Stain for Your Cabinet Design
Whether you’re buying new cabinets or refurbishing old ones, a fresh stain on the wood in your kitchen can make your cabinet design stand out as if it were new again.
Staining your cabinets won’t be too difficult if you’re comfortable with light home renovations and repair. The key steps to making the process go smoothly are to prepare well beforehand, to work in an area where you have enough room, and to always be very careful with the stain.
While we can only hope your project goes off with no mishaps, we can talk you through the process; starting with the materials and preparation you should do beforehand, on to how to stain your cabinets, and ending with how to put everything back in place afterward.
Gathering your materials
If you’re planning on staining new, unfinished cabinets, you probably won’t have to sand them. However, if you’re restoring your older, already-installed cabinet design, you’ll need to sand away the old finish and stain first.
If you do need to sand, get two different types of paper: perhaps 110 grit and 220 grit. You’ll also need a drill or screwdriver to take apart your cabinets, and some small plastic bags to hold the hardware. Get some rags and basic cleaning supplies too, as well as some notepaper.
A tarp will be useful for covering the floor and giving you an area to work on. An open space like a garage is an ideal spot, and working in a well-ventilated area is highly recommended.
You’ll also need the stain you’ll be using, as well as polyurethane to finish the job. Pick colors that will accent or enhance your cabinet design, and use oil-based polyurethane with oil-based wood stain. A little bit of both of these will go a long way.
Staining your cabinets
Start by removing all the hardware from your cabinets, including the hinges. Lay out the pieces on the tarp, and put the hardware in the bags. Label everything with the notepaper so you remember how to put it all back.
If you need to sand, lightly sand each piece with the heavier, 110-grit sandpaper first. Then use the finer 220-grit sandpaper. You don’t need to spend much time on this step, but your cabinet design will thank you if you’re through.
Next, use the rags to rub the stain into your cabinet pieces. Go with the grain of the wood, and don’t apply it too thick. Let it dry and give it a look: does it need to be darker? If so, you can apply more coats until you have the correct shade.
Once you have the right color and the wood is dry, apply two coats of polyurethane.
Replacing your cabinets
Once your cabinets have been stained to the right color and the polyurethane has completely dried, you’re ready to put it all back together. Note that the finish should be completely dry, and not sticky to the touch. If you handle the cabinets too early you can leave smudges or fingerprints, marring your cabinet design.
Replace the cabinets and all the hardware. Try to only touch the wood pieces on their edges when possible, to avoid getting the new faces dirty.
Remember too that wood stain can be difficult to clean off your hands. Pro tip: if the wood stain does get on your hands, try rubbing them with vegetable oil before using soap.
In just a single day, you can transform your cabinet design into something brand new, even if the cabinets themselves are old.
Begin by gathering your materials and finding a good space to work in. Remove all the hardware and layout the cabinet pieces, and apply coats of stain until you get the right look. Then simply finish with polyurethane, and put it back together.
Beautiful cabinet design, finished by your own fair hands.