I’ve been stewing about my oak cabinets in two of my bathrooms for a few years. We built our home in 1987 and oak was all the rage. Not so much anymore! Oak was so much in vogue that in our guest bath, I replaced the standard towel bar, toilet paper holder and even the toilet seat with oak! So 80’s-90’s, but way, way out of style now. Follow along to learn how to stain cabinets for a new look on a small budget.
I really didn’t want to spend the money on redoing my cabinets (still trying to decide what to do in my kitchen). The oak was high quality, and in pretty good shape, other than dried out, and needing a facelift ( kinda like me).
I’d seen several posts about General Finishes Gel Stain. It seemed too good to be true – no stripping off old varnish, stain or finish. I wasn’t too worried, since most of my top coating was gone. I figured what did I have to lose. I’m so very pleased with the end result. I’m not afraid to tackle a big project, but this turned out to be easier than I thought, and just required several days of drying time between coats.
I used General Finishes Java Gel Stain. Everyone says to NOT substitute! I couldn’t find anyone in my town who carried it, so I ordered it on Amazon. 1 quart did two large bathrooms – with just a bit left over for minor touch-ups later, if needed.
To get started, Assemble all your supplies (I will link to where you can purchase them too):
- General Finishes Java Gel Stain
- Disposable gloves. They’re cheap and worth it to have a good supply you can just toss between coats.
- Several men’s white Tube Socks. That’s right – they truly work the best, as I tried using some staining rags and the socks worked better. A few 1 1/2″ foam brushes for corners and crevices.
- Blue Painters tape for protecting walls, floors and inside cabinet shelves.
- A quart (you’ll have lots left over) of Minwax Polycrylic water based Protective Finish for your final top-coat finish. I used clear satin. You can probably using any type of clear poly top-coat for your finish.