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Staining’s my favorite

Taken from one of our family’s most oft-quoted movies “Elf.” Cause we are high-brow like that. 🙂 Actually the line by Will Ferrell is, “I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite!” Well, that’s how I feel about staining….it’s my favorite.

Here’s a little staining tutorial for ya.

I started with this table that was found at the best garage sale ever! It was cute and had possibility for sure but not a likely candidate for staining, or so I thought. After I posted my garage sale find, I immediately had a taker for this table. She wanted the top stained.  Who am I to argue?

The first step was to sand the top town. I didn’t worry about the rest because I was going to spray it with Kilz Primer. I did give the rest a light sanding. On the top, I used my Mouse sander and 120 grit paper.  I hardly ever use really rough grit paper because I’d rather use a little more elbow grease with a lower grit than use too high a grit and be too destructive.

I was actually surprised to find such a pretty grain underneath. Things are looking up! After sanding and cleaning, I taped/papered off the top so I could prime.

Next step, spray with Kilz primer. After the Kilz dries, be SURE to sand the whole piece down with a fine grit sanding sponge! Kilz leaves a rough residue behind that will keep your piece from having a smooth finish.  After sanding, wipe down with a damp cloth.

Now you are ready to paint! I chose Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Gray (sample pot) and painted the bottom part (with the top still taped off).

Once dry, I pulled the paper/tape off of the top.  Here comes the fun part! Apply MinWax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. Apply it with a rag and it just soaks into the wood.

Now it’s time to stain. These stain applicator pads give great coverage. The best part is, they are lint-free.  I don’t care if cloths say lint free on the box…they never are!

Dip the center of the pad into the stain. Rub the stain along with the grain of the wood.  Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then wipe off the excess with a soft, dry cloth.

Lastly, I added a drop pull to the drawer and distressed the legs a bit.

And here she is:

That’s what I’m talkin bout.  One last look at the before & after…

Staining is most definitely my favorite!!!

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The Lettered Cottage
18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great tutorial! I have an old piece I picked up at auction… Maybe I’ll get brave enough to tackle it.

    October 21, 2010
  2. VERY nice! I learned three things from your post…
    1. sanding SPONGE… never used one but I can see how they’d be very handy when I’m redoing furniture pieces.
    2. Pre-stain wood conditioner… no idea they made such a thing.
    3. Those neat little lint free stain applicator pads.
    Thank you for sharing all this!!! The Lord is using so many great people to encourage me along the way as I start my own little business.

    October 21, 2010
  3. I actually meant the table turned out “VERY nice!”. The fact I learned a few things was just a cool bonus. 😀

    October 21, 2010
  4. WOW! you did a fantastic job on this piece- it looks totally new. i love the new hardware! i am actually going to be redoing a little dresser in mny house and bought those knobs for it. thanks for sharing at my party! you always have such beautiful pieces!

    October 21, 2010
  5. Gloria #

    I noticed you use a damp rag to wipe down after sanding. Have you tried using a tack rag? This leaves a surface dust and lint free and immediately ready to stain or paint without waiting for the moisture to evaporate.

    October 21, 2010
    • Cool, Gloria. I haven’t heard of that before. Thanks for the tip! I will try to find some to use on my next project!

      October 21, 2010
  6. I love this little table. So cute and updated! Great job!

    October 22, 2010
  7. Your table turned out absolutely gorgeous! Great tip to use the wood conditioner before staining. Thanks!

    October 22, 2010
  8. Super adorable! Thanks for the tips!

    October 22, 2010
  9. Wow! I can’t believe that’s the same table. I have a little table that I want to try staining. Thanks so much for sharing this great tutorial!

    October 22, 2010
  10. What a wonderful transformation! The table is darling; love it! I also did a table makeover and I hope you will stop by and take a peek. I guess we’re both Canadian bloggers. Nice to ‘meet’ you!


    October 22, 2010
  11. I love this little table it turned out fabulous! I am so afriad of staining! Give me a paint brush any day.

    October 22, 2010
  12. Love the long graceful legs! Your cute little table is so pretty. The stained top and distressing are the perfect touches.

    October 23, 2010
  13. OMG! You’d never know it’s the same table!

    Thanks so much for telling us what grit sandpaper. I know – basic, huh? Well, not to me. I abhor sanding and never know what grit to use. It’s secretly one of my many excuses not to refinish furniture. After seeing your table, I might have to actually do something now!

    Would love for you to drop by this weekend and link up to Passion for Paint.

    October 23, 2010
  14. I just love this and I love your blog/website…you have definiteky inspired me to start looking for some junk pieces…thank you….x

    October 23, 2010
  15. Carol Samsel #

    Why is it I can never find really cool pieces like that at an afordable price? I love it and what you did with it.

    October 24, 2010
  16. Love, love the table! I just saw the wood conditioner for the first time yesterday at the Home Depot and I was curious. I’m glad you posted on the staining!

    October 24, 2010
  17. C. Hart #


    October 27, 2010

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