Whether you want to create a custom look or breathe new life into your old wooden cabinets, staining is a great option. Fortunately, you don’t need special skills or tools, particularly if you’re staining and finishing your cabinets that aren’t hung. So, here we’ll explore just what is involved in this process, so you can decide if this is a project you want to tackle.
Choose Your Stain
With so many different shades of stain, it is worth taking a little time to discover the best one for your cabinets and kitchen decor. Don’t assume that the color on the can will look exactly the same in your kitchen. A better idea is to create a sample board. Use an offcut of material the same as your cabinets and buy several tester pots of potential stains. You can then apply a patch of each stain to see how they look when dried.
Remove the Cabinet Hardware
The first step of staining your wooden kitchen cabinets is to remove any hinges, knobs, or pulls. Most cabinets are fitted with cup or European hinges that have three screws; two attaching the hinge to the door and one securing it to the cabinet. Other hinges may have two more screws to allow adjustment of the door position. These screws should not be disturbed. Keep the hardware in a ziplock bag, so nothing is lost during the staining.
If your cabinets are unfinished, you’ll need to sand the surfaces lightly using a #220 grit paper to remove any dirt. If the cabinets are finished, you will need to create an even, smooth surface. Use a sanding block and be sure to only sand with the direction of the grain. Sand across any butt joints, removing any cross grain scratches by changing the sanding direction.
Remove the Sanding Dust
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any dust, before wiping with a tack cloth to remove any trace of sanding dust. This type of cloth is a sticky type of fabric that can be bought at paint stores, hardware stores, and home improvement centers.
Prepare Your Work Area
Staining can be a messy project, so you will need to prepare your work area. Cover your work surface using newspaper or a drop cloth. You will also need some squares of white cotton cloth that can be used as a pre stain or stain applicator.
Apply the Pre Stain
Pre stain conditioner helps the wood to more evenly absorb the stain. Using scraps of wood, raise the cabinets above the work surface, and use one of the rag squares to wipe on the product. Be sure to wear disposable latex gloves to avoid staining your skin. Allow it to soak for approximately 10 minutes before you wipe off any excess.
Apply the Stain
You won’t need top quality brushes to apply the stain since the excess will be wiped off. However, you should avoid really cheap brushes that may shed bristles. Disposable foam brushes are relatively inexpensive and can do a great job. Allowing the stain to soak will create a darker finish, so apply the stain to one surface, wait for five minutes before wiping off the excess using a clean, white cloth. Allow the stain to dry for four hours or more. You can also apply another coat if you want a darker stain.