Wood stains, rags, sandpaper and gloves

Refer to the artSparx basic preparation resource for more tips and techniques….



Basic surface preparation 
Glaze and Glazing

Material descriptions 
Patching drywall 
Paint & varnish removers
Sanding techniques
Sealers & sealants
Solvents & thinners


Drop Cloths
Sandpaper - 180 grit
Tack cloth
(3 to 5 inch)
Minxax stain
Staining pad
Small Buckets
Disposable gloves


More techniques
Color washing
Glazing techniques 
Rag rolling 
Wood graining 
Striee glazing
Dragging techniques 
Pouncing techniques
Style archives
Preparation of surfaces
Know your materials


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Antiquing Center Furniture Center Color Center Gilding Center Plaster Effects

Staining - wood, furniture and objects

Rating 1.5 -Beginner

Choose your furniture style based on proportions, 
design style and/or type of wood. 
Be sure to measure and make sure it fits through the door!

Preparing the Surface

The following demonstration is for staining unfinished furniture. To stain furniture that has been previously sealed, stained or painted refer to the artSparx furniture preparation resource to properly strip the existing finish. Then follow these simple steps below.

Step 1: 

Using 180 grit sandpaper, or sanding block, lightly sand in the direction of  the wood grain on your furniture. This will remove any dirt or blemishes and provide a nice, fresh surface to stain.

Step 2: 

Be sure to sand all surfaces, including any interior areas. After sanding, remove all sanding dust with a Tack cloth.  

Sandpaper is readily found in various grits at Hardware store or your local hardware store. To learn more about sanding, different sandpaper roughness and sanding techniques visit artSparx sanding resource.

Applying your Stain

Step 3:  

Using protective gloves, dip your staining pad or rag in your stain and apply to the furniture surface, again in the direction of the wood grain. You can loosely apply the stain over your surface. Allow to sit for a brief moment, then use a clean rag and wipe over the surface (always in the direction of the grain) to remove any excess stain.

On large surface areas, work in small areas, or zones, but move from one area to another in a regular fashion. In this manner the stain will blend easily into the previous edge without additional build up of color.

Step 4:  

Stain the legs, or side panel. Apply stain to entire area, then wipe excess with a clean rag. When working with legs, stain all sides evenly before moving onto the next area. Use a clean brush when necessary to get into corners or crevices.

Step 5: 

Pay attention to detail; edging, drawers and edges under table top surfaces. If necessary, tape exposed areas to prevent your staining pad hitting unintended stain areas. Be aware that unfinished wood acts like a sponge to your fluid stain and therefore stain may seep under your taped areas and cause an unsightly effect known as 'bleeding'.

Step 6:

Keep an eye out for those hard to get spots - Once you have finished staining your piece go around and around looking at the furniture from all angles, insuring that you haven't missed any areas with your stain.

Protective varnish coat

Step 7:

Apply a clear water based sealer, such as Benjamin Moore 'Stay's Clear' Latex Varnish. A Low-luster or semi gloss sheen is recommended. Apply varnish with a clean brush, applying in the direction of the wood grain.

Step 8: Allow to dry full. Lightly sand surface, in the direction of the grain. Use a tack cloth again to remove any dust (very important!), the apply a second varnish coat in the same fashion as before. Allow to dry fully, 6 hours or over night.

Step 9: Clean brushes up with warm, soapy water (latex paints).
Dispose of rags and gloves properly by allowing rags to air dry over night. Never clump together or toss in waste while still wet. Most commercial stains are spirit based and can combust if not properly disposed of. Always read label. Latex stains are also available.


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