5 DIY Tips for Staining Wood That Any Beginner Can Master

Raw wood is back in fashion with the top interior designers around the country embracing the look of wood as a part of their design aesthetic. If you want to incorporate the look of stained wood into your home, you have a few options. 

A common choice is to buy a piece of furniture in raw wood and then finish it yourself. If you’ve never done this type of project before, there are a few tips for staining wood that will help you achieve a beautiful result. 

Follow these five tips and have a piece of furniture as attractive as the professionals use. 

Tips for Staining Wood Do a Test Run
Paint a scrap of wood to see how the stain looks.

1. Do a Test Run 

Always test out the stain you choose on a scrap piece of wood or in a hidden place. Try on the back of your wooden armoire or the underside of your coffee table

This will give you a chance to see how the stain and wood react with each other. If you hate the way it comes out, you aren’t committed to the stain. This lets you go back to the store and try again. 

Mix well.

Make sure that you thoroughly mix your stain before you test it out. Oil-based stains use a mixture of mineral spirits, dyes, and pigments. You need to make sure you thoroughly mix so that the dyes are pulled up off the bottom of the can. 

2. Use the Right Tools 

Oil-based stains will have fumes, so make sure you work in a ventilated area. You may even want to wear a mask to avoid breathing in those harmful fumes. 

You will also need a brush or rag to apply your stain. If you use a brush, you will need to work both with the grain and against it. If you use a rag, wear gloves and work in a circular motion. 

The goal is to get an even coat over the entire surface of the wood. You will need extra rags if you want a lighter tone than what you immediately see upon application. You’ll want to wipe the excess stain off of the wood. 

3. You Can Create a Custom Color 

If you struggle to find the right color, you can create your own. Just be sure to only use stains from the same manufacturer. Then you’ll want to make sure both stains are either oil or water-based. 

Do not mix oil and water stains. They will not blend, and you’ll end up with a bad result. 

4. Stain Is a Color, Not a Finish 

Once your wood is stained, you’ll need to apply a finish on top of it. This could be a clear coat that seals in the color and protects the wood. 

There is the option of buying an all-in-one product. This is a stain and finish in one step. If you choose this, you need to be careful about how you apply it.

Finish your application by brushing with the grain of the wood. You should also invest in a high-quality brush for this application.  

5. Keep Your Extra Stain 

Stain can be expensive, so keep your leftover stain for future projects. The great thing about stain liquid is that it won’t set up in the can the way your finish will. 

If you open an older can and you see a skin on top, then it is time to throw it away. Expect your opened cans to last about a year; unopened cans last about two to three years. 

Follow These Tips for Staining Wood

Tips for Staining Wood Bench
Creating a family heirloom like this bench (pictured) is easy with these tips for staining wood.

If you follow these tips for staining wood, then you are going to have a gorgeous piece of furniture with a custom look. Staining isn’t a complicated project. You just need to pick the right color, use the right tools, and take your time. 

Then when your stain is set, apply a finish. Now all that’s left is to enjoy your new piece of furniture. 

Check out our Archbold collection today and get inspired to redecorate your home with natural wood.