Just last month I decided that a bench in my home desperately needed a bit of a makeover. After a few days of toying with different color options, I decided a coat of stain would best suit the piece! Now, I do my fair share of DIY projects, but I rarely apply a coat of stain to any of my furniture. This time was definitely a first. Here are 10 things that I wish I would have known before beginning my wood-staining project.
**Spoiler alert: despite a few painting struggles, my project ended up looking flawless!
1. If you are using an oil-based stain, prepare for a longer dry time! Water-based stains are considered low-odor and fast drying. If you’re in a hurry, use a water based stain instead!
2. Less is more when applying stain! Don’t coat your stain on too thickly, as it can cause the stain to peel off or chip later. Instead, thinly coat your furniture with a coat of stain. Repeat the process as needed!
3. A top coat is always a good idea, especially when you are staining a heavily used item like a kitchen table. Water based top coats tend to work best, and they can be used with both an oil and water-based stain.
4. Never shake your can of stain! I made this mistake and ended up with a really horribly blended can of stain until I decided to stir it properly. Always stir your stain thoroughly, and make sure you scrape up the stain pigments from the bottom of the can! You’ll be glad that you did!
5. Work in sections! Stain your furniture in small sections, and use a rag to wipe off any excess. The longer you leave the stain on, the darker it will be!
6. Oak wood tends to absorb stain the best. Other kinds of wood can look great, but stain unevenly due to knots and other imperfections in the wood.
7. Apply a pre-coat of pre-stain wood conditioner. A foam brush works best when applying it to your furniture, and as always, it’s best to apply it in thin coats!
8. Always apply stain in the direction of the grain of the wood! It looks better, and the wood absorbs the color pigments better. It’s a win-win!
9. Always keep your cans of stain! Stain can be pretty expensive to buy, and a little bit definitely goes a long way! Keep your stains for future projects, they keep better than other paints do!
10. Stain provides color, not finish! Unless you are using a brand of paint that is both a stain and a top coat, never forget to apply a top coat to your finished furniture. You worked hard on the project, you may as well seal it properly!