Staining Your Wood Re-purpose Project

Staining Your Wood Re-purpose Project: Must-Read Tips for Beginners

Wood Repurpose

So you’ve tried your hand at repurposing wooden furniture and articles for the first time and are happy with the results? Whether you took down wood pallets and turned them into something extraordinary or gave a new look to your flea market find, your efforts will go unnoticed until you give your project the finishing touch!

Staining and finishing wood the right way can do wonders for your wood repurpose project and as this is your first time, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some wood staining tips that you’ll find useful.

Know Your Stains

You’ve probably heard about oil-based and water-based stains. But the base and color of a stain isn’t all that you have to think about when selecting one for your project! Here is some information on types of stains.

  • Surface Stains: These fast-drying water-based stains do not penetrate deeper than the first layer of wood cells. They are great for use on wood trims, frames, and logs, and spindles, railings, and wood-sided homes.
  • Shallow Penetrating Stains: Oil-based stains, alkyd dispersion stains, and water-oil emulsions penetrate up to four layers deep and offer good water-repellency. Quality brands will offer superior longevity and will wear evenly if applied correctly.
  • Deep Penetrating Stains: These are oil-based and penetrate about ½” deep into the wood. These stains don’t tend to flake like the others as there is no surface film created during or after application. However, they do leave behind an oily residue.

And Choose the Right One

Choosing the right stain for your wood project is important if you want finished article or furniture to make an impact. Choosing stains is not just about picking a color you like from the color chart – a light brown stain might look pinkish if you use it on redwood! So be sure to test the stain on a sample pallet or inconspicuous area before applying it all over your repurposed project.

You’ll also have to ensure that the stain you choose is compatible with the wood and other finishing products. A stain that is compatible with wood preservatives, sealants, and top finish will allow greater bonding and keep the finished project intact for years to come.

Prepare the Wood

Preparing the wood before staining it will ensure proper application and a long-lasting stain. Keep these pointers in mind while preparing the wood for staining.

  • While old items may have varnish that has worn off completely or in places, newly purchased items like wood hangers may come with a top coat. If you’re planning to stain them a dark brown to create contrast with your all-white closet, you’ll need to sand them first as varnish can prevent the stain from setting properly. Remember to sand with the grain so as to not scratch the surface.
  • Use a tack cloth to remove dust as you sand the wood. If the dust settles in the pores, it can lead to your stain looking uneven and blotchy. Apply a wood conditioner to help the wood absorb stain evenly.
  • Make sure that the wood is completely dry before you begin staining it. Applying stain on humid wood will cause it to flake off. Also avoid staining on humid days.

While Staining

  • Use a light coat first so that you don’t end up staining heavily. If the stain is too light, you can always go for a second coat.
  • Stain that has been sedentary for too long can become thick and lead to uneven application. Keep a compatible thinner handy to reduce viscosity and ensure a smooth application.

Finish with a Top Coat

Wood stains can give your project a rich, deep color and also highlight the grain of wood. But stains can’t provide long-term protection to your wood repurpose project! Once you achieve desired stain, apply a clear top coat to protect the wood from water damage, scratches, and stains.

There are several finishing options to choose from and depending on what you choose, you can get varied results. Polyurethane is most commonly used as a top coat owing to its durability.


Wood has long been used for repurpose projects and is a favorite with DIYers around the world. Working with wood certainly requires some special skills, so if you’re a first-timer, learning the basics before you begin will certainly be helpful.

There’s a lot to this art that includes cutting, sanding, polishing, and more. While staining and finishing projects seems like an easy job, you now know that there are several things to consider before you buy a stain and get on with staining wood.

With the tips given here, you will certainly be able to go about staining your wood repurpose project the right way. So plan well and get on with the staining!

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