Staining Oak Cabinets an Espresso Color {DIY Tutorial}

Hi there! Welcome to my most popular post ever. I’ve since sold and moved from this home, but I wanted to update this post and state that the cabinets were in fabulous shape even four years after this post when we sold our home. We now live in a new home, and I hope you come check out my foyer, living room, dining space, office and our white kitchen (yup, after all this, I chose a white kitchen when we built our home!)

I also want to add that YOU CAN DO THIS. Happy staining!

Transforming builder grade honey oak cabinets into sultry, dark espresso cabinets is easy. It’s messy though. I’m going to walk you through it step by step as much as I can in this tutorial.

DIY java espresso gel stain cabinets oak

Alright, let’s do this. You need some supplies first. They’re not pricey, but you do need all of them. The most important thing is that you must buy this specific stain— everything else you can substitute as needed.

The best, most detailed tutorial for staining lighter cabinets a darker color. She uses espresso/java stain, but any darker stain works. Monica still replies to emails if you need help during your project!


Sanding block (I bought an angled one for about $4 from my local hardware store. The angled sanding block helps when if you have beveled cabinets/doors/drawers.)

Deglosser if you have very greasy cabinets, if not some lysol wipes (or a sponge with soap/water or TSP)


-Masking tape AND painter’s tape (you could just use painter’s tape, I use masking tape because it’s cheap at Dollar Tree…so in other words, painter’s tape is expensive, so I only use it when I absolutely have to)

-A quart of java gel stain (if you’re doing a kitchen) or a pint of gel stain if it’s for a vanity or smaller project.

Satin Poly/topcoat or you can go with semi-gloss if you want more sheen.

-Ziploc baggy to keep track of all the hardware + screws + hinges.

-Screwdriver to take off hardware/hinges.

Tack cloth (several)

-Men’s sock or foam brushes (several brushes in various sizes works best)


-Postal wrapping paper or drop cloths or tarp to protect floors. I bought the postal wrapping paper at Dollar Tree and it was so easy to cover up my floor.

Painters pyramids to use on cabinet doors so you can paint both sides at once

Total cost for all of the materials should be between $50-$100ish.


There’s now a FAQ post about this very tutorial below. 

You can read it here

Here’s what my vanity looked like before I got started.

The best, most detailed tutorial for staining lighter cabinets a darker color. She uses espresso/java stain, but any darker stain works. Monica still replies to emails if you need help during your project!

Step 1: Remove all hardware and put it in a ziploc baggy. 

Simple enough. 

Step 2: Prep your area.

This is probably the least fun step, but you must protect your floors, counters, walls, tiles, or any area that may get stain on it. And trust me, this stuff is oil based,  so it stains easily and quickly. Makes it great for cabinets, not great for anything else. Prep now to avoid lots of messy clean-up later. I used painters tape for walls/counters/inside of cabinets and I used masking tape to tape my paper down onto the floor.

The best, most detailed tutorial for staining lighter cabinets a darker color. She uses espresso/java stain, but any darker stain works. Monica still replies to emails if you need help during your project!

Step 3: Clean all cabinet frames/drawers/doors and remove them.

I used the Lysol dual action wipes because one side is scrubby and the other side is smooth. Basically you want to make sure to get any grime, dust, gooey stuff, dirt, etc. off the cabinets.

Now, my vanity is obviously in a bathroom, so this step was quick and easy for me. If you have greasy/grimy kitchen cabinets, I’d recommend a deglosser or TSP. nce you’re done cleaning, make sure they’re dry and go ahead and remove all the drawers and doors. I stained my drawers/doors in the garage, so I moved all of that over there.

The best, most detailed tutorial for staining lighter cabinets a darker color. She uses espresso/java stain, but any darker stain works. Monica still replies to emails if you need help during your project!

Step 4: Lightly sand cabinets and remove dust with a tack cloth.

You should not spend a ton of time sanding. I would say 1 minute per door and 30 seconds per drawer. You’re just wanting to break up some of the shine on cabinets, not completely strip them. I used an angled sanding block with a fine (not medium or coarse) finish to get in the bevels. Once you sand, make sure to thoroughly wipe off all dust with a tack cloth. Do this twice. 

The best, most detailed tutorial for staining lighter cabinets a darker color. She uses espresso/java stain, but any darker stain works. Monica still replies to emails if you need help during your project!

Step 5: Stain. Dry. Stain. Dry. Stain. Dry. Dry. Dry. Poly. Dry. Poly. Dry. Dry. Dry.

This step doesn’t have many pictures because I had to use one hand to stain and another to make sure I wasn’t getting gel stain all over the place…but bear with me.

You’ll put on a vinyl glove. I put it on my right hand since I am right handed. Then put your men’s sock over it. Why does it have to be a men’s sock? Well, generally men’s socks are white and tend to be LONG,  so it’ll protect your entire forearm from gel stain. The glove is meant to protect your hands from being stained an espresso color. You’ll leave your other hand free to wipe off any globs or stain that you might get in places you don’t want them.

I’ve read reports where people used a foam brush to apply the stain, but I prefer the sock method. Do whatever makes you happy. 🙂 Now, I did use the foam brush to get in tight places like near the counters or in beveled corners, but for 90% of the time I used the sock method.

Now, how much stain to use? I used about 1 tbsp per drawer and 1.5-2 tbsp per door. These aren’t exact figures, so don’t go whip out your measuring spoons, but my point is use a slightly generous amount, but do not go overboard.

Also, unlike other staining methods, do not wipe it off. You want to put on a nice, thin coat. Make sure the stain doesn’t glob up on/in corners, that’s when cheesecloth/gauze is handy. Then you let coat 1 dry for 12 hours. Then you put the 2nd coat. Let it dry for 24 hours. Then put the last/third coat and let it dry for 5 days and then seal it with 2 coats of satin poly or semi-gloss poly. I personally used satin.

Drying time is so important, do not rush this step or you will end up having to put on a billion coats of stain and it will not be good. Light, thin coats + ample drying time + topcoat= fantastic results.

Your first coat may result in panic… Go have a shot of tequila and keep the faith. It will look streaky and odd and ugly. 

The best, most detailed tutorial for staining lighter cabinets a darker color. She uses espresso/java stain, but any darker stain works. Monica still replies to emails if you need help during your project!

Another shot of how ugly coat 1 looks.

The best, most detailed tutorial for staining lighter cabinets a darker color. She uses espresso/java stain, but any darker stain works. Monica still replies to emails if you need help during your project!

After 3 coats of stain + 2 coats of poly + lots of drying time, you can put on your hardware again. And you’re done! Ta-dah! For the coat of poly, follow the manufacturer’s instruction (and good judgment) for the drying time. More drying time is always better than less.

My bathroom is super narrow, so it’s hard to get a straight on pic/shot of the drawers, so here are a few…

The best tutorial on how to transform honey oak cabinets to dark espresso cabinets. Easy, detailed steps are included, plus a FAQ. The blogger even answers reader emails if you need help.

The best tutorial on how to transform honey oak cabinets to dark espresso cabinets. Easy, detailed steps are included, plus a FAQ. The blogger even answers reader emails if you need help.

The best tutorial on how to transform honey oak cabinets to dark espresso cabinets. Easy, detailed steps are included, plus a FAQ. The blogger even answers reader emails if you need help.

Now, you’ll notice the doors aren’t back on yet, and that’s because I’ve only done 1 side and need to do the other. For now, this is all I got. I’ll update with a lovely photo once I have it all done. Promise.

Some quick tips:

-Don’t over think this project. It is quite easy. 

-Please use this specific gel stain and poly. You won’t regret it- it’s truly quality stuff.

-On cabinet doors, plan on doing the front and backs. I bought some painters pyramids to prop up my doors so I can knock out both sides at one time. I bought 2 packs so I could have a multiple of 4. Each door will need 4 pyramids to be stable.

-Light coats=success

-Drying time=the longer the better

-Each drawer should take about 1-2 minutes a coat. Each door should take 3-4 minutes. Do not over apply or over wipe. Check for globs when you’re done and smooth out with pinky finger.

-Socks rock for applying stain. Socks for applying poly. Simply wipe it on.

-If you’re intimated by this project, try it on the back of a cabinet door first or buy a spare cabinet door at REStore or Goodwill.

-Touch up any streaks in the finish BEFORE applying the poly.

-You can do this! If you have a large kitchen, break it up into manageable chunks over a few weekends. 

-Parts of my vanity were laminate and not wood. Treat it as if it was wood. It’ll all work out in the end.

I hope you all found this tutorial to be useful in trying to DIY your way from honey oak cabinets into a stunning espresso finish. Please leave me any adoring comments or questions below, or you can always tweet at me (@monicabenavidez) or e-mail me at monicawantsit{@}

And for funsies! Before & After:
The best tutorial on how to transform honey oak cabinets to dark espresso cabinets. Easy, detailed steps are included, plus a FAQ. The blogger even answers reader emails if you need help.

The best tutorial on how to transform honey oak cabinets to dark espresso cabinets. Easy, detailed steps are included, plus a FAQ. The blogger even answers reader emails if you need help.


There’s now a FAQ post about this very tutorial below. 

You can read it here.


Three years later I can safely and accurately say the stain and finish still look as good as it did back in 2012. So although my way may not be the purist way 

in terms of staining, it still worked fabulously. 

You can see my many other DIY projects here!




  1. Kassi at Truly Lovely
    February 2, 2012 / 11:22 pm

    That looks great! My cabinets are already a dark color, but this is great to know just in case! Oh… and to tell all my friends. 😉

    • Dawn
      November 27, 2012 / 6:29 am

      I just found this tutorial on pinterest and I am so excited to try this on my bathroom!!! thank u!! i will send you pics of my before and after. i hope to get it done in december l.

  2. TheNextMartha
    February 3, 2012 / 12:03 am

    Looks fantastic. Really.

  3. Too Much To Do So Little Time
    February 3, 2012 / 7:14 am

    WOW, looks great. You are far braver than I.Stef at

  4. OakParkGirl
    February 3, 2012 / 3:10 pm

    Looks great! I wonder if I could use the same steps but finish with paint. Would it be different? I think you've done some refinishing with paint too right?

