Do you have ugly golden oak kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanities that make you cringe every time you enter the room? Have you been thinking about painting or staining them but have been too afraid to take the plunge? If so, you’re not alone. I was in the same boat. I endured my horrendous builder-grade oak cabinets since I moved into my home more than 5 years ago. I knew I wanted to stain them from day one but it took me five years to finally get up the willpower to tackle the project. Let me tell you, it was THE BEST decision and so worth the time! All in all, the project took me about one week to complete and I spent less than $125 in supplies. Just take a look at these before and after photos. Are you feeling more inspired now? Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it too and you will be so happy with your results.
- General Finishes Gel Stain, 1 quart, (I used the Java color but they have other options)
- General Finishes High Performance Water Based Top Coat, 1 quart, (I used semi-gloss)
- Sandpaper Block (fine/medium, to lightly rough-up your cupboards)
- Painter’s tape (to tape off the edges of the cabinets)
- Old white tube socks (to apply the stain to the cupboards and cabinets)
- Nitrile Industrial Gloves (to protect your hands from the stain)
- Screwdriver or power drill (to remove the cupboard doors and hardware)
- Dropcloths (to protect your flooring and countertops)
- Clorox Wipes (to easily clean up stain)
- Rags (to clean the dust from sanding)
- Wipe down all of your cupboards and cabinets using a wet rag.
- Remove all hardware from cabinets (be sure to keep screws and handles in a safe place).
- Label all of your cabinet doors and drawers so you know where to put them back when you’re all done.
- Remove the doors and drawers and transport them to your workspace (I set up shop in my garage).
- Tape off any edges using painter’s tape to protect your walls.
- Lightly sand all of the doors, drawers and cabinets with a fine/medium sandpaper.
- Use a wet rag to clean the dust off of the doors, drawers and cabinets.
- Put on a pair of protective gloves and a white tube sock over your primary hand.
- Dip the sock into the stain and apply a thin coat of gel stain to all of the doors, drawers and cabinets.
- The wood should be fully saturated but make sure you don’t apply too much, thin coats are key.
- After 12 hours or so, flip the doors over and apply stain to the other side.
- Let the stain dry for a good 24-36 hours in between every additional coat.
- Repeat the process until you achieve your desired finish color (I applied three coats of gel stain for a full-coverage finish).
- Apply a minimum of two coats of the top coat (let the top coat dry for 24 hours in between coats).
- Once everything has dried thoroughly for a good 48 hours, you can begin reassembling your kitchen.
- Remove the painter’s tape for the edges, insert the drawers, rehang the doors, and reattach the hardware.
- Stand back and admire your new kitchen!
- Take your time when applying each coat. Your patience will pay off, I promise.
- Allow adequate drying time in between coats. This is really important! It will be worth it in the end.
- Allow extra drying time before reassembling your kitchen.
- I found that Clorox wipes were great for cleaning up stain that got past my painter’s tape or for little mess-ups and drips.
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