How to Stain Cabinets

Staining can be intimidating to people sometimes because it can be tricky. So we’re going to give you a little demonstration on how to stain cabinets!

What You Need to Stain Cabinets

  • Lint-free cotton rag
  • Tack cloth
  • Rubber gloves

First of all, you will need cotton rags, pretty much any lint-free rags are what you want to have. 

You will also need tack cloth. You can get it at the hardware store, and it’s a very sticky type of cloth. You should have by your side when staining because whenever you’re going to stain wood or put finish on wood, you want to get all of the dust off of it.

You’ll also need rubber gloves, to keep the junk off of your hands. 

Different types of wood can take stains very different ways, and we show the differences in the video above. For example, oak and birch react differently to stains, so you should be aware of that before starting to stain. 

1. Tack cloth off the wood

Take a piece of oak and tack cloth it off after it’s been properly sanded. Oak should be sanded to 120 grit, but maple and birch should be sanded to 180 grit. 

2. Stir up the stain

Get your stain out and have a stir stick available to use. Use you stir stick and make sure that you get the sediment that’s on the bottom of the stain. Stir it up very nicely. 

3. Stain the wood

When staining, you do not need to follow the grain. In fact, you should not follow the grain. You should be wiping it all across it, getting it deep into the pores, getting that color into the wood. 

4. Let it sit

Let the stain sit. If you want it a little bit darker, you can leave it to sit a little longer, but normally it doesn’t take much time.

5. Wipe it off

Then you take a nice, dry cloth and then you wipe. You can wipe any way you want, but finish by wiping with the grain. And you get a nice smooth stain on there that shows off the details of the grain. 

When staining birch or male, sometimes it doesn’t come out quite uniform. These types of woods take stain darker and lighter in different areas of the wood. So if you’re ever staining birch or maple, what you need to do is make sure you sand this all the way up to about 180 grit, even 220.

Tip: Use a pre-stain wood conditioner

Sometimes, you need to actually then apply a pre-stain wood conditioner. It’s not necessarily on the oak, but you may want to use it on your maple, birch, or pine. It’s almost a necessity.

If it was your project and we were using birch or maple, we would make sure we had a sample board. We would take the sample board, sand it all the way to 180, see how that stain goes on at that point. Is it coming out uniform? If not, then we would use the conditioner.

With the pre-stain, you put it on and you can wipe it off in about 15 minutes. Then at that point, you have to stain.

Have a project in mind?

At Steve’s Custom Cabinets we can help you with any custom cabinet project you have in mind. Whether it’s for your kitchen, bathroom, living room, or something else entirely, we are happy to work with you. 

We’ll travel to you to go over the design and style for your cabinet project. We also include installation free of charge with your project! Contact us today to get started on making your home look even better!