A simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to stain wood

About a month or so ago I was wandering around one of my favorite home decor stores (The Wood Connection) and I saw a cute shadow box with the patriotic decor that had been stained.  The result was a more antique look to the wood since you could see the grain.  Now, up to this point, I’d never stained anything.  Paint is my go-to and wood stain was totally foreign to me.  I decided it was time to add it to my skill set and took it up to the front to pay for it, along with the shadow box.  I talked to the ladies up front and got a couple of tips and went on my way.

As I pulled out my supplies I went through a mental checklist of the things I needed:

  • sandpaper
  • wood stain
  • paintbrush
  • old t-shirt or rag
A simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to stain wood

The first step is to prep your wood by sanding it.  The instructions on the can of stain say to use fine-grade sandpaper (#220), but I only had #150 so I used that.  The wood was already pretty smooth with the exception of one edge.  Then I used a baby wipe to wipe off the excess wood dust.

Next, I popped open the can of stain.  (I used Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain in Provincial 211.)  I dipped my paintbrush in the stain and applied it to the shadow box in the direction of the wood grain, trying to get an even coat.

A simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to stain wood

After I finished applying the stain, I let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.  Then I took an old t-shirt and started wiping the excess stain off.  Then I let it dry outside for an hour or so.  (It was too stinky to keep inside.)

A simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to stain wood

When I brought it in, I finished it off with some scrapbook paper on the bottom and a wood cutout of the United States that I had mod podged while the stain was drying.

A simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to stain wood

A simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to stain wood
See that grain?  So pretty!

Now that I’ve stained wood, I don’t know what was keeping me from doing it in the first place!  It was so easy and the result is exactly what I was looking for.  (If you’re nervous about it, just start with something simple like a shadow box or a wood block.)

Do you have any tips for staining wood?

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