Project One: Staining Stools

Home improvement projects: do-it-yourself ways to update home decor for the thrifty. Especially on a college budget, I figured I should learn a couple of these skills before the new-house decorating commences.

Do-it-myself Project One: Staining Wood

We’ve had four light wood stools in my parents’ kitchen ever since we moved into this house. They’re great, standard stools, but don’t quite fit with the rest of the dark-wooded kitchen. So Mom charged me with the mission to make them match.

    Before & After

  • Step One: Sand down the original wood. The new stain won’t stick to the sealant that is already on the wood, so sanding is needed to expose the raw wood underneath. Luckily these particular stools have a wooden top and a painted base, so I needed only to sand the tops (Mom wanted to keep the bases white to match the kitchen trim). I was thankful I had such a small surface area to sand – it’s hard work!
  • Step Two: Paint on the stain. This was my favorite part! Make sure you stir the stain before you start, and begin with a small amount. I found it helpful to paint in the direction of the natural grain in the wood. This needs to dry for at least a couple hours.
  • Step Three: Seal the new stain. Each sealant is different, but the sealant I used requires three coats with several hours to dry in between. Caution: I made the mistake of leaving the stools to dry in direct sunlight after the second coat. This resulted in the sealant turning white and flaky instead of transparent and smooth. I removed the bulk of the flakes and painted another layer of sealant, and the finished product turned out fine.