If that title sounds too good to be true, just hang on. It really IS true! I stained my bathroom vanity and I plan on doing my entire kitchen and other bathrooms! It was easy and looks even better than the pictures show!
I found a tutorial on how to achieve this look. It gave me courage and hope. So I decided I would start with my bathroom and if it looked terrible I would buy a new vanity. Either way, I wanted a facelift. I was just hoping that staining would work since that is WAY cheaper!!
I made a store with everything you need HERE.
You can purchase the stain HERE. The poly I got can be purchased HERE.
- Tape off your area. Walls, floors and underside of countertop. Use newspaper or some sort of protection on your floors and walls.
- Clean the vanity. The entire thing. I used a wet rag with a little bit of Dawn dish soap. Then I rinsed the rag out and wiped it with just water. Then I dried it.
- The insides of mine is the same golden oak color so I decided to do that too. If yours is white you could either tape it off and leave it white or you could stain it so it looks like it is wood! (You will probably need to do at least one extra coat of stain over white.)
- Note* Inside and on the sides is linoleum. And YES, I stained it!
- Rough up the surface. I did NOT say 'sand'. That is one of the things that makes this WONDERFUL! No sanding! Just rough it up. I always went with the grain. (Or on the linoleum parts I went the way I wanted my faux grain to go.) It took me about a half hour to do the entire thing. Inside, out, and both sides of doors. Use a sanding block. 220 grit. Get that HERE.
- Vacuum the inside out. Mostly just around all of the edges. Then wipe it out twice.
- Use two disposible gloves and one men's sock. Yes, it needs to be men's so it goes up to your elbow! It keeps you cleaner! You will need a new sock for each application. I used old socks and bought my husband new socks, but you can buy the ones in the link above if you just want to use cheap ones.
- Use just a little bit of stain at a time. Do the edges first and then go across the surface. I got in all of the little cracks and crevices with my fingernails and then did the flat surfaces. Make sure to use strokes that go from one side all the way to the other. Do the whole the thing in the same direction for the linoleum. (Pick the way you want the 'grain to go'.) Go with the grain on the real wood. It is going to look weird on your first coat, don't worry about it! You still have two more coats to go!
- Do 3 coats of stain. Then do the poly. (You do NOT need to sand between coats!) I did 3 coats of poly. (You will probably only need 2 coats of stain on unfinished wood.) Each coat of stain and polyurethane only needed 24 hours to dry. I did wait 24 hours after the last coat of poly to re-assemble my cabinet. I live in Las Vegas, NV and did this in September. It is hot and dry. If you live somewhere humid or cold you will need to have longer drying times. Do not try to rush it or it won't turn out well. You will be able to feel it and see if it feels like it is completely dry. It will not be tacky at all.
- Do the door and drawers in your garage on painters pyramids. I would highly recommend getting the ones in the link becasuse they can screw into a board. That way they do not flip all over while you are staining.
- For this size cabinet it only took me about 15 minutes to stain the entire thing (per coat) and about 10 minutes for the doors. I did one side of the doors and then 24 hours later did the other side. Your doors will take a lot longer than the cabinet. But you cannot flip it over just after you did the one side or it will ruin what you just did. Take it slow and you will have good results.
I also did this on unfinished wood. I did some shelves for my movie theatre and I LOVED the results. Because they were unfinished I only needed two coats of stain to achieve my desired color and then did 4 coats of poly. Again, it takes a long time because I did one side at a time. I would do the front side and the top side and then flip it and do the back side and the under side at the same time. So I always knew which way to flip it so I never got confused. If it helps, make a note of what you did so you know what to do for next time. With that many coats and two sides, it is easy to forget how many of what you have already done.
I stained my kitchen a different color and I used two colors to get it depth and I love it! I would never go back to plain ol' Java. But it depends on the look you're going for. Make sure to check it out. You can see that HERE. If you want to see a sample of the colors you can view my video of that HERE.
I loved the General Finishes Gel Stain and Poly! It was easy to work with and did not have a strong smell!! It doesn't drip and applies evenly. I won't use a different kind ever again!
Feel free to comment with any questions and I will answer them the best I can.
P.S. I plan on getting hardware for them, but I haven't settled on which ones to get yet.
So here is my favorite part - the Before and After Pictures:
After Coat 1:
After Coat 2:
After Coat 3:
After 3 Coats of Stain and 3 Coats of Poly:
My Before and After!! I love it!
My Theatre Shelves (Unfinished Wood)
After 2 Coats of Stain and 4 Coats of Poly:
What do YOU think!?