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Staining Furniture for Beginners

I made a HUGE mistake when I stained the top of this wooden furniture and since I get asked what to do when this situation happens a lot, I decided to film it and show everyone how easy it is to fix. So here’s what happened: I sanded the top which is wood and didn’t make sure that I had completely removed the pre-existing stain before I put the new stain on. This is a big no no! After I put the new stain on, the orange splotches started coming through and it looked terrible. So let this be a lesson for all of my fellow furniture painters. Please follow these simple instructions and take a bit of extra time to examine your piece before you move on to the next step. I’m happy that this was an easy fix even though it’s more time and labor to go back and correct it. So here is short post on staining furniture for beginners. Here’s what we’re working with:

Staining Furniture for Beginners

Supply List for Staining Furniture

* This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase from one of these links, I could make a commission at no charge to you.

  1. High Density Foam Roller

  2. Tact Cloths

  3. Micro Fiber Cloths

  4. Surf Prep Sanding Kit (Use coupon code BELLARENOVARE10 )

Sanding Off the Old Finish

We need to sand off all of the old finish that I missed the first time. So starting with 80 grit sand paper, go with the grain and go back and forth, making sure that you are sanding enough off. In my case, it’s the orange splotches that I want to make sure I’m getting. Don’t focus on just those areas – if the stains are on the top of the piece like mine, you’ll need to sand the entire top again.

After sanding, spray a little bit of water on the surface so you can see if you’ve gotten the finish off. When the area is moist, it will show you any inconsistencies or imperfections. If they’re still there, you’ll need to go back and sand some more.

Staining Furniture for Beginners

Always do this before you decide that it looks good enough for the stain!

TIP: If you’re sanding veneer and not wood, DO NOT oversand. Sand lightly to make sure that you don’t damage it.

Sanding The Surface Again

After the 80 grit sand paper, go over it again with a 120 grit. This will give a really nice smooth surface. This step isn’t mandatory. After this sanding phase, use a Tack Cloth to pull off any dust that is on the surface. Next, take a damp rag and go over the entire piece. Again and this will show you whether there are any inconsistencies left and you’ll know before you apply the stain.

Applying Stain to Your Furniture

For this piece, I’m using a water based stain. Remember I had just misted the top with water? Since my stain is water based, I don’t need to wait for the top to dry completely. If you’re using oil based stain, you’ll need to make sure it’s completely dry before you stain.

Use an applicator pad and go with the grain of the wood. I like to dampen the surface some more because the moisture helps the stain move more easily and removes any transition lines. Working in sections, apply the stain going along the entire surface area.

Sealing the Wood

Once the stain is completely dry, go over the surface with a Tack Cloth to pick up any dust particles. Now it’s time to seal the wood. I like to put tinfoil in my pan as a liner, and after stirring the Gator Hide sealer really well, I add it to the lined pan. Make sure that you’re using a high density foam roller and go with the grain, back and forth with the roller. Do not go in the other direction! Do not use a ton of pressure on the roller or you’ll notice bubbles forming.

Staining Furniture for Beginners

I always do 2-3 coats so if you miss an area you’ll get it the next time.

Work in sections and go along the entire piece. Allow the top to dry for a few hours and then using a super fine Rad Pad (or 500-600 grit paper) scuff the surface a little bit. This will create a little bit of a bite before putting on the second coat of Gator Hide. After scuffing, use a damp cloth, wipe away the dust, take your Tack Cloth and wipe again and then reapply the Gator Hide.

Now you’re done and you have a beautiful stained and sealed surface that will last you for years. Taking the time to make sure that your paint or stain has been completely sanded before you stain is really important and will save you from having to do all the steps above. But if you do make the same mistake that I did, you don’t have to worry. Now you know exactly how to fix it! I hope that you found this staining for beginner furniture painters post helpful whether you’re new to furniture painting or not!

If you’ve ever wanted to make over an Ikea cabinet, here’s a great how to post! https://bellarenovare.com/2019/08/check-out-this-extreme-ikea-cabinet-makeover/

Here’s the super short YouTube video for this week’s staining furniture for beginners tutorial.



See you next week and happy creating!

CrysDawna BellaRenovare Furniture Artist

#bellarenovare #bellarenovareblog #gelstain #stain