This is as close as we'll ever get to the perfect gel stain.

Using Gel Stain to Stain Unfinished Wood

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I don’t like to think of these crafting posts as tutorials, because I am sure to leave something out and I am definitely NOT an expert. I like to think of them as guides, inspiration to get your own creative juices flowing. Most of my projects are with thrift store finds/stuff I already have around the house. So take a look around you with fresh eyes, hit that garage sale or favorite thrift store and make some magic of your own! Because when you make it yourself, you get to enjoy the bragging rights.

My husband and I have had these little Ikea dressers for years and had never actually finished them. A Maker’s Studio gel stain is so lovely and easy to apply that it finally motivated me to finish these dressers so we could use them as nightstands.

PRO TIP: Notice the color of the finish on your headboard before you buy just any pretty color gel stain to finish your nightstands. Don’t ask me how I know…

Supplies Needed for Staining Unfinished Wood

Tips for Staining Unfinished Wood

If you are staining a piece of furniture with drawers, like I was, think about lining the inside of the drawers with shelf lining paper (available in the kitchen section of your favorite big box store) to keep the inside of the drawers looking nicer longer.

New hardware looks amazing whether it’s to revive an old piece of furniture or just upgrade the cheaper hardware that came with your new piece.

Make sure to stain in a well-ventilated area. A Maker’s Studio gel stains do not contain VOCs but the sealant you pick up at the hardware store will.

Staining Unfinished Wood 101

  • Protect your work surface and your clothing.
  • Remove hardware.
  • Clean your wood with furniture cleaner and a lint-free cloth and let dry.
  • Cover the entire surface with a thin coat of stain using long strokes.
  • Wipe excess gel stain away to get the color desired.
  • Let dry for an hour.
  • Repeat, adding a second or even third coat to achieve the depth of color desired.
  • Cover the entire surface with a thin coat of matte sealant using long strokes.
  • Let dry for an hour.
  • Cut and place shelf liner paper inside drawers (optional)
  • Replace hardware.
  • Enjoy your fantastic creation!
This is the closest we'll ever get to the perfect gel stain!

Small brown dresser with blue background
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