Staining 101

Hey there, all you skilled wood-staining Creators! Or maybe you’re a wood-staining expert wanna-be? Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newbie when it comes to staining wood, we’re here to share a few tips to make sure your project turns out great every time.

1. Prep your surface

Stain should always be applied to a bare, smooth wood surface. Any previous coatings should be removed and a smooth surface created to ensure a nice, even color is achieved. For the smoothest surface, always sand in the direction of the wood grain. Start with an 80 grit sandpaper, then progress to 120, 180 and finish with a 220 grit sandpaper. Make sure to remove all dust before moving on to the next step!

2. Apply stain liberally

Using a lint-free cloth, wipe in the direction of the wood stain and apply a liberal amount of stain across your project surface. Allow the stain to penetrate the wood for about 2-3 minutes before wiping away excess.

3. Wipe off excess

The removal of excess stain is essential to proper topcoat adhesion so be extra mindful to wipe away excess stain. Just as you do when you apply stain, always wipe in the same direction as the wood grain.

4. Dry thoroughly

With our Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, your stain will be dry to the touch in just one hour and ready for the topcoat of your choice! If you live in a humid climate you may need to allow for a little extra dry time, just make sure your project surface isn’t tacky before you apply a topcoat.

5. Add a top coat

Applying a polyurethane top coat such as Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane, allows projects to be completed with just one coat and to have long-lasting durability through the wear and tear of life.

If you’ve used wood stain before, or if you haven’t tried it yet, we’ve got your back. These simple tips will get you through your project in no time and with perfection.

Interested in trying out some of our Varathane stain?

We’re looking for 24 community members to participate in our “Sign Me Up Mini Challenge!” Our volunteers will each receive a can of Varathane Fast Dry Wood Stain and our Classic stain in identical colors, along with 2 wooden signs and cotton rags to use for staining.

We want each person to stain one sign with the Classic stain and the other with the Fast Dry stain and then continue on making the sign your own. You can make them holiday related, paint on a word or photo, just be creative with your stained sign.  We’ll be looking for final submissions by November 5th so that the rest of the community can help us select a winner, so make sure your DIY calendar isn’t too full to allow you to participate.

If you’re as excited about this Mini Challenge as we are, fill out the shipping survey linked here!