  5. WineRanger
    February 4, 2012 / 3:37 am

    Good Lord, woman! The planet's have guided me to you! I have a lovely home, but it was built 30 years ago and there is so so so much honey oak cabinetry. I'm getting ready to rip out the mauve-ish formica, strip the Southwest-y wallpaper and put in new sinks. I have spent many a sleepless night wondering just how hard it would be to stain my cabinets espresso. BTW both bathrooms also have the honey oak. As do the doors to all rooms, and the trim. It's a large house. Maybe I'll start with a bathroom and spend the next year on the project.

    • dee
      December 5, 2013 / 12:37 am

      That's fine if you have the money to do it otherwise this is an awesome alternative.

  6. Embellished Bayou
    February 4, 2012 / 6:09 am

    It looks amazing, Monica, you did a fabulous job! I did this in my kitchen and it has held up nicely, except in a couple of spots around the cabinet knobs that get a lot of use. For that reason I recommend buying some extra stain to have on hand over the years. I can no longer find the color of stain I used so I now I don't have any for touch-ups:( And I agree, drying/cure time is key!

  7. Rory
    February 7, 2012 / 3:52 pm

    So glad I found this today. I just started this project last night. I want to do my kitchen but decided to do a bathroom first. I am at the scary end of coat 1 Holy crap what have I done step. Glad to know the streaks and uneven-ness are part of the process. Whew! Thanks again!!

  8. Mike and Mindy Williams
    March 8, 2012 / 2:49 pm

    I just found your tutorial and it's exactly what I'm looking for! I'm sure this is an older post, so perhaps you can answer a question for me–how hardy are these. I run a crazy house with 3 little munchkins and I'm looking for something hardy–can these cabinets take a good hardy scrubbing, often? Can they hold up against a little girl who loves to put stickers on everything? And how easy is it to touch up spots when the boys take tools to the sides? Any experience with such mishaps?Thanks!

  9. Monica @
    March 8, 2012 / 3:00 pm

    Hi Mike & Mindy,I don't have kiddos, but I would say that if you need it to hold up really well, I'd definitely spend a lot of time/energy on the poly topcoat to seal it in. In a bathroom, I'd say 2-3 coats and in a kitchen, I'd say 4. The topcoat will be key to having a fab finish that is durable. Hope that helps!-Monica

  10. Monica @
    March 8, 2012 / 3:02 pm

    And re: touch-ups…it should be easy to do with a sponge brush should any finish be marred/damaged. That's the beauty of this method- it's easy to maintain should they get messed up at some point. 🙂

  11. Anonymous
    March 8, 2012 / 4:17 pm

    love the finish and am looking forward to seeing the whole cabinet redone..maureen

  12. The Fam
    March 8, 2012 / 4:42 pm

    LOVE THIS!!!! I HATE oak, and the home we just bought has nasty honey oak everywhere! I was thinking about painting white in our kitchen, but with your blog, I may just go dark! It looks lovely! Thanks for posting this at all, and an extra thanks for all the tips! 🙂

  13. Beth
    March 9, 2012 / 12:53 am

    I am sooo glad I stumbled on your blog (pinterest)! Your tutorial is just what I was needing! my husband and I are in love with deep dark cabinets and the house that we put an offer on has the nasty oak cabinets. Thank you for the step by step and price list! So inspiring and incredibly worth it!

  14. Andrea
    March 12, 2012 / 3:29 pm

    AWESOME! Totally doing this!

  15. Tiffiny Felix
    March 13, 2012 / 3:18 am

    So excited I found this! Pinterest *rocks*!! I hate my kitchen cabinets and I'm totally going to do this. I have black appliances, so I won't go so dark, but dark brown, for sure. Thank you Thank you Thank you!! *:D*

  16. Shantelle
    March 14, 2012 / 5:57 am

    Is the java gel stain that you used the antique walnut color? I just want to make sure before we try it this weekend. Thanks! [email protected]

  17. Kellie and Brandon
    March 17, 2012 / 5:28 pm

    Can I ask what method you used to apply the poly top coat? Brush, cloth or sock? Thanks!

  18. @monicabenavidez
    March 17, 2012 / 6:33 pm

    I used the JAVA gel stain and I used a men's sock for everything- no paintbrush strokes for me…they drive me nuts.Happy staining!-Monica

  19. sue derose
    March 21, 2012 / 5:49 am

    This is beautiful and i wish i would have found your blog last summer! After refinishing 2 of our bathrooms with honey oak cabinets, and unsussessful with the espresso stain color i was hoping for, i wimped out and painted our kitchen cabinets an espresso shade. I like the results, but your method is stunning. I just may give the bathrooms another shot.

  20. dearjenn
    March 25, 2012 / 3:12 pm

    So glad I found your project on Pinterest! I needed to turn a rustic natural colored pine sleigh bed into a dark cherry colored bed to match some dressers we already had. Low and behold this gel stain works wonders on already-finished furniture too! Oh yeah, and I'll be going back for the java color next weekend to start swapping out my orangish gold colored kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Thanks for the tips!!

  21. Donna
    March 28, 2012 / 7:27 pm

    OMG, this is so much easier than the using paint and not to mention prettier! Thanks so much for the tutorial, I'm going to follow your footsteps and start with my bathrooms then tackle my kitchen.

  22. swankadotklutchs
    March 29, 2012 / 5:07 pm

    Project Java Gel Stain Bathroom Vanity: Success I found it locally here in Sandy Utah at Woodcraft only place that carries it! First coat on and I am seriously giddy about how much better it looks already! The drawers super easy, used a tiny paint brush to get in to the corners/edges of the doors where my sock paw couldnt. The sock technique IS brillant! I HATE brush strokes too. I find myself walking around my house finding all things needing a shot of java expresso, thinking 'bout my blonde oak fugly barstools! Thank you SO much for the wonderful tutorial! Going to tackle the second coat now 🙂

  23. psucolleen
    April 2, 2012 / 4:13 am

    Thanks so much for the great tutorial! Quick question…. I'm a bit sensitive to strong odors. How bad are these (the stain and the topcoat)? I'm trying to gauge if I should dive in & have a major supply of migraine medication on hand or if by any chance the might be "low odor" (which I know is unlikely). Thanks again… great tutorial!

  24. R A C H A E L
    April 3, 2012 / 3:31 am

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting this. My 'test drawer' is drying as I type!! Oh happy day to see my oak cabinets gone!!

  25. Shantelle
    April 3, 2012 / 3:41 am

    I LOVE this! We are in the middle of the 5 day drying process of the 3rd coat in the master bathroom and we are loving it. How long do we wait in between each of the top coats? I'll probably do quite a few coats since I have 3 little kids running around the house. Thanks SO much for your detailed tutorial. It saved us a ton of time and money…now onto the kitchen!

  26. Vanessa
    April 8, 2012 / 3:04 am

    Thank you SO much!! We just purchased a house that has all oak cabinets!! I hate it and I'm coming from a house with dark woodwork so it was killing me. I just happened upon your post via pinterest, showed it to hubby, and now as soon as we are in, we are doing this. Do you think this would work on woodwork trim as well?? Ha! Can you tell I hate light oak?

  27. Lisa
    April 20, 2012 / 6:56 pm

    Found you through Red Hen Home, oh how I wish I would have found you sooner (long story) anyway,mthanks so much for the awesome tutorial.

  28. Breenah
    April 21, 2012 / 7:41 pm

    We're looking into buying our first home and this has me MUCH more relaxed about probably having to move into a house with light wood! Thank you!

  29. DawnVickers
    May 3, 2012 / 5:20 pm

    Monica, I already emailed you a thank you, but to let everyone else know. I've started doing this and it ROCKS!! It couldn't be easier. I had found celticmoon's tutorial before and had tried it and I never truly READ the tutorial but read the back of the can. I thought to myself "OHHH I can do this!!" not so fast missy!!.. do NOT wipe the stain off!! that's the clincher to this. Its inherent to want to WIPE the extra stain of to 'stain' the cabinets. Do NOT wipe the stain off. Once I READ Monica's tutorial and really adhered to it, my problems were solved and now I can't wait to turn my entire honey oak house into gorgeous espresso. Thank you so much!!

    • Monica @
      May 20, 2012 / 1:34 am

      You are quite welcome! 🙂

  30. super_chick311
    May 17, 2012 / 2:35 am

    please help me out!! What do you do if the wood has scratches? Do you have to fill it or does the gel fill it too? I want to stain my coffee table like this.. please help me!

    • Monica @
      May 20, 2012 / 1:34 am

      Hi! I replied to your question on my FB page! Hope that helps. 🙂

  31. Sarah Takens
    May 20, 2012 / 1:12 am

    Deep breath….and…go. I'm starting this tomorrow on my home. EEEK!!! 5 days drying time! If you say so, I will do it! How long do I go inbetween poly coats?

    • Monica @
      May 20, 2012 / 1:33 am

      Hi Sarah! I waited 24 hrs between poly coats since they're fairly thin coats. Good luck, you can do it!

  32. Justin and Jules
    May 20, 2012 / 5:09 pm

    I love this! One question though. I want to do this but have the fake wood panelling on the side of mine. Did you just put the stain on the panel? Or is your real wood? Can it be done on fake wood? Thanks!!

  33. Monica @
    May 20, 2012 / 5:25 pm

    Hi J&J,"Parts of my vanity were laminate and not wood. Treat it as if it was wood. It’ll all work out in the end."Thanks!-Monica

    • De
      August 26, 2013 / 8:43 pm

      Thank you!! I had exactly the same question!

  34. Danielle
    June 10, 2012 / 12:17 am

    Great tutorial! I may give this a go in my bathroom and see how it turns out.

  35. Nancy
    June 15, 2012 / 2:42 am

    I have all but clicked "check out" on Amazon to buy everything I need, but before I do, do you remember what grit you used for the sanding block? I don't want to use one that is too coarse/fine. I will be doing this ASAP! LOVE it!

  36. Monica @
    June 15, 2012 / 3:04 am

    @Nancy- I used a fine grit sanding block. Coarse will strip the varnish, medium will cause lots of scratches, so I went with fine grit. Hope that helps! 🙂

  37. Unknown
    June 16, 2012 / 1:21 pm

    This is awesome. I was just about to paint my cabinets in espresso but now I'm going with your method. Question: which top coat did you use and is it a satin finish? It sounded like the same brand as stain but I wasn't sure. And if there are different ones like satin or gloss finish. Thank you, you are so my people. I am a big DIY'er and watch these shows all the time. Have put in laminate floor and back splash all by myself. :)Pam

  38. Brandi Louise Dorris
    June 24, 2012 / 1:36 am

    Monica- I am looking to redo a whole kitchen and two bath vanities…do I need 2 quarts of stain + 2 quarts of the clear topcoat?

