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How To Stain Wood Furniture Without Stripping – Easy Steps and Video

Using Gel Stain, you can stain wood furniture darker without stripping the old stain AND without sanding the old finish off. It’s EASY!

Stain Wood Furniture Without Stripping or Sanding

Every DIYer should know how to stain wood furniture without stripping or sanding off the old stain. It makes furniture makeovers SO MUCH EASIER.

Furniture takes a beating over the years. The stain finish can get worn down, dinged, scratched and chipped over the years. But, you can give stained furniture a quick refresh in just one day.

Before and after images of wood furniture darkened with stain. Text says " Easy DIY To Stain Wood Furniture Without Stripping or Sanding".

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Using most gel stains, you can darken wood stain, or stay the same color, without removing the old stain. I usually use General Finishes Gel Stain because the finish always looks beautiful.

AND, if you have that old orange tinted stain on any furniture, doors, stair railing, or any wood in your home, you can use these exact steps to cover that orange wood look with a darker wood stain.

Before and after images of wood furniture darkened with stain.

Now, let’s get to the steps to Stain Furniture Without Stripping or Sanding Off the old finish.

Darken Wood Stain Without Sanding or Stripping – Video

Seeing someone do something always helps me understand the DIY better. Watch this 3-minute video for a better look at each of the written steps.

How to Stain Wood Furniture Without Stripping - Using General Finishes Java Gel Stain

Here’s What You’ll Need

Before getting started with the makeover.

Steps To Gel Stain Wood Furniture Darker

Please Note: You can also see the steps to stain wood furniture without stripping or sanding in the video above.

These steps are only for previously stained wood – painted and bare wood would have a few different steps. Always follow safety directions on any product you use.

If you want to stain bare wood a deep rich brown stain color, check out my Steps to Stain Wood post. Those steps will work on any bare wood.

Easy DIY Steps to Stain Wood Furniture Without Stripping the Old Stain. I'm using General Finishes Java Gel Stain for this makeover.
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Step One

Use a little dawn and warm water or TSP to clean your furniture.

Step Two

If you’re old finish is smooth enough for you to leave it alone, then lightly sand with a fine grit sanding block. That will rough up the old finish enough for the new finish to bond to it.

If the old finish is rough to the touch, chipped, or uneven, then start by sanding it smooth with a medium grit sanding block. You don’t need to completely sand off the old finish, just sand it smooth.

Then lightly sand the entire surface with a fine grit sanding block. That will rough up the old finish enough for the new finish to bond to it.

Step Three

Apply Gel Stain with a foam brush. Apply a light even coat. Gel Stain can be gummy and not dry completely if applied too thick.

Always follow directions on the container for dry time and safety. I used 2 coats to cover the original stain.

Step Four

Seal and protect with 6 coats of Matte Finish Wipe On Poly. Or, if you prefer thicker, water-based brush on poly, you could use 2 or 3 coats of General Finishes High Performance Top Coat.

Furniture takes a beating over the years. Luckily, there's a pretty quick and easy fix. Here's how to stain wood furniture without stripping. Yay!
These stools are looking new again, in just a weekend. Yay!

That’s it! Easy, right? It just takes a little time to get this beautiful stained wood look on your furniture. 🙂

More Pictures Of This Dark Gel Stain Finish

Easy DIY Steps to Stain Wood Furniture Without Stripping the Old Stain. I'm using General Finishes Java Gel Stain for this makeover.
That dark gel stain matches our kitchen island nicely. It’s available in 15 colors, so you can pick the one that matches your room. 🙂
Easy DIY Steps to Stain Wood Furniture Without Stripping the Old Stain. I'm using General Finishes Java Gel Stain for this makeover.
You can see before and after pictures from our kitchen makeover here. This room used to have a lot of orange tile, guys.
Easy DIY Steps to Stain Wood Furniture Without Stripping the Old Stain. I'm using General Finishes Java Gel Stain for this makeover.

Looking for more of my DIY Furniture Makeover videos? You can see them here, on my YouTube channel. 🙂

More DIY’s For You

Here’s the 5 Best Ways to Remove Dried Citristrip on Furniture and Wood.

And, you might also like this DIY for Stripping Paint from Wood Furniture With Citristrip.

Or, this post on how to Get a Smooth Finish with Chalk Paint – Easy Steps & Video.

Here’s another distressed furniture painting project you might like, here’s the steps for the DIY White and Grey Distressed Paint Finish I used on my DIY Pedestal Dining Table.

Here's how I get the perfect layered paint and distressed paint finish with chalk paint on furniture. East how to distress paint steps and video to help you do it too! DIY White and Grey Distressed Furniture Look #PaintTips #Painting #Crafts #DIYCrafts #ChalkPaint

Or, check out this classic Dark Blue with Dark Wax Cabinet Makeover.

DIY Napoleonic Blue Bathroom Vanity Makeover with dark wax and pretty chrome knobs. #AbbottsAtHome #BathroomIdeas #BathroomDesign #BathroomCabinets #AnnieSloan

You can also find this popular Blue Distressed Paint Using Vaseline Tutorial and a beautiful DIY Weathered Paint Effect Tutorial, on this blog.


Feeling inspired? Now that you’ve seen this Stain Wood Furniture Without Stripping tutorial, you can do it too. Let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.

Meegan

Thursday 27th of February 2020

Thanks for sharing this. I have a thrifted table that I have been needed to refinish, so this is great timing.

Stephanie

Friday 28th of February 2020

Thanks, Meegan. So glad I could help!

Marty Walden

Wednesday 19th of February 2020

What a great transformation! I'm all for doing it in as few steps as possible!

Stephanie

Thursday 20th of February 2020

Thanks so much, Marty! Me too. :)

Jenny

Wednesday 19th of February 2020

Your stools look amazing and those are great tips for not having to strip stuff.

Stephanie

Thursday 20th of February 2020

Thanks, Jenny!

Sherry Denise Cole

Sunday 16th of February 2020

I hate to strip furniture so this tutorial is perfect for me! The stools look great.

Stephanie

Sunday 16th of February 2020

Me too! Thanks so much, Sherry!

Lia White

Sunday 16th of February 2020

Great project! I hate stripping furniture so Ill definitely be saving this technique!

Stephanie

Sunday 16th of February 2020

Thanks so much, Lia!

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