depending on its purpose, plywood can have three or more layers of wood veneers. The number of plies in plywood determines its thickness and strength.

These layers of wood veneers are positioned with their grains 90° adjacent to the corresponding layer to reduce warping, shrinkage and improve the overall strength of the plywood. 

To honor this rule, an odd number of plies must be used in all plywood. What this means is that plywood will come with layers of 3,5,7,9, and so on. However, there are some cases where thin plywood can have four layers. 

Every plywood has three components: the face veneer, center veneers (core), and back veneer. 

The face and back veneers are the outer layers of the plywood, while the center veneers or core are the number of plies within the outer layers. The face veneer is the part of the plywood used or shown, while the back is usually unused or concealed.

How to Make Multi-Colored Plywood By Layer

Making your own multi-colored plywood is a breeze, and you can do it with just a few materials and tools. Here are some steps you should follow to make your very own customized plywood.


  • Wood veneers
  • Dye (if you choose to dye your veneers)
  • Containers (to soak your veneers in the dye)
  • Wood glue (adhesive)
  • 2 wood panels (for clamping)


  • Laser cutter
  • Brush
  • Clamps
  • Utility knife
  • Ruler

Acquiring Wood Veneers

The first step to making your multi-colored layered plywood is to get your hands on the right wood veneers. There are multiple ways of getting wood veneers.

If you’re looking for plywood with colored layers that only stems from various species of trees, then go ahead and buy wood veneers that fit this purpose. But, if you’re looking for some more colors, you can go about it in two ways.

How Can I Make Multi-Colored Plywood by Layer?

First, you can buy already dyed wood veneers from The Wood Veneer HubCousineau Wood Products, or Sauers & Company Veneers. These websites and many others are wonderful and will give you multiple options of colored wood veneers.

Second, you can buy plain wood veneers and dye them yourself. If you choose to go with this option, ensure you purchase wood veneers with lighter shades. Wood veneers with darker shades might affect the shade of color you choose to use on them.

To dye your wood veneers, follow these steps:

  1. Fully immerse them individually in the containers filled with the colors of your choice. Make sure to use a container that won’t be affected by the dye in any way.
  1. Leave the veneers in the dye between 24 to 72 hours to completely absorb the colors. Leave the container on a warming tray or on a surface that can keep the dye warm to improve the absorption process.
  1. After the 24-hour wait period, take out your veneers and dry them. Once your veneers are dry, you will have completed the process of making your very own colored wood veneers.

Steps to Making Multi-Colored Plywood by Layer

Now that you have decided on how to obtain your colored veneers, it’s time to build your plywood.

  1. Depending on the dimensions you require, cut your colored veneers accordingly using the utility knife, and use the ruler as a guide to making straight cuts. You can use a piece of wood instead of a ruler.
  1. After cutting the veneers, arrange them on top of each other, making sure to change the grain orientation of each layer by 90°. As you are placing these veneers, ensure to pick out your outer layers. Also, endeavor to pick the better-looking sides and mark them so you do not forget.
  1. Using your brush, spread the glue on the wood veneers. I recommend you start with one side of the face veneer, then the center veneers, working your way to the back veneer. Ensure to spread the glue evenly and thoroughly. Note that, for the outer layers, you only use the glue on the side that faces inward.
  1. Once you’re done gluing all components of the plywood together, clamp your combined layers within the two panels of wood.
  1. Let the tightly clamped structure dry for at least 24 hours.
  1. When your plywood is dry, take it out of the clamps, scrape off any residual glue that oozes out of the compressed layers, and use the laser cutter to trim the edges.
  1. Once all this is done, you will have yourself a beautiful multi-colored layered plywood.

How to Fix Separations in Plywood

After a period of extended exposure to certain conditions, the layers of plywood tend to separate regardless of if it is homemade or store-bought. When this happens, the integrity of the plywood degrades, and it slowly starts to weaken and deform until it is useless.

When the layers start to separate, you don’t need to be upset; you can fix the issue. Here’s how.


  • Putty knife
  • Glue
  • Clamps

Steps to Fix Separation in Plywood

  1. Lay your separated plywood across two sawhorses.
  1. Carefully inspect the edges of the plywood and locate all the separations.
  1. Insert the tip of your putty knife deep into the separation. Be careful not to press too hard and worsen the separation.
  1. Insert the tip of the glue bottle in the separation and inject the glue into the space. Try and use the knife to open the separation as wide as possible.
  1. If possible, move the knife to the opposite side of the separation and inject glue into where the knife was.
  1. Take out the knife and use the tip of the glue bottle to spread a little more glue on the edge of the separation.
  1. Repeat these steps for all the separations in the plywood.
  1. Use the clamps on the edges of the plywood and squeeze it as tight as possible.
  1. Leave the plywood to dry for about an hour.
  1. Remove the clamps, scrape off the residual glue using a glue scraper.

Can I Buy Multi-Colored Layered Plywood?

Despite its popularity, multi-colored layered plywood is surprisingly hard to find on the market. However, there are some websites where you can buy this type of plywood. Some of them include FrogBlanks and Cousineau Wood Products

Dymondwood was a top-rated and well-used dyed wood veneer supplier, but unfortunately, their factory burnt down, and they never rebuilt it.

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