Recently, I’ve been working on a few wood refinishing projects for a local client. It’s a bit of a departure from painting, but I love the opportunity to flex my refinishing muscles a bit 🙂
I’ll be sharing the big reveal of her pieces over the next couple of weeks, but first, I’m excited to kick off the Working With Wood series, where I’ll be sharing some essential tips with all of you!
Today’s topic: gel stain.
Gel stain is a very popular option for reviving wood pieces. It’s especially nice to work with because of its consistency and coverage. You may hear it called “java gel” or other names, but gel stains are made by several brands (including General Finishes and Minwax), and Java is only one of many, many of beautiful colors.
For my project, I used General Finishes Gel Stain in Candelite, a lovely warm brown with a red undertone. Here’s how I like to use it:
1. The Basics
- a foam brush
- shop towels or a staining pad
- an artist’s paintbrush
2. Prepare Your Piece
3. Stir Well
4. Apply the Stain
Using a foam brush to apply the stain gives good control and helps you to apply in even coats. If your piece has a lot of small crevices, you can use an artist’s paintbrush to get the stain there are well.
5. Wipe Back the Excess
6. Apply the Topcoat
Since it’s important to match the base of the topcoat to the base of the stain, both can work depending on your piece. Oil-based stain (like General Finishes Gel Stain) goes with an oil-based topcoat (like Wipe-On Poly or regular polyurethane), and vice versa.
I use a foam brush to apply High Performance Topcoat, and a lint-free cloth, like an old t-shirt or a shop towel, to apply wipe on poly. For both products, apply in thin coats, sanding in between coats with 400 grit sandpaper.
Check out the difference some gel stain can make! And check out the final reveal of the piece I redid – it’s an awesome transformation!
That color really floats my boat, friends 🙂
UPDATE: Did you know you can use gel stain over laminate, too? Check out this post for tips!