Simple Stain Project

I bought two antique side tables and a desk off of Craigslist to save some money.  Neat pieces that needed some work.


This is the biggest furniture we can fit in my house.  The narrow side tables are perfect. And the whole inside is storage!  If not for the scratches, I wouldn’t have touched this pretty wood.  The desk, really my sewing table, is too light for my taste.

My experience with messing with furniture is limited to this Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Project I did.  And I didn’t want a house of painted furniture.  So I went on a search for an easy way to stain the wood.  I came across this little tutorial on Artsy Chicks Rule.

It looked super easy.  Rather than having to stain it and then put a gloss on top (the normal procedure, says my google results), it uses Minwax PolyShades Stain & Polyurethane – basically a 2-in-1 stain/gloss.  That means you have to: 1. Lightly sand; 2. Apply stain/gloss; and 3. Repeat as desired.  Pretty simple.

Things needed:

  • Minwax PolyShades Stain & Polyurethane – I chose the color “Bombay Mahogany Satin.” I was very happy with the color.  It just slightly darkened my “darker” piece, and it darkened and reddened (not too much) my light piece.  In other words, the colors will show up differently depending on the wood you start with.  This caused both pieces to look cohesive together, but not matchy matchy.
  • Light sanding paper (around 220 for first sanding before application and around 320 for between coats)
  • Foam, bristle brush, or sock to apply stain

In googling the Minwax stain/polyurethane, most complaints regarded the application.  Mainly that, when using a brush, the finish came off tacky (not like denim on denim), dripping, and uneven and you could see the brush strokes in the stain.  Some random comment suggested to use a sock to apply the stain.  I did that, and it worked perfectly.  Thank you, random internet commentator! In this method, your hand applying the stain does get covered in the stain.  But nail polish remover fixed that quickly.

Really, as stated above, the steps are as easy as this:

1. Make sure your wood is clean, and lightly sand the entire piece.  Brush off debris.

2. Apply your stain.

3. Let dry completely – the can suggests 7 hours.

4.  Lightly sand the piece with your finer paper, brush off debris, and apply more stain as desired.  (Sand between each application.)

Here are my before and afters.  With the side tables, I only applied ONE coat of stain.  I did love the wood to begin with.  But look how all the scratch marks are just gone!


For the desk, I did three coats.  I probably would have done four, but rain was coming.


It fits perfectly in our home.


Not too shabby for a beginner!!!

Posted in DIY

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s