How to Stain Wood Furniture

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Simple tutorial on how to stain wood furniture!

With all of this time off due to the quarantine we are getting a lot done! Last week we cleaned out what was the office/craft room and got to work on making it just an office. I found a picture of a desk I loved and Eric took it and made a beautiful replica!

I really hated this room before because it always seemed to just blow up. It was kind of the catch-all space and stuff got piled everywhere. Then the kids would get our their crafts and it would get even worse.

messy home office

So we cleaned out and decluttered. We reorganized the craft stuff and moved it to a new area. We took down decor and filled holes and repainted. Now it was ready for a new look and purpose!

Eric got to work on the desk and had it finished in one day. Then it was my turn to finish it for the office.

unfinished wood desk

So today I’m going to share with you how to stain wood furniture!

Staining Unfinished Wood

Make sure you have sanded down your unfinished piece and that it has a nice smooth surface to work with.

minwax products with brush on desk

Gather your supplies! You’re going to need:

#0000 Steel wool or light sandpaper
High-quality stain brush
Mineral Spirits (for cleaning your brush)

Why Pre-stain?

Start by pre-staining your piece. YOU DO NOT WANT TO SKIP THIS. Pre-staining is necessary when staining unfinished wood so that your stain goes on evenly. Otherwise your finish may be splotchy.

Allow the pre-stain to soak in for 5-10 minutes and then wipe excess off with a lint-free cloth.

woman brushing on wood

Stain Your Piece

You need to stain your piece within two hours of pre-staining. For our table I chose Minwax Stain in Driftwood.

Apply your first coat of stain moving in the direction of the grain.

Allow the stain to penetrate the wood for 5-15 minutes. The longer you leave it on the darker the color will be.

stain wood furniture

Do not leave the stain on longer than the recommended time. If excess stain dries on the piece it will be sticky and hard to remove.

Wipe excess stain off. If you desire a second coat, wait 2 hours and then reapply. You do not need to sand in between coats.

Allow the piece to dry overnight. Once the piece is dry, go over it with #00 steel wool or fine sandpaper. Wipe clean.

Do I Need a Topcoat?

It is highly recommended to use a topcoat. It provides long-term protection for your furniture and prevents the finish from getting ruined by scratches, stains, water damage, and more.

For this project, I used Minwax’s Polyurethane in Satin.

Brush a thin, even coat over the entire piece. Allow 3-4 hours for dry time. Using #00 steel wool, go over the entire piece, making sure to thoroughly wipe the dust off when finished.

Apply a second coat of polyurethane. Allow to dry again for 3-4 hours before once more going over it with steel wool.

Now you have a beautifully finished piece of furniture that’s ready for your home!

stained desk

Our Farmhouse-Style Office

With the desk finished, we were ready to move in!

We laid out our new rug I purchased for this space from Well Woven and it’s beautiful! This is the second time we’ve ordered from them and can not say enough good about their rugs, prices, and customer service.

After laying the rug out, we brought the desk in. I love how it looks in this space!

desk on rug under light

We moved our yellow hutch that I shared about not too long ago in the space, as well and I love how it brings out the specks of yellow in the rug!

yellow antique hutch

This summer we plan on building a wall of shelves to go behind the desk. It will feature a rolling ladder (I’ve always wanted one of those! I can swing back and forth like Belle on Beauty and the Beast, LOL)!

I also plan on changing out the light fixture and we’ll be moving the old desk to my daughter’s room. Then this space will be complete!

farmhouse desk with chair

Thanks for taking the time to hang out with me today! I hope this post on how to stain wood furniture was helpful and as always, feel free to email or comment with any questions! Stay healthy friends!

Simple tutorial on how to stain wood furniture!


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