Let's get a refresher of the before and after, shall we?
Much, much better, right? In fact, I've already started doing our kitchen cabinets the same way! Can't wait to share that once it's all finished!
To do this project I used the following:
A sock (you could use a rag, but a sock is just so much easier & you have more control)
A foam brush (harder foam rather than soft, to get in the corners / grooves of the cabinets)
A foam paint roller
Sanding block & fine sand paper (and/or an angled block for grooves)
Blue painters tape (to protect the walls)
Some brown kraft paper & masking tape (to tape off an area on the floor)
Rag / water (to wipe dust after sanding / before staining)
General Finishes "Java" Gel Stain
General Finishes Satin Poly Top Coat
|General Finishes stain - I highly, highly recommend it for this project. The lid picture on the left? Yeah that was enough stain to do the first coat on about 75% of the vanity makeover! It goes a LONG way!|
Step 1: Clean your cabinets.
Be sure to get any grease, gunk, etc. off your cabinets before staining. If a rag & water isn't enough, try using any spray cleaner that's meant for wood.
Step 2: Protect your area.
I used some brown kraft paper and masking tape to protect the floors around the cabinets themselves and some blue painters tape to protect the walls (especially since they were just painted!). Pretty self explanatory, although I did get a few marks on the walls myself! (Good thing we had paint left over!) I also set up an area in the garage with a tarp to lay the cabinet doors and drawers on which gave me some more space to work and lay everything out to dry.
|Area to stain|
Step 3: Lightly sand everything.
This is easy to over-do. You'll notice your cabinets will probably have a slight shine to them; this step is simply getting that shine off and getting down to the wood. Don't over sand, just about a minute per door, drawer, etc. using a fine grit sandpaper is plenty. Be sure to get into the grooves and corners as best you can. The side of our vanity was not real wood, but we treated it like it was and everything turned out just fine!
|Lightly sand, as you'll see the grain of the wood is still fully intact.|
Put your glove on, then put the sock over the glove. I recommend also putting a glove on your non-dominant hand because I found myself not thinking about what I was doing and using my other hand to grab things, flip things, touch the foam brush that I used with the hand with stain on it, etc. I washed my hand when it had stain on it, and it all came over very simply, so if you don't mind a little stain for a while, then it's no big deal.
|Pro tip: use your husband's / boyfriend's / brother's sock instead of you own. Who wants to waste their own sock?|
Super simple: just take your wannabe sock puppet, dip it into the stain (or swipe it off the lid for the first few applications) and wipe it onto the wood. I found the best way to do this on the doors was to first use the foam brush to get stain in all the grooves / corners, and then spread that out with the brush as best you can to avoid it being goopy in the corners, then just use your sock to wipe it the excess onto the wood, as if you had meant to get the goopiness there in the first place.
|Wipe stain on, super easy!|
|Foam roller 3rd coat. I should also mention I switched to a 4" foam roller for when I did the kitchen.. simply because it had interchangeable roller covers and this little guy did not.|
I would say step 6 is "get paranoid because after the first coat the doors look streaky and terrible"... but that feeling goes away. Let the first coat dry for a minimum of 12 hours, the second coat for a minimum of 24 hours, and the third / final coat for about three to five days. Yes, for you impatient people, that long! It was super hard to wait for them to be finished, but the last thing you want is to put the top coat on too early and have all your hard work go out the window.
Step 7: Top coat.
Put on 2 coats of the satin gel poly top coat (letting dry in between coats as directed on can) and you're finished! Just add hardware if you're using any and enjoy your new cabinets!
|Finished product! Love the vanity makeover with the gel stain!|
|Looks a little dark in these photos, it's not black, it's a deep espresso brown. And I'm in love with it.|