  39. Sam, Becky Trantham
    June 24, 2012 / 9:54 pm

    Love, love, love the cabinet! What a great job you did! I know now I can do it since you made it look so easy. Thank you for your written tutorial and pics….:)

  40. Carrie
    June 27, 2012 / 2:16 am

    Gorgeous! Thank you for the step by step instructions. Our kitchen cabinets are so UGLY so I think I can do this. Definitely pinning.

  41. Jessica
    June 27, 2012 / 2:22 am

    That looks amazing!

  42. Jen Jen
    June 27, 2012 / 9:41 pm

    I can't wait to do this! The stain arrived today and I bought all the supplies. I do have two questions1 did you use that bathroom (ie the shower) as you were doing this?2. Did you rescues the same sock for each coat or did you use a new sock each time?Thanks!!

  43. Floriamusica
    June 28, 2012 / 1:00 am

    Nice job!! I've been wanting to re-finish my kitchen cabinets for about 4 years now..and still have yet to do them! Your blog gives me hope. Do you think a different "color" stain would work? I'm not sure I want to do a java stain. It may be too dark for my kitchen.

  44. Katey
    June 28, 2012 / 3:04 am

    Just bought all the supplies! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I can't wait to try this. Thanks for taking the time to post this!

  45. Lisa K.
    June 28, 2012 / 7:20 am

    I just received my stain from Amazon and am excited to start staining!! Thank you so much for your tutorial and q&a!!! You have inspired me to do 2 dressers!!!Lisa K

  46. Lala
    June 28, 2012 / 6:03 pm

    What if your cabinets aren't REAL wood – think this technique would still work? I have been wanting to darken up my oak-colored cabinets since we moved into our house 5 year ago!!! I would LOVE to try this!!!!!! Thanks for all your help!

  47. Mom of 2 Cuties @ Sprinkles of Joy and Laughter
    June 29, 2012 / 3:00 am

    Looks great! You are going to be giddy when your kitchen is completed…well worth your efforts I'm sure. Thanks for sharingMaureen

  48. DonnaJo
    June 29, 2012 / 3:47 am

    As the kids say today OMG girl! I love your project & the results are Stunning! Thank you from the bottom of my essentially Scottish heart!! I can do this!! I'm jumping up & down inside with excitement!!

  49. Lauren
    June 29, 2012 / 5:36 am

    I found your blog via pintrest! I am in LOVE and can't wait to try this with my own cabinets. Just a quick question Where did you get the new hardware from? I'm loving those drawer pulls!

  50. Monica @
    June 29, 2012 / 11:39 am

    @Lauren, the pulls are from eBay. Just search for "chrome bin pulls". Usually they're about $2-$3 each. :)Thanks everyone for the awesome, sweet comments! 🙂

    • February 23, 2013 / 6:00 am

      thank you so much Monica love yoyr blog and your vanity. Love being a DIY fan too. just started my vanity tonite, and so excited! tried to emsil you some pics, but my phone said it failed 🙁

    • February 23, 2013 / 6:00 am

      thank you so much Monica love yoyr blog and your vanity. Love being a DIY fan too. just started my vanity tonite, and so excited! tried to emsil you some pics, but my phone said it failed 🙁

    • February 23, 2013 / 6:01 am

      thank you so much Monica love yoyr blog and your vanity. Love being a DIY fan too. just started my vanity tonite, and so excited! tried to emsil you some pics, but my phone said it failed 🙁

  51. Brie Holtrop
    June 29, 2012 / 1:49 pm

    Wow! These look awesome. And thanks for the detailed tutorial. I'm moving to a new place in a little over a month *yay* and something definitely needs to be done to the kitchen cabinets! You can bet I'll be referring back to your tutorial 🙂 Found you on pinterest – and I'm a new follower. I'm off to stalk you blog now and see what I've been missing :)Brie @ Breezy Pink Daisies

  52. Morissa
    June 29, 2012 / 3:27 pm

    Thanks for the step by step tutorial. I am going to give this a shot this weekend.

  53. felicia greenbaum
    June 29, 2012 / 3:56 pm

    THANK YOU for this tutorial! My house is on the market with lots of maple cabinetry and no contrasting counters or floors. If it doesn't sell soon, I'm going to try this before re-listing in the spring. Fingers crossed!

  54. ChicCrafter
    June 29, 2012 / 6:29 pm

    You did a good job here! Thank you for this tutorial, Perfect timeing to redo my bathroom this coming holiday!

  55. Chris and Christie
    June 29, 2012 / 6:46 pm

    Amazing! I am looking at buying a house but I hate all the oak cabinets. Thank you for posting this!!

  56. Lauren
    June 29, 2012 / 9:40 pm

    Wow, this looks awesome! We have white cabinets now, but I'll keep this in mind if our future home(s) have a wood tone I don't like. I *HATE* sanding, so this may be the perfect project for me.

  57. Anonymous
    June 30, 2012 / 11:27 am

    I just found this on Pinterest, it elevated my guest bath to the top of my priority list. I am SO excited to try this – thank you!!

  58. Nette
    June 30, 2012 / 3:31 pm

    Excited I found your tutorial on pinterest! Was planning on painting bathroom cabinets but going to use your method now!

  59. Shineesta
    June 30, 2012 / 6:52 pm

    I just ordered the General Finishes stain and topcoat so I can do this in my bathroom! Way cheaper than buying a whole new vanity!

  60. Shelley
    June 30, 2012 / 10:25 pm

    That looks amazing!! I can't wait to try it out on my cabinets. Thanks for the tutorial!

  61. Angelbel0204
    June 30, 2012 / 11:12 pm

    I have oak cabinets but they are not builders grade. They are real wood and some of the stain/gloss finish has worn off. Do you think this method would work for me?

  62. Jess
    July 1, 2012 / 12:32 am

    Thanks for making the time to post this. Probably took almost as much time as the project itself. I found this via pinterest. I hope to try this soon! It will be added to the "to-do" list.

  63. boss 'n jee
    July 1, 2012 / 3:45 am

    Love your cabinets!! Dear Hubby and I are in the process of home-building/buying. Your tutorial is going to be very handy. So .. Thank you!!

  64. Anonymous
    July 1, 2012 / 10:53 am

    Great tutorial, and beautiful job on the cabinets!Can you explain why you're so married to this particular brand of stain and poly? I would like to try this, but I live in Canada and I've never seen this brand, and Amazon won't ship it here. Is it because it's a gel?

    • Rhonda Friesen
      November 7, 2012 / 2:55 am

      I found a Canadian company that sells that brand. I can't wait to try this too!

  65. Me!
    July 1, 2012 / 7:39 pm

    Your voice is so real! Thank you! I plan to try your tips this Summer in my kitchen. (shiver) I hope I'll have gorgeous photos to share! Thank you! (P.S. Found you from Pinterest)

  66. Tyson & Jayne Marostica
    July 2, 2012 / 2:50 pm

    Oh I'm so glad I found this! Had a disaster of a time staining a table using water-based minwax. Was about to give up and just paint over it all, but Im ready to try using this gel stain!Wonderful tutorial, thank you!

  67. Tamara bridgeman
    July 2, 2012 / 3:31 pm

    Hi 🙂 wow your bathroom came out beautiful. so glad i found your blog. I went out and bought the supplies last night. I can't wait to start this. thank you so much for your step by step directions. your awesome.

  68. Vanessa
    July 2, 2012 / 9:19 pm

    I found this on Pinterest. We are in the process of buying a new (to us) house, and I plan on doing this in the bathrooms. Thanks so much! I will try to remember to comment again after I am done. Your cabinet looks really good! Thank you so much for this. :)Vanessa

  69. BethVanRhee
    July 2, 2012 / 11:39 pm

    I just pinned this to Pinterest because you did such a great job! Perfect explanations and wonderful pics. Thanks again for the inspiration!!

  70. Ben or Cortney
    July 3, 2012 / 1:07 am

    Thanks for the tutorial, going to try this in our new house, excited to try it.

  71. Danielle Bartran
    July 3, 2012 / 3:25 am

    Love this! Now I want to restain every cabinet in my house…

  72. sdtedrow
    July 3, 2012 / 12:27 pm

    LOVE IT!!Getting ready to redo our bathroom and this is a perfect idea.Tutorial was great and easy to follow. Thank you so much! So excited, can't wait to get started!!

  73. Vicki Bailey
    July 3, 2012 / 1:33 pm

    I'm so excited to try this! I was so excited I actually got ahead of myself. Took all the cabinet off and the drawers out BEFORE I got the stain. I was thinking I'd have all that done and then go to the hardware store and get the stain. Ummm bad idea. I couldn't find it anywhere so then I went to Amazon and they were even out of the poly coat. I ended up ordering from, but it could take up to 10 days to get to me. So until then I'm living in disarray in my bathroom. In my defense this is my first DIY home project so I completely let my excitement cloud my judgement. My first lesson learned is to "make sure you have all of your supplies BEFORE you start taking things apart!" lol. Oh and I also forgot to take my "before" pic before I took all the cabinets and drawers out. haha! I'm on a roll. This could end up being disastrous, but I figure it's better to try to salvage something first before just ripping it out and buying new things. Thanks for the great tutorial. Here's to hoping I can pull it off.

  74. Lisa
    July 3, 2012 / 2:14 pm

    I am so excited to try this! I have wanted to attempt gel staining my cabinets but have been too intimidated. Thanks for these very clear & easy instructions!

  75. JaymeLeeO
    July 3, 2012 / 3:37 pm

    Found you from Pinterest and have bookmarked your blog for future! Thank you so much for your detailed post. We close on our new house this Friday and I've been dying to find a tutorial as clear as yours!

  76. Rotating My Crops
    July 4, 2012 / 1:39 am

    I just found you on Pinterest, too! This project ROCKS! I will do this in master bath… At least. Thanks!!

  77. KrispieKritter
    July 4, 2012 / 3:12 am

    Saw your before and after pics on Pinterest and was super excited to find your tutorial. All my cabinets are the light oak, and I really, really want a change. This is the perfect option since my hubby doesn't want them painted! I'm hoping he likes this idea as much as I do!!

