Staining Chair Legs With Gel Stain

When I bought my new chair (see here for last weeks post and here for all the details), I knew those legs needed some help. There was no way I was leaving them the way they were. Unfortunately they’re not real wood, so a normal sanding job and stain just wasn’t going to do the trick. That’s when I decided to turn to a new product that I had never used before; gel stain.

gelstain_blissfulbee

From what I understand, gel stain doesn’t soak into the wood like normal stain does. In fact, it sits on top of the surface instead. And since these legs weren’t made of real wood, this was the exact product I needed!

TufftedChair_beforeafter

I used Minwax Gel Stain from Lowes. This is what the product looks like if you’re out looking for it:

gelstain

It only comes in one color (or at least the one from my local Lowes) because the more you apply, the darker it gets. I actually had never used gel stain before and learned a few lessons during my first experience. When I put my first coat on, I made the mistake of thinking a simple shake of the can would mix up the stain. After a good shake, I opened up the can and assumed it was mixed. WELL. Gel stain is very thick (which I didn’t know) and it turns out that for the 1st two coats, I was just using the unmixed stain that was sitting on top of the actual gel stain. So just to warn you guys, MIX WELL. After I realized my mistake, I mixed the REAL stain for a few minutes using a paint stirrer. It was still a little… “goopy”, but it was good enough.

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I first roughed up the legs using a sanding block. Since it wasn’t real wood, this didn’t do much other than get rid of any shine the legs had.

TufftedChairProcess3

I then taped off the fabric areas with masking tape and began staining.

TufftedChairProcess4

Once I had the stain properly mixed, all I had to do was apply one coat of the gel stain. It was rather thick and totally different than I expected. I used a brush to apply the stain and wiped off any extra stain after about a minute of it sitting there. As you can see, by wiping off the additional stain using a brush, it added a streaking effect to the legs. I really loved this because I wanted the legs to look like real wood and this effect helped in that regard.

TufftedChairProcess5

The can said to wait 8-10 hours for it to dry, which I found absurd. I thought there was no way it would actually take that long to dry. Well…. another lesson learned. It actually took a few days to dry. Wow, right?? Technically they dried after about 8 hours, but they remained REALLY sticky for dayysssss. I was worried, but after about the 3rd day, they were totally normal and not sticky at all. It will also look really shiny before it’s all the way dry. Don’t worry, the shine calms down once it dries.

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And here she is after she’s all done!

TufftedChair_final2

TufftedChairProcess6

TufftedChair_beforeafter

And if you missed Tuesday’s post, here is where I placed her:

TufftedChair_final

TufftedChair_final3

TufftedChair_final4

So what do you guys think?? Will y’all attempt using gel stain for any of your upcoming projects??

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The Blissful Bee

About The Blissful Bee

Thank you for stopping by The Blissful Bee! I'm Amy and I'm the writer and designer behind the blog. I have a passion for interior design, fashion and simply living a stylish life. I hope you enjoy your "stay"!

8 thoughts on “Staining Chair Legs With Gel Stain

  1. Looks awesome! I used a different brand (General Finished) gel stain to upgrade my builder basic oak bathroom vanity. I’m not sure if the brand I used would work on veneers, but I loved using it and the results were amazing. If I may offer a tip or two… use a sponge or soft rag (like a men’s sock) rather than a brush for application. It will give more of a uniform look, and the thick texture of the gel is much easier to deal with. Second, Gel stain doesn’t need wiped off like normal stain. Just smooth it on and let it dry. For a long time. Like a whole day. Whatever you do, don’t try to “touch up” a few minutes later. It will streak and make you crazy. Wait until the application is fully dry before going over it again.

  2. Thank so much Amy! After seeing your post I used Minwax Polyshades on the legs of my new sette and even though they’re not completely dry yet they already look amazing! I went with the brush “streaking effect” as well. Very easy process! Can’t wait until they’re completely dry!!! 🙂

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