Home Improvement: How to Give Oak Cabinets and Furniture an $8.99 Face-lift without Paint

When I completed our basement overhaul (click here for the full reveal), I had two pieces of oak that needed a face lift but I didn’t want to tackle painting either one because of time and (let’s be honest) a lack of patience.

So I started searching for options other than painting.

before gel

After lots of reading and researching I settled on this product by General Finishes. It is recommended for wood that has already been stained.

Very light sanding or just a good cleaning is all the prep that is required before applying it.

And it had rave reviews all over pinterest.

Java Gel Stain, 1/2 Pint

Honestly, I didn’t really believe all the hype, but it totally works.

I have read terrible reviews on other brands of gel stain so be aware of the brand that you choose.

I loved the gel consistency, aka no stain drips anywhere.

Both of the pieces that I stained required three coats, but the results are amazing. It completely refreshed and updated previously light colored wood without stripping the old stain off.

basement 4

gel after

I purchased 1/2 pint for $8.99 and even after completing the vanity and the media unit I still have 1/4 can remaining.

Honestly, this is one of the easiest furniture makeovers I have ever done.

Each layer of stain only took about 20 minutes to apply, with a 24 hour drying time in between. I just followed the directions from the General Finishes website.

I am going to apply some kind of sealant to the stain eventually, but it will probably be the same furniture wax (click here for a tutorial by Barb Blair) I used on my painted  chest of drawers seen below↓.

Antique Painted Dresser in our Sun Room

What do you think? Would you try it on some outdated oak furniture?

before after gel



About these ads

10 thoughts on “Home Improvement: How to Give Oak Cabinets and Furniture an $8.99 Face-lift without Paint

  1. Did you do this on your kitchen cabinets? I have old maple cabinets – from the 50’s. I have been wanting to paint them – but maybe this would be easier. Do they any light stains? Did you take off all your cabinet doors?
    This is Genie Yearick McCorkle. I love your blog! Use a lot of your recipes!

    1. Hi Genie, this was one bathroom cabinet but I know it would work on kitchen cabinets. They have like 5 colors of stain. And I did take all the cabinet doors off because I didn’t want to get stain on the hinges. I will say I did the whole project by myself so it’s not that hard :) If you go to the general finishes website and select the gel stain you can see all the colors they offer.

    1. WAY WAY easier than painting. It takes a little while to get used to it. And at first it looks streaky but by the second and third coat it evens out. Read the reviews on amazon. A lot of people had great tips.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s