  78. Momtotwowonders
    July 4, 2012 / 3:57 am

    This looks cool! I have stripped furniture before and said never again! I have a project in mind now….

  79. Kim
    July 5, 2012 / 2:46 pm

    I love this! I'm so making this part of my summer bathroom project! Thanks!!!

  80. Vanessa Heilman
    July 6, 2012 / 1:39 pm

    thanks for the inspiration! gonna try this method on an old/ugly furniture piece! keep blogging!!!

  81. Capesmom
    July 6, 2012 / 3:25 pm

    Thank you, Thank You, Thank you!!!! People like me NEED people like you. Can't wait to try this:)

  82. Jocelyn
    July 7, 2012 / 1:38 pm

    I popped over here from Pinterest. Thanks for such a great tutorial! I'm excited to tackle this project. I've sent my sister the link because she wants to do this too.

  83. ferrellgraph-x
    July 8, 2012 / 1:04 pm

    Looks fabulous! I will gave to add this to my to do list! Kindest regards,Jennifer

  84. simplyfunlady
    July 8, 2012 / 11:28 pm

    Hey There! I found this on Pinterest and I am in LOVE with this! Can't wait to try it on my bathroom, then maybe my kitchen! — I have a small kitchen though, I'm worried the dark stain would make it seem smaller :/ We'll see! I am a new follower and can't wait to see what else you have in store! Also, I am pinning this as well!Thanks!

  85. Joan
    July 9, 2012 / 4:55 pm

    here via pinterest and trying to get up the nerve to attempt this in my kitchen. thanks for the tutorial!

  86. Amy Darrington-Baird
    July 11, 2012 / 5:23 am

    I love the look of your cabinets! Just one question, is the name of the stain "espresso" because when I hit the amazon link, the can that came up was "antique walnut"?

  87. Cairn
    July 13, 2012 / 10:24 pm

    I love this! I can't wait to try it in my bathroom. Hopefully my kitchen too! Thanks so much for the tutorial.

  88. JHill
    July 13, 2012 / 11:27 pm

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I hope to do this in my bathrooms soon. I will link back when I do!

  89. amjeanner
    July 14, 2012 / 4:05 pm

    I love this!! I have a honey oak end table in my living room (hand-me-down from my hubby's grandparents), and we love the end table, it just does not go with my color scheme– I am so going to do this!! Also– how do you think this would work on all laminate kitchen cupboards??

  90. LaurieG
    July 15, 2012 / 2:45 pm

    I am in the middle of an overhaul of my house. I have wood laminate floors everywhere that were once a beautiful color and now are so dated. I just tore out some of the laminate in the master bath floor and I'm going to experiment with this to see what would happen if I took on the floors. By working on some that is already in the garbage heap I can test the possibilities. Thanks so much for sharing!

  91. Jessica Ketcham
    July 16, 2012 / 1:29 am

    This is an amazing DIY! Inventive, clear, seems simple and fantastic results! I loved your approach to writting as well. Your personality shows through making it a delight to read. Thank you so much for sharing!

  92. BulldogMama
    July 16, 2012 / 10:44 pm

    I think I have the very same vanity in my bathroom and have wanted to do "something" with it for a while. Love this and will be doing it before the end of summer! Thank you for sharing!

  93. BulldogMama
    July 16, 2012 / 10:44 pm

    I think I have the very same vanity in my bathroom and have wanted to do "something" with it for a while. Love this and will be doing it before the end of summer! Thank you for sharing!

  94. USMC Farm Girl
    July 16, 2012 / 11:42 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I've been wanting to the very same thing in our master bathroom but was worried about how the gel stain would work out. You've taken the guess work out of it for me! Greatly appreciated and will be pinned/recommended. 🙂

  95. Nina
    July 19, 2012 / 1:18 pm

    Wow! Just wow!

  96. Leslie
    July 20, 2012 / 7:01 am

    Amazing transformation! Great job.

  97. Elena
    July 20, 2012 / 4:28 pm

    Oh my gosh – I wish I would have met you before I spent $$$$$$$ on new cabinets!! But my bro just bought a house that has ugly cabinets. He doesn't know it yet but we are so doing this! Thank you!

  98. Brooke
    July 21, 2012 / 2:53 am

    I found this on pinterest and am super excited to try it!! I'm planning on doing my kitchen. It is overwhelming to think of doing it all. At first I wanted to paint them white. But after seeing this I think this is the way to go. It won't show nearly as much gunk and will still work well with the hardware I have! Thanks for sharing!

  99. Veronica Marie
    July 21, 2012 / 2:38 pm

    Hello! i saw your cabinet staining tutorial on Pinterest & im excited to try this! i do have a question though, when the staining is complete & you ready to apply the gel poly, what is the drying time on that? I just to make sure my cabinets took as good as yours! Thank You for the tutorial, its looks easy & kinda fun =)

  100. Kim Marie
    July 21, 2012 / 5:28 pm

    Hi, just found your blog thru Pinterest and am so excited about this tutorial on staining cabinets. This is exactly what I have been looking for. I have 4 bathrooms and a kitchen that are in dire need of updating. I hope there will be more coming on your blog, I will be watching and waiting. So far it looks like this is the last entry and was a while ago so I'm not even sure you will see this comment but if you do you will know that you have a new follower. Great job on your blog.

  101. Catherine Haddow
    July 22, 2012 / 1:38 pm

    Oh how I want to do this, but my cabinets are not wood 🙁 Well, part of them are, but they are covered in this… I'm not even sure what to call it. Laminate? (Ex: if you put tape on the side of the pantry and take the tape off, it rips the laminate off.) I will be saving this post for my next house though!!

    • Beth McJones
      March 9, 2013 / 7:38 am

      Shes says it cann be used on laminate…hope that helps.

  102. JV
    July 22, 2012 / 9:36 pm

    Does this method work on wood that has been varnished or oiled but not stained? I know you said it won't work on bare wood, but I wasn't sure if that meant stain-free or varnish-free and oil-free too.

  103. Brad & Michelle
    July 22, 2012 / 10:04 pm

    I saw this post and my hubby and I decided to buy a large L-Shaped oak desk off Craig's list for his future office and I'm just refinishing it to the dark wood. Nervous and excited as this will be his home office!! Here goes nothing!!

  104. Unknown
    July 23, 2012 / 4:54 pm

    Found you on pinterest, pinned you myself, and decided I should post a huge THANK YOU for sharing this! I'm bad about pinning and never commenting (which I hear is frustrating for bloggers)…but this tutorial may just save my sanity and wallet! Thanks again for sharing!

  105. g_dog
    July 24, 2012 / 1:10 pm

    Great! Pinning and using!

  106. M Marshall
    July 24, 2012 / 5:45 pm

    Beautiful!! I'm going to stain my friend's kitchen cabinets for her so this really took some of the worry out of it. Thank you!

  107. Jeannie @ Living Loving Crafting
    July 24, 2012 / 7:48 pm

    I hate my oak cabinets. I'd love to do this to my island and see how it looks. I dream of dark island and white cabinets and think this would be the perfect start to achieving that. Thanks for sharing! Now to convince my husband 🙂

  108. Cari
    July 25, 2012 / 12:48 am

    This looks AWESOME!!! I just got done telling my husband that I HATE our oak cabinets. I am so excited to do this! I think I am going to do what you did and tackle the bathroom first! :)Thanks for the post!!!

  109. Melody
    July 25, 2012 / 12:57 am

    Wonderful. And so glad you're good at documenting DYI. . .And answering people's questions. Generous soul! I have a bathroom in desperate need. You have answered that need. This is a godsend.If I ever met you I'm sure I bow before you and say, "I'm not worthy."

  110. Amanda
    July 25, 2012 / 3:15 am

    Just started this tonight! I'm so excited! The first coat actually looks good. Thanks so much for sharing the info.

  111. runkimmierun
    July 26, 2012 / 4:11 pm

    Love your tutorial! Thanks for sharing! I hate our 10yo oak cabinets!

  112. s1simps
    July 27, 2012 / 5:05 pm

    Great tutorial! I really would like to try this. You make it look so easy. Thanks for sharing this (I found it on Pinterest)

  113. Katey
    July 27, 2012 / 7:13 pm

    Just started this project today and already sooooo excited! It was easy and the stain doesn't even smell! (being 34 weeks pregnant this is a very good thing!)…. Hoping it works as well as yours and that I can move onto my kitchens! Thanks again!

  114. 1CardCreator
    July 28, 2012 / 9:15 pm

    I pinned you too. Love how they came out, really appreciate all the tips you included!

  115. Rachelle
    July 29, 2012 / 12:53 am

    I love this, can't wait to try it in my bathroom and possibly my kitchen, too!

  116. A.
    July 30, 2012 / 2:59 pm

    Found your tutorial on Pinterest, and I love it! I plan to do this on all my bathroom vanities – if it works well, maybe the kitchen, too! Looks great.

  117. Mandy
    July 30, 2012 / 4:27 pm

    Tip from a former house keeper: If cabinets are uber grimy, such as over kitchen stove use a solution of hot hot water mixedwith oxy-clean. Dissolves grease and build up almost instantly and without too much elbow grease. If your not painting or refinishing wipe down with orange oil to renew shine and protect the wood.

    • Beth McJones
      March 9, 2013 / 7:36 am

      Thank you Mandy! I am conquering both baths and my kitchen. You just saved me a ton of work/time (I hope).

  118. Anna
    August 4, 2012 / 4:06 am

    Just the tutorial I've been looking for. Thank you!

  119. Stacy
    August 4, 2012 / 9:12 pm

    Wow!! Looks great! I wish I had found this at the beginning of summer vacation 😉

  120. spockybooky
    August 5, 2012 / 12:23 am

    I'm excited to try this. Thanks for making the tutorial easy to understand and a hoot to read. Entertaining. Gonna try this on end tables, actually. Can't wait.

