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DIY Staining: Kitchen Cabinets

Hand staining a wooden board.Are you tired of the colors in your kitchen and want to update the room? New countertops alone will help tremendously in updating the look of your kitchen. If it’s not in the budget to add new cabinets as well, consider reworking your wood kitchen cabinets by choosing a new stain. The whole kitchen will feel fresh and inviting and you’ll have something different to look at when you’re making meals or doing projects.

First, remove all of the cabinet doors and hardware (make sure all of the handles, knobs, screws, and hinges get put somewhere safe), and then empty the cabinets. Clean the doors and cabinets thoroughly; any grease or grime left behind will keep the stain from setting properly. Clean the hardware, too. The metal will shine and sparkle, complementing the wood

Determine if the cabinets have ever had paint on them. If so, they’ll need to be stripped of the previous materials. See if the hardware needs paint removed as well; you can do this with hot water and laundry detergent. If there is no paint and just a finish, skip the chemical stripper and go straight to sanding.

Using a vibrating or orbital sander, sand the finish off of the doors and cabinets. Generally you’ll use a coarse to medium grit (40-60) sandpaper for the first round of sanding. The second time, use an 80-grit sandpaper. Remember to always wear eye protection and a mask, as the wood and stain particles can irritate your lungs. Wipe down the cabinets and doors with a damp cloth to remove any sawdust and other particles. Staining over the dust will make the wood feel rough and affect the shine.

You’re now ready to apply the stain. For a quick stain application, find a product that has the color you like and doubles as a sealer; this will cut down on time. Start off with one coat, beginning in a top corner of the door or cabinet and working your way down. Don’t let the stain puddle for too long in one place, or you’ll get a spot that is darker than the rest. Follow the product instructions about time between coats, and make sure that you wait until the stain is completely dry before adding more. Two or three coats should be enough, depending on how dark you want the wood to look. After everything is dry, you can reinstall the cabinet doors using the hardware that you set aside, and enjoy the look of your “new” kitchen.