Transform unfinished furniture with wood-stained drawers, a defined patchwork design, and gorgeous hues. Simply go to the full stained dresser how-to and start staining.
Turn a piece of plywood into a work of art in just a few steps with water-base wiping stain. Begin by lightly sanding the birch plywood with 180-grit sandpaper and wiping with tack cloth. Use painter's tape to create a design. Press down edges firmly to prevent stain from bleeding under the tape. Wearing gloves, squirt a small amount of stain on a section of wood and use a cloth to rub with the grain (we used Minwax Express Color in Indigo and Walnut). If desired, repeat with another color. Let dry for one hour. Remove painter's tape, and use a cloth to rub clear coat over the entire surface for additional protection. It goes on milky but dries clear. Let dry overnight.
Use water-base stain (which comes in a variety of colors) to give a plain wood tray a little zing. Although this product doesn't require wood conditioner and is a stain and sealer in one, you'll need to apply an additional clear coat to the inside of the tray to protect the unstained wood. It's hard to get crisp lines when stenciling with stain, so avoid intricate patterns.
To stencil the tray: Lightly sand the tray with 180-grit sandpaper, and remove dust with tack cloth. Tape off the inside bottom of tray with painter's tape, trimming corners with a crafts knife. Apply stain to tray sides with a synthetic-bristle brush. Cut stencil to fit, and coat the back of stencil with a thin layer of repositionable spray adhesive. Remove painter's tape and position stencil on the tray. Press the edges down. Dip a natural sea sponge in stain, blot excess on a paper towel, and stencil using a pouncing motion. Repeat with other colors as desired. Let dry for 2-1/2 hours. Remove the stencil. Allow stain to dry before repositioning stencil to avoid smearing. Finally, use a synthetic-bristle brush to seal the entire tray with a clear finish. (For this project, we used Cabot Premium wood finish in Lilac, Citrus, and Fruit Punch.)
Create art reminiscent of a vintage classroom with this fun staining project that starts with a decal. On it's own, the piece is sleek and simple, but you could dress it up by marking significant locations with tacks, stickers, or paint.
How to Use Oil-Base Stain:
How to Use Water-Base Stain:
If you want to revive a stained piece, consider these tips from Bruce E. Johnson, author of The Weekend Refinisher and The Wood Finisher.
The longer you leave the stain on the wood, the more it will soak into the grain and the deeper the color will be. Always wipe off excess stain or it won't dry properly.
"Sanding is not optional. It removes dents and scratches and opens up the pores of the wood that absorb the stain." -- Bruce E. Johnson, spokesperson for Minwax
"The key to successful staining is to take your time preparing the wood. Staining lets its natural beauty shine through." -- Andrea Cooley, project designer