  121. Lanee
    August 5, 2012 / 10:15 am

    You have totally infused me with courage to do this! I've had builder grade honey oak for 20 years and I'm beyond over it! Thank you so much for taking the time to document what you did for the rest of us! I will take before and after pics and show you…Lanée Willardsen in Denver

  122. Brian Ogden
    August 5, 2012 / 8:14 pm

    Almost painted our ugly honey oak/oak veneer bedroom set until I found this blog… I was doubtful about painting over the veneer (on top of particle board) and maintaining a consistent look so I tried it out first on an end table. The Java Gel worked fantastic! I used a rotary sander with 120 grit and went over the veneer surface 3-4 times to rough it up – just be careful not to sand completely through the veneer! Socks worked great – and I found it to be absolutely crucial that you not over apply and keep the coats thin. FYI, if you live in LA like me you can't buy the Gel Poly here (EPA laws).

  123. lk
    August 5, 2012 / 11:30 pm

    do you think it would work with my banister, or would all the hands on the rail cause it to wear away?

  124. Rachel
    August 6, 2012 / 2:11 am

    Hi, can you use a lighter color to make a maple color? Do you have any advice on this?

  125. Cheryl Ryan
    August 7, 2012 / 4:30 pm

    I'm excited to try this. Thank you for sharing.

  126. Jessica Smith
    August 7, 2012 / 9:04 pm

    Uh oh.. amazon doesn't sell the Poly Topcoat anymore. Any other suggestions on what to use instead?

  127. Tracie
    August 7, 2012 / 10:36 pm

    Oh my word! Beautiful!!! I am pinning htis and am so excited to try this. I just told my husband that I love our new home but I am not a fan of all the oak cabinets.

  128. angela1217
    August 8, 2012 / 4:10 am

    I just finished doing the first coat on my bathroom cabinets! Will let it dry overnight and add the second in the morning. Thanks so much for the advice and instructions, not a hard or expensive project, but really transforms the room!

  129. Natalie and Nathan
    August 8, 2012 / 5:40 pm

    Thanks for the post! I'm doing my bathroom right now thanks to you! It's turning out great so far. Thanks!

  130. Ezzy
    August 8, 2012 / 5:56 pm

    I cannot wait to try this!! I have been wondering what to do about my bathroom cabinets and saw this pin at the absolute perfect moment!P.S. I noticed the Circle E Candle in your bathroom and I knew you had to be from Texas!!

  131. Kristin
    August 9, 2012 / 5:45 pm

    Thanks for this tutorial. We are planning to have my dad build us some built-in shelves that we would like finished this way. I know you said NOT to do it on plain wood. Do you think it could it be done if the wood was primed first, before starting the rest of the process? Or do you happen to know what would work on plain wood to achieve this look? Thanks so much!

  132. Heather @ The JUNKtion
    August 10, 2012 / 9:58 pm

    AMAZING tutorial!!!! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm so inspired to go tackle my yellowy-golden oak cabinets!

  133. Julie
    August 12, 2012 / 9:53 pm

    Ordering the gel stain from Amazon right now. Starting with the guest bathroom before tackling the kitchen.

  134. Holli
    August 13, 2012 / 12:41 pm

    This looks great and surprisingly like even I could do it. Do you think it would work on my oak bedroom suite? I would love to stain it darker.

  135. BrendaAnn
    August 13, 2012 / 6:08 pm

    This looks Awesome! I'm putting my home on the market soon so this is a great idea for the bathroom cabinets… I'll be starting this project this weekend….Thank you for putting this project online…

  136. daughter - mother - sister - friend
    August 13, 2012 / 7:32 pm

    Seriously… WHY do they use so much honey oak stain? this is lovely – thanks!

  137. Angela Silva
    August 14, 2012 / 4:46 pm

    How long should you each coat of the topcoat dry?

  138. Melanie Moore
    August 15, 2012 / 7:58 pm

    What did you use to put on the poly coat? The sock or a foam brush? Please let me know. Started last night and waiting for it to dry.

  139. Shannon
    August 16, 2012 / 3:43 pm

    Does this stain only work on oak? I have a piano I would like to refinish and would love it if it would be this easy.

  140. *Lissa*
    August 17, 2012 / 1:22 am

    I love this, Monica! Do you have current photos of the finished project and your kitchen??

  141. stephanie jennejohn
    August 17, 2012 / 1:58 pm

    hi!! just wondering if you sanded between the stain coats?!?

    • Angie
      June 28, 2013 / 12:47 am

      I don't recommend sanding between the coats.

  142. Unknown
    August 18, 2012 / 6:03 pm

    Just want to say thanks so much for this blog! I followed the instructions exactly and I just love how it looks! Staining the vanity, changing the faucet, light fixture, hardware and a fresh coat of paint – it looks incredible! Couldn't have done it without this!

  143. Calliope
    August 18, 2012 / 6:03 pm

    So inspired…so excited. I can't wait to start on my butt ugly oak cabinets. I already have the tequila in stock.I have two questions. You're adamant that we should use General Finishes products. I've ordered the gel stain from Amazon, but the Satin Gel Poly topcoat is unavailable and Googling hasn't helped me find it anywhere. Any suggestions on how I can substitute. Also, I saw the schedule for drying the stain. (Very detailed…thanks for that!) How long did you let each coat of your topcoat dry?

    • Calliope
      August 18, 2012 / 6:12 pm

      Oops…never mind. After yesterday's Google fail and not thinking to look in your comments, I just discovered that one of your readers mentioned and they have it!Still need to understand the drying schedule for the topcoat though. I really, REALLY can't wait to get started! And after reading more comments, I may gamble on doing this with some cheapo oak finished book shelves.You mention that this will NOT work on unfinished wood. Any suggestions on where to start with that? I'd like to have a similar finish on the molding we use to frame our super huge bathroom mirror.

    • Anita Frankhauser
      September 25, 2013 / 5:23 pm

      I used the same process on my "unfinished" wood door – and it worked great!

  144. Mandy
    August 21, 2012 / 1:55 pm

    Looks great!!!! Thanks for sharing:) I have dark 70's wood vanity in my bathroom and was thinking about jut getting new countertop at this point but do you think this would work for dated darker wood cabinets I am trying to do this ASAP . Thanks for your time

  145. Dixie
    August 24, 2012 / 12:58 pm

    What a great job you did! I love the look. I wish my cabinets could be refinished this way (I painted them years ago). Thank you for sharing.

  146. Candace
    August 24, 2012 / 10:27 pm

    oh wow. I'm excited! Thank you for a great tutorial…. I can't wait to try this.

  147. Connie Collins
    August 25, 2012 / 1:23 am

    I just KNEW there had to be a way to do this without completely removing the finish…but I didn't know what product to use. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. It may take a while before I can get to it, but I WILL get to it.

  148. Mayra Gonzalez
    August 25, 2012 / 3:25 am

    What an inspiration…..I have a little coffee table that I would love to stain ..thanks ur tutorial isvery useful

  149. Allison Bell
    August 25, 2012 / 7:33 am

    Looks amazing! Thanks so much!

  150. Allison Bell
    August 25, 2012 / 7:39 am

    Looks amazing! Thanks so much!

  151. Jan Gilda
    August 25, 2012 / 3:32 pm

    just one question, are the sides of your cabinets wood or are they particle board with faux wood finish? I'm concerned that the stain won't take on the fax finish sides (BTW, they show most on either side of the sink- the spot that would drive me outta my mind)

  152. BadKitty
    August 26, 2012 / 11:16 am

    So excited to find this via pinterest! Thank you so much. Looking to buy a house that I'm sure will have the ugliest cabinetry in it, this will help me to overlook that and see it as a totally fixable feature! Love it. Thank you for taking the time.

  153. nballew
    August 28, 2012 / 10:00 pm

    Just started this today on a bookcase in my daughters room, I am on the second coat now and it looks fantastic already. Iam so excited, the wheels are turning about all the other ways and places I can use this

  154. Abigail Solazzo
    August 29, 2012 / 3:01 pm

    The vanity turned out beautifully!! Will these sames products and methods work on white lamintate? Please respond to [email protected] you!!

  155. j_gray
    August 29, 2012 / 7:36 pm

    I just stumbled on this tutorial on pinterest and am so happy I did!!! I've been wanting to do this to my coffee table but been totally uncertain of how to go about it. Thanks for the simple steps, even a ding dong like me should be able to handle this project 🙂

  156. Dool73
    August 30, 2012 / 8:06 pm

    Thank you, thank you!! Can't wait to get started! Always wanted to do this, but seemed so overwhelming.

  157. Allia Furniture
    September 1, 2012 / 4:11 pm

    Great nice info for me,to how sevice product for my coustemer, ihope you see you againthank,s

  158. roseygrl10
    September 2, 2012 / 7:02 pm

    Thank you SO much!!!! It took me awhile to bite the bullet, but I wanted to share my results! (see pic below) Next up — new countertop and floors. With this trick, I'll be able to redo my kitchen for under $1500!!! I am so happy I found your post, and have been sharing it with everyone!!

    • joanna
      October 12, 2012 / 3:54 pm

      Beautiful! I have a small end table with scratches on top, its a frech table, I only want to cover the very top. Did your cabinet have scratches/marrs? Did it cover these well?

  159. Becky M
    September 3, 2012 / 12:19 am

    This is seriously gorgeous! I hope this post is still here in a few years because I'm sure I'll need it when I get my own house. :)But actually, from reading a couple comments above, I got inspired to try it on a desk that I have. I think it'll still be a few months, but I can't want to try it! Thanks so much for the inspiration and tutorial!

  160. Sherry
    September 3, 2012 / 5:40 am

    Thank you, Thank you and THANK YOU! What a simple project. I am NOT a "do-it your-self-er," but I tried your project and it looks AWESOME! On to the next bathroom…

  161. tlw
    September 3, 2012 / 6:39 am

    I did not read through all your comments, so I hope this is not repetitive. Do you think this would work on a darker oak? I hate the dark oak in my home. It is not light like yours. Anyone you know tried it on a dark oak?

    • roseygrl10
      September 3, 2012 / 11:44 am

      TLW…check out my picture a few posts up. My cabinets were darker to start and it works just fine!

    • tlw
      September 3, 2012 / 7:55 pm

      Oh Yay! Thank you! They do look great!

  162. lo1981
    September 3, 2012 / 3:32 pm

    Best project I have done in awhile. The tutorial is perfect and I freakin love my new cabinets. Thank you!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!

  163. Tin Can Tourists
    September 3, 2012 / 9:23 pm

    I just started this on my kitchen cabinets this weekend. They are the cheesy washed oak – really cheap and really ugly. I've already done the 6+ foot long vanity in the bathroom and it came out AMAZING!!! It really is as easy as she says (just messy), and the results are unbelievable! Thank you for the detailed directions!!

  164. Not a bit boring
    September 3, 2012 / 9:54 pm

    Great tutorial. Trying this SOON in the bathroom! Just wanted to drop a THANK YOU. 🙂

  165. Stacy
    September 4, 2012 / 12:28 am

    So happy to have found this! Have been wanting to do my cabinets for a long time but have been super intimidated by it. After reading your post I'm feeling more confident I can accomplish this! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  166. Samantha Moreton
    September 4, 2012 / 2:22 am

    I just got a steal on a "fixer-uper" as my first home. My parents are helping with the repairs and I'm trying to allocate $ where its needed most ie : furnace, water heater, windows…so this totally psych's me up for a way to save my ugly awful 1970's cabinets until I can install new! You my friend are a goddess and have I mentioned I <3 pinterest!!!!!!

  167. Samantha Moreton
    September 4, 2012 / 2:24 am

    I just got a steal on a "fixer-uper" as my first home. My parents are helping with the repairs and I'm trying to allocate $ where its needed most ie : furnace, water heater, windows…so this totally psych's me up for a way to save my ugly awful 1970's cabinets until I can install new! You my friend are a goddess and have I mentioned I <3 pinterest!!!!!!

  168. Samantha Moreton
    September 4, 2012 / 2:26 am

    I just got a steal on a "fixer-uper" as my first home. My parents are helping with the repairs and I'm trying to allocate $ where its needed most ie : furnace, water heater, windows…so this totally psych's me up for a way to save my ugly awful 1970's cabinets until I can install new! You my friend are a goddess and have I mentioned I <3 pinterest!!!!!!

  169. Samantha Moreton
    September 4, 2012 / 2:27 am

    I just got a steal on a "fixer-uper" as my first home. My parents are helping with the repairs and I'm trying to allocate $ where its needed most ie : furnace, water heater, windows…so this totally psych's me up for a way to save my ugly awful 1970's cabinets until I can install new! You my friend are a goddess and have I mentioned I <3 pinterest!!!!!!

  170. Sarah Plewe
    September 4, 2012 / 4:47 pm

    I was just wondering if doing your bathroom again would you do this method or use the rustoleum kit. You mentioned you wouldn't use dark to light but light to espresso would work. Thank you in advance for your opinion!

    • Monica @
      September 4, 2012 / 4:54 pm

      Hi Sarah,Just replied to your email.-Monica

  171. Sew Sane Jane
    September 5, 2012 / 1:44 am

    I think I am going to try this on my dinning room table and chairs – wish me luck!! I HAVE used this stain (same brand – different color) for staining the trim, doors, etc in our basement when we were finishing it. I was applying to bare wood and LOVED THE RESULTS!!! (one coat of stain and 2 poly's were it for those surfaces – I didn't use a guys sock – fresh out:0 but I did use a square of an old cotton undershirt that worked great (maybe less streaky too b/c the weave of the fabric is closer together)) I am a bit more scared to try it on a previously finished/varnished surface, but you've given me hope!!

  172. Shelly
    September 5, 2012 / 4:14 am

    Again….Come do my house! Exactly what I will be doing in two weeks! Thanks!

  173. Kimberly W
    September 6, 2012 / 3:35 pm

    Love it – can't wait to give this a shot! Nice job!

  174. Sam
    September 6, 2012 / 8:39 pm

    I LOVE this idea! I was trying to think of what I could do in my bathroom cause the cabinets are ugly….this has made my day (and it looks pretty easy)….WAHOOOOO!!!

  175. Anonymous
    September 8, 2012 / 3:05 am

    This is great – do you think it would work on the laminate wood flooring – in the same lovely shade of oak? Thoughts?

  176. Camille
    September 8, 2012 / 7:19 pm

    Is there any reason I couldn't use Minwax brand of gel stain? Is there something special about General Finishes? It looks like it's the same stuff, but I don't want to use something that won't be as good.

    • Jenni
      January 30, 2014 / 4:47 am

      I recently tried to find gel stain at Lowe's, and it was discontinued because the minwax gel stain didn't work!

  177. Kerri Heinzman
    September 9, 2012 / 9:00 pm

    I am thrilled to have found this tutorial!! My husband and I were just talking the other day about what we'd like to do to our kitchen (that has honey oak cabinets. We both agreed that we'd like the cabinets darker, but were afraid we'd have to totally strip the old cabinets. This tutorial took that worry away. Your vanity looks awesome!! I intend to order this stain and start ASAP.

  178. Anonymous
    September 10, 2012 / 7:59 pm

    I'm so excited to find this!! My husband and I just bought a house, and I hate the oak cabinets.. I hope that mine turns out as wonderful as yours did!!

  179. Jaye Leon
    September 13, 2012 / 2:52 pm

    Okay, you convinced me! I'm doing it, man! Great tutorial and photos. I really like the idea of getting a castoff cabinet door from Restore and testing! Duh! Sometimes as a DIY'er, I tend to over think things – glad you did the thinking for me this time! Thanks for sharing. On my way to pinning now!Jaye @ Just Tryin' to Make Cents of it All!

  180. Jaymie
    September 14, 2012 / 3:49 am

    Thank you!

  181. Sarah Gilcher
    September 14, 2012 / 4:36 pm

    Thanks for this! I am so excited to get started! I just ordered the stain.

  182. emilyhillis
    September 15, 2012 / 1:23 pm

    I just bought a home with the standard medium oak kitchen cabinets. Thanks to this blog I am transforming my kitchen into my dream! I only used one coat of stain, rubbed it in very well though (no streaks). It took me about 10 hours of labor to remove the doors and hardware and apply the stain, on to the first application of poly today. This project was a lot to take on by myself. I would recommend having a good helper to help the process. I am SO SORE! Lots of work left but very happy I have the color I wanted!!! Thank you so much Monica! Note to others: I am not creative and a typical DIYer and I did this. You can too!

  183. Sarah
    September 16, 2012 / 5:17 pm

    I just wanted to say Thank You so very much for this post, even though you have some blogging frustrations, you have really helped me be happier in my home. What a gift! I just finished our bathroom and love the results! Everyone says it looks professional! Next week I plan to start the kitchen, even though it is a small kitchen, it feels like a monumental task. First time I have ever been grateful for a tiny kitchen. Anyways, thank you so very much!!

    • JW
      October 4, 2012 / 5:22 pm

      Can you post a picture of your finished project?

  184. Seth and Peggy
    September 18, 2012 / 5:05 am

    I just checked my local stores in Phoenix that sell these products. They are in stock with all the other stains and colors EXCEPT the specific ones that you suggest. You are changing the world sister! To repeat: I live in Phoenix, it is huge, but the stores that sell this are all out of stock of your recommendations. So many people have been doing this!! I can't wait to start my own three bathrooms!

    • Sue
      October 20, 2012 / 2:58 am

      I live Phoenix as well. Did you find the stain anywhere? I looked at Ace and Home Depot tonight with no luck. thank you.

  185. Martin and Sarah
    September 19, 2012 / 11:26 am

    Thank you! I started this project last night and am so excited not to look at all of the hideous oak in our bathroom anymore. Great tutorial!

  186. Jennifer Chappell
    September 20, 2012 / 12:58 pm

    Can you do this same process on painted cabinets?

    • Monica @
      September 29, 2012 / 12:07 am

      Yup! 🙂

  187. samantha
    September 21, 2012 / 4:15 am

    Love the advice thanks! Definitely going to pin this for future!

  188. Robin
    September 23, 2012 / 2:37 pm

    Great tutorial and keep up your blog! I might just be refinishing my cabinets like this next year. Can't wait to try your technique

  189. rachelle
    September 26, 2012 / 4:40 am

    Thank you so much for the tutorial! I am soooo tired of our cabinets, but painting seemed too hard. You have saved me!!

  190. Katiebug917
    September 26, 2012 / 12:17 pm

    LOVE this look. Still mustering up the courage to take on my white painted cabinets (which I HATE). Thank you SO much for such a great tutorial. I hope I can bring myself to try it!!

  191. Christine
    September 26, 2012 / 3:58 pm

    Thanks for such good details! I'm inspired to not be such a fraidycat and do some DIY!

  192. julie brown
    September 26, 2012 / 4:03 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing…I'm going to get onto my bathroom next week (once I get all the supplies!) You've inspired me to get moving!

  193. Rachel
    September 27, 2012 / 2:05 am

    Your tutorial is AWESOME! Not only is it informative but you are a great writer. You had me laughing and excited to stain my bathroom cabinets. I don't know when I'm going to tackle this project but I'm going to pin your tutorial so it will be there when I'm ready. Thanks so much!

  194. Monica @
    September 29, 2012 / 12:08 am

    Hi everyone! Thanks so much for all the amazing comments and compliments. I'm trying so hard to keep up with everyone's comments and emails, and I am swamped! I so appreciate every single one of them, and I'll try to reply to any unanswered questions here in the comments section or via email.Happy staining! 🙂

  195. cathy8466
    September 30, 2012 / 4:33 am

    I want to try this soooooo bad!!! But I only have one bathroom and I'm afraid the moisture from the shower will ruin it. What do you think?

  196. DeAnna Martelle
    October 2, 2012 / 2:58 pm

    I WANT to do this now. Here's my question, what is the time from start to finish and is there a problem with showering while drying if it takes more than a day? We have one shower and it's in the bathroom I want to do this in. Just wondering if showering will be a problem! LMK

  197. JW
    October 4, 2012 / 5:25 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your idea, directions, and pictures! You are saving my family so much money with this project. I'm starting in the bathrooms and hopefully completing the kitchen as well. I would love to see a post where other people can share their finished project cabinets as well!

  198. @monicabenavidez
    October 4, 2012 / 5:44 pm

    I've already posted the finished project and several people have shared their before and afters on my Facebook page.

  199. The Moldy Cannoli
    October 4, 2012 / 5:52 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. For my son's first birthday I am planning on redoing a light oak (very 1980s-ish looking) rocking horse that used to be my husband's. I'm excited to have found this post, thank you for sharing this tutorial!

  200. Abbie
    October 7, 2012 / 2:22 pm

    Awesome – would love to do this to my bathroom cabinents! Thanks for the tutorial!

  201. Pamela
    October 9, 2012 / 4:06 am

    Thank you so much for taking the time to do this tutorial! It is amazing and saves so much money! I'm re-doing our bathroom cabinet and just moving to step 2 and am already loving it! Thank you so much!

  202. Pamela
    October 9, 2012 / 4:08 am

    Thank you so much for making this tutorial! It madeMy bathroom cabinet look beyond amazinga nd saved so much money!!! So glad I foud it, an so glad you took the time to show us how to do it! Thanks again!

  203. Vikkie
    October 12, 2012 / 1:13 am

    I am so glad i came across this, Thank you so much for such an easy to follow tutorial, I am nearly done with masterbath and its looking so nice. Cant wait to start on the kitchen. Again, thanks!

  204. Stefanie Orton
    October 12, 2012 / 5:08 pm

    WOW! That is an absolutely GORGEOUS transformation! Can't wait to do it in my own bathroom!!! (same ugly vanity color that you started) the dark espresso color looks so much classier and more sophisticated. love it!!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  205. Amanda Lawman
    October 13, 2012 / 12:56 pm

    Thank you so much for your blog! My husband and I just bought a beautiful home with hideous honey oak cabinets and trim all over, and I was getting depressed thinking of all the stripping and staining I was in for. Your method sounds much more doable than traditional striping and staining. I can't wait to give it a try!

  206. The Smiths
    October 13, 2012 / 2:20 pm


  207. Ashlee
    October 13, 2012 / 4:43 pm

    You are an inspiration!! Thank you for sharing!!!!

  208. Ashlee
    October 13, 2012 / 4:47 pm

    You are an inspiration!! Thank you for sharing!!!!!

  209. Seth and Peggy
    October 14, 2012 / 2:58 am

    Please never ever delete this blog. Or this post.

  210. InvitingPrintables
    October 14, 2012 / 3:23 am

    Going to order th stain and start on my bathroom ASAP to practice before moving on to my kitchen. I can't wait. I've been wanting to do this forever. THANK YOU!

  211. Carina
    October 14, 2012 / 6:22 am

    You said to just sand lightly. I have some cabinets with water damage I feel really need a good sanding. Is there a problem with a deep sanding? Or is it just unnecessary and can be skipped if wood in decent shape? (mine is not)

  212. Tammy
    October 14, 2012 / 8:16 pm

    Thanks for the detailed instructions. Definitely trying this in my bathroom!

  213. Alison Beach
    October 16, 2012 / 2:09 pm

    just started this on my bathroom vanity! one coat down – so excited!!

  214. *colette*
    October 17, 2012 / 9:10 pm

    This looks awesome! I am definitely trying this on an oak china cabinet that I just inherited (for free). I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for sharing!!!

  215. Emily S.
    October 22, 2012 / 12:10 am

    Thank you so much for taking the time to provide such comprehensive instructions as well as the FAQ section. We purchased a used honey colored china cabinet and while it has served its purpose for storage-keeping, we never liked the way it looked the rest of the dark dining room furniture. This is such a great tutorial and inspiration to finally have the room looking "together." I have been following your instructions and I just finished putting the first coat on this evening. It already looks incredible in comparison to the "before" – can't wait to put on the next couple coats, change out the hardware, and see the finished product. Thanks again for taking the time and sharing this, particulary for those diy-newbies, such as myself out there 🙂

  216. Emily S.
    October 22, 2012 / 12:12 am

    Thank you so much for taking the time to provide such comprehensive instructions as well as the FAQ section. We purchased a used honey colored china cabinet and while it has served its purpose for storage-keeping, we never liked the way it looked the rest of the dark dining room furniture. This is such a great tutorial and inspiration to finally have the room looking "together." I have been following your instructions and I just finished putting the first coat on this evening. It already looks incredible in comparison to the "before" – can't wait to put on the next couple coats, change out the hardware, and see the finished product. Thanks again for taking the time and sharing this, particulary for those diy-newbies, such as myself out there 🙂

  217. applegurl
    October 23, 2012 / 6:46 pm

    Thanks for taking time to make this tutorial. People pay big money to have a professional do this. I hope to attempt this project soon.

  218. Andrea Cahill
    October 23, 2012 / 7:18 pm

    I just ordered the stain for my kitchen on Amazon. I have been ready to do something to my kitchen and this is something I can afford. Thank you!!

  219. Kaitlyn Aarts
    October 25, 2012 / 12:55 pm

    This looks great! Thanks fro sharing, I did this to my coffee tables.

  220. KC
    October 25, 2012 / 8:14 pm

    wow … it's beautiful! I want to do this so bad for my bathroom (mine is very similar to yours) … I just need to find my courage 🙂 Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  221. Ashley
    October 26, 2012 / 3:09 am

    We did this exact same thing to our kitchen! Same stain and all! Great tutorial! We used Krud Cutter to clean our cabinets. They were nasty and that stuff worked like a charm. My dad ended up spraying the doors with the satin finish and they look good!

  222. Tracy Jones
    October 26, 2012 / 6:36 pm

    I'm halfway through. You just have to get the guts and jump in. It is easy as she says. I've had a few friends stop by and just can't believe how awesome they look and I haven't even done the poly yet.

  223. heatherg
    October 26, 2012 / 7:36 pm

    I would like to try this. Like right now. I do not own the property, but probably will and the owner is a good friend of mine. And yes, I have those super ugly oak cabinets. I've priced out refacing and new cabinets and just can't stomach several thousand dollars even for just refacing. Wondering if I attempt to paint the back of one hardly used small door and then decide if I hate it (or she hates it, can I easily strip the stain off the back of the door? I realize it likely won't go back to normal, but if I can strip the stain, at least it won't be espresso while everything else is ugly honey. I hate it!

  224. Becca
    October 27, 2012 / 12:21 am

    Looks so good! This is exactly what I want to do 🙂 thanks for sharing!!

  225. The Blessed Wife
    October 28, 2012 / 8:27 pm

    This is so amazing!! I pinned it a while ago and just waiting on the time to do it. Thanks!!!!!!!!

  226. linda
    October 28, 2012 / 11:03 pm

    I've just started doing my cabinets. So far so good. When I went to Wood Crafter to get the gel stain, I walked in the door and sales man ask if he could help me. I said I need General Finish and the 3 men that were in there said Java gel stain. I said how did you know and they said they have been bombarded with ladies comming in for it because of pinterest. I got their last quart. They said they cannot keep in stock. So I think you deserve a kick back from General Finish because your really keeping them in business!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the great tutorial and the inspiration to help all of us accomplish this project.

  227. linda
    October 31, 2012 / 5:24 pm

    I just did the first coat of stain on my cabinet doors and drawers. Now to the frames, I'm so excited to have this project done. Thank you for your blog, You have given alot of people the courage and inspiration to do this. Also I think General Finishers should be giving you a percentage of their profits. When I went into wood crafters to get my supplies they knew when I walked into the store what I was looking for. I got their last quart of Java gel they said they can't keep it in stock because of Pintrest!!!!! Way to go girl!!!! By the way I'm doing my kitchen.

  228. bizzybeemom
    November 1, 2012 / 6:33 pm

    This is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for the super detailed and easy to understand tute. I can't wait to order the stuff and transform my 3 ugly bathroom vanities!!

  229. Estela Tiscornia Biaus
    November 3, 2012 / 3:21 pm

    Just find you on Pinterest. This is a great tutorial and I will definitely try this! Keep on the good work and thanks for sharing!!!

  230. Kate
    November 6, 2012 / 2:30 am

    This is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing this. We are buying a house with oak kitchen cabinets and I really would like to do this…amazing what a huge change it is, and so sexy. If cabinets can be sexy. Good luck with your kitchen!!

  231. Jeff and Jill
    November 6, 2012 / 6:47 pm

    Just ordered my stain… excited to try it next weekend 🙂

  232. Piper
    November 7, 2012 / 1:36 pm

    Wow… I love love this… and I want to do it!! But I am soooo scared!! I may just have to get a door from ReStore or a thrift shop. I love the expresso color!

  233. Steph M
    November 8, 2012 / 12:13 pm

    Thank you very much for sharing this informational tutorial! I will try this in my kitchen once I am moved in 🙂

  234. Courtney
    November 8, 2012 / 3:56 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous!!!!!! We just re-tiled our bathroom and the vanity just doesn't "fit" anymore. We've been considering purchasing a new vanity, but now that I've read your tutorial, you may have just saved us hundreds of dollars!!!!!! Thank you so very much!!!!!

  235. linda
    November 8, 2012 / 6:02 pm

    I just finished my final coat of stain on my kitchen cabinets. They look great, just waiting for the drying time so I can put on the poly. I would recommend using the sock. My first 2 coats I used a rag. The sock is much better. Wish I would have used it first.

  236. Kim
    November 14, 2012 / 5:03 pm

    LOVE IT! I am inspired to do bedroom furniture now! 🙂

  237. Jo
    November 19, 2012 / 2:18 am

    Wow!!! I have been wanting to refinish a small TV cabinet but was dreading sanding it down to bare wood. I am going to try this!! I hope I can get mine to look half as good as yours! Beautiful!!! Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  238. Unknown
    November 19, 2012 / 3:59 am

    This is amazing!!! I have WHITE cabinets in the bathroom, and WHITE kitchen cabinets and this seems so much easier to do than the Rust O leum transformation kit.

  239. TysGirl
    November 20, 2012 / 12:55 am

    Thanks so much for this tutorial & for the FAQ page, too! I just started the project today and can't wait to see what it'll look like next week! 🙂 (Love the part about the shot of tequila–LOL!) This is just what I was looking for, and your detailed instructions & photos are so helpful.

  240. camamamacho
    November 25, 2012 / 5:10 pm

    i started this project yesterday in my bathroom and i wanted to say thank you for this awesome tutorial! i cant wait to do my kitchen!

  241. Melissa Cleaveland
    November 27, 2012 / 10:24 pm

    I want to redo my kitchen, but thought that I would have to strip and all that to get a stain to look right. But now I am totally going to shore myhusband this and go for the stain. Goodbye ugly peely oak colored cabinets!

  242. Melissa Cleaveland
    November 27, 2012 / 10:26 pm

    I want to redo my kitchen, but thought that I would have to strip and all that to get a stain to look right. But now I am totally going to shore myhusband this and go for the stain. Goodbye ugly peely oak colored cabinets!

  243. JaymeLeeO
    November 29, 2012 / 3:03 pm

    I followed your tutorial to redo our 1/2 bath as we were on a VERY limited budget. It turned out AMAZING! It looks beautiful. If anyone is hesitating, DON'T! It is really so easy – the only painful part is having patience between each coat. I will be doing several other pieces of our furniture over the holidays. THANK YOU!!!!!

  244. Lou Melchiorre
    November 29, 2012 / 7:01 pm

    This is great! I was trying to decide if i should paint or stain my bedroom furniture. This looks like a great option! Thank you for sharing!

  245. Zephyr Hill
    December 3, 2012 / 3:38 am

    Again, thanks! I'm going to try this with an elegant, but too oaky, bookcase.

  246. Laurie Shoemaker
    December 6, 2012 / 3:56 am

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I'm so excited to start this project on my bathroom cabinets. And if it turns out, I want to do my kitchen cabinets as well. I'm so excited! Thanks again for sharing!

  247. Rose Lauing
    December 10, 2012 / 2:25 am

    I am officially inspired! I am going to start with bathrooms and work my way down to the kitchen. I too have the lovely honey oak throughout my house and just can't afford cabinet replacement. This is my answer to a far more budget concious, but AMAZING, update to our home. Can't thank you enough for the tute!

  248. Rose Lauing
    December 10, 2012 / 2:26 am

    I am officially inspired! I am going to start with bathrooms and work my way down to the kitchen. I too have the lovely honey oak throughout my house and just can't afford cabinet replacement. This is my answer to a far more budget concious, but AMAZING, update to our home. Can't thank you enough for the tute!

  249. Chris' Wife
    December 11, 2012 / 4:04 pm

    I'm so excited to have found this. I absolutely abhor my honey oak cabinets, but have been terrified to paint or stain because I haven't wanted to waste a ton of time on stripping the wood and then finding out that it wouldn't work. I will definitely be trying this method in my bathroom. I've been living with the Honey Oak for 4 years now and it's driving me nuts. Thanks again. This is gorgeous and I can't wait to try it.

  250. AnnieB
    December 13, 2012 / 4:41 pm

    So impressed. This is exactly what I want for my bathrooms. Thanks for the great tutorial and your wonderful blog.

  251. JaymeLeeO
    December 13, 2012 / 5:22 pm

    For anyone who is considering this…do NOT hesitate. I followed her instructions to the letter and it is an amazing transformation in our 1/2 bath!

  252. jasmine
    December 27, 2012 / 1:25 am

    Thank you so much for your post and detailed instructions! Just ordered the GF gel stain… will be making over my guest bath shortly 🙂

  253. lg monroe
    December 29, 2012 / 11:25 pm

    thank you so very much for this. the house my husband and I are moving into has the ugliest oak master bath cabinetry while the upstairs bathroom cabinets look exactly like your after photo. I am doing this when we move in. thank you again, you pretty much just saved my life (and poor hubs sanity) 😀

  254. lg monroe
    December 29, 2012 / 11:36 pm

    thank you so very much for this. the house my husband and I are moving into has the ugliest oak master bath cabinetry while the upstairs bathroom cabinets look exactly like your after photo. I am doing this when we move in. thank you again, you pretty much just saved my life (and poor hubs sanity) 😀

  255. Erika
    December 30, 2012 / 2:23 pm

    Thanks for posting the directions and pictures!!

  256. Mrs_Slaughter
    January 3, 2013 / 7:30 pm

    I went to look for painters pyramids on amazon and in the suggested combinations area on the page it combined it with the same stain and poly you used! Must be popular!

  257. Karen
    January 4, 2013 / 7:18 pm

    You have inspired me! I plan to tackle this project this weekend. Thank you!

  258. Jennifer
    January 5, 2013 / 6:53 am

    My question would be, I have what appear to be "real" oak cabinets, but they are in fact plywood if you know what I mean. Will the gel stain still adhear to that ya think??!!!

  259. Kimberly
    January 5, 2013 / 2:17 pm

    I need a bathroom makeover SO badly. Can't wait to try this 🙂

  260. Wendi
    January 6, 2013 / 2:44 pm

    Looks great. Glad you mentioned that it works onlaminate, too, as my home is cursed with the stuff. Thanks for the info and motivation to start!

  261. Roberta Dawn
    January 7, 2013 / 3:49 pm

    Found this tutorial through pintrest. Thank you for the inspiration. Although attacking my kitchen feels daunting, I look forward to the end result.

  262. Roberta Dawn
    January 7, 2013 / 3:54 pm

    Found this tutorial through pintrest. Thank you for the inspiration. Although attacking my kitchen feels daunting, I look forward to the end result.

  263. Herbal Gatherings
    January 8, 2013 / 9:57 pm

    Got everything ordered and can't wait to start. After reading your blog I felt bad that you didn't receive the thank yous that were deserved after answering so many emails so I'm sending one now – THANK YOU!!!!

  264. Shantelle
    January 10, 2013 / 10:07 pm

    For those that are hesitant, DO IT! Since finding this tutorial last year I have done our master bathroom, entire kitchen, computer nook, and am in the process of doing the guest bathroom and mantle. The process WORKS and the tutorial here is great. Trust it and just go for it. We have 3 small kids and the kitchen has held up great. The casing around the bar needs to be touched up, but that's about it! Good luck!

  265. Cheryl McCoy
    January 11, 2013 / 4:31 am

    Just found this on Pinterest and followed it over here. I have been wanting to redo all the cabinets in the house but have been intimidated. This looks doable. Thank so much for the tutorial!

  266. Action Potential. ..or Potential Action. Whatever.
    January 13, 2013 / 11:44 pm

    Love this, thanks so much for posting! I'm glad you didn't take it down and the FAQ was helpful. Hubs and I are looking forward to trying this in our outdated bathroom come spring!!

  267. Anonymous
    January 15, 2013 / 4:22 am

    Wow! Just wow! That transformation is amazing!

  268. Angela
    January 16, 2013 / 4:55 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for posting this. I am so inspired, I am heading out to buy the stuff right now!!

  269. Kristin
    January 17, 2013 / 7:36 pm

    I've located the stain in my area! Yay! You did an awesome job! I am going to follow your directions to the T. Thanks for sharing!

  270. Jasmine Fast
    January 18, 2013 / 12:55 am

    Love this! Thank you for sharing!

  271. Jasmine Fast
    January 18, 2013 / 12:57 am

    Love this! Thank you for sharing!

  272. Bonnie and Ben
    January 19, 2013 / 3:45 am

    Quick questions: the JAVA color, did it turn out pretty black? Or is it more brown than black. I want to go dark but not black. Should I go with JAVA or an antique walnut?

  273. Sandy
    January 21, 2013 / 12:35 pm

    Found this on Pinterest.Can't wait to try it!Thanks for the tutorial!=)

  274. Anonymous
    January 21, 2013 / 5:23 pm

    Would this work on painted cabinets. My bathroom cabinets were painted white…HATE them!

  275. Curtis Frankie
    January 22, 2013 / 1:30 am

    THNAK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!Kitcken looks great so far concern is….Should you see ANY stain residue come off while applying the topcoat?

  276. Bethany Leszczewski
    January 26, 2013 / 1:33 am

    Ive been looking for something like this forever! We also have ugly honey oak cabinets and all the instructions say to sand ferociously and strip the paint. This seems MUCH easier! Thanks!

  277. Debby Schaefer
    January 26, 2013 / 4:05 pm

    Thank you for this! I just ordered the stain and am going to try it next weekend!

  278. Katie Howden
    January 28, 2013 / 6:54 am

    I know you get a million comments and questions on your stain tutorial but really, I just wanted you to know what a blessing you've been to the leagues of women who lament their oak cabinets. But no more! Now we all stand tall with our sock covered hands held proudly and attempt to stain ALL the things. If it's ugly and it's varnished we wield our socks with pride! I've been redoing my brother's house (he's lazy) for the past few weekends and it's been like a small miracle. His girlfriend and I now have a glorious relationship all based on the success of staining his cabinets! His friends are now my friends! And our parents have now even come to the "dark side" (They originally thought the oak was nice and a lovely selling point of the house. I shudder) And I hope you know that when someone goes to Amazon to look up General Finishes Gel Stain, they now include the suggestion for painters triangles and gel poly. General Finishes Java Gel Stain is now the #1 selling household wood stain on the internet, and I wouldn't doubt that it's all thanks to you! (They really should pay you or something.)So when you're feeling down because most of your traffic seems to be coming through just a small portion of your blog (which is silly really, the rest of your blog is delightful), please take heart in knowing that you have singlehandedly changed the kitchens and bathrooms of America (and beyond) with your single-sock-covered hand and a blog. You go girl!

  279. Sarah Carter Roberts
    January 28, 2013 / 2:10 pm

    this is great – thank you so much for your time in sharing

  280. kimrox
    January 31, 2013 / 1:36 am

    Wow… thank you so much for all of this terrific info! I stumbled across your tutorial on Pinterest, and am totally inspired! I've been looking at my honey oak kitchen for 10 years and hating it, and here's my answer! I'm moments away from ordering my gel stain. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!

  281. Piper
    February 1, 2013 / 8:59 pm

    I keep coming back to this post!! I am going to have to just jump in and DO IT!! I found the gel stain at wwwdotwoodworkingshopdotcom

  282. Caileen Sannan
    February 2, 2013 / 7:21 pm

    The Pinterest Gods guided me to your site and I fell in love. I too, have a kitchen and two bathrooms with ugly builder's grade light oak cabinets. I convinced my husband and we set to work. We spread the project out over three weekends to save our sanity (which was quickly disappearing on weekend #1); I am an obsessive neat freak and had a hard time dealing with the chaos that ensued at the start of this major project. In the end I am still married (love you hubby!) and love my kitchen more than I thought would ever be possible. You have a fantastic tutorial that we lived by. I do have one warning however, this project is not for the WEAK, but if you want it bad enough, it's yours!

  283. Kim
    February 2, 2013 / 11:35 pm

    This is BEAUTIFUL. I have builder special everything in my house and slowly chipping away at making it my own brand of special. I think I am going to include your own brand of special to mine. Thank you for the tutorial.

  284. Shellseakr
    February 4, 2013 / 8:30 pm

    Thanks for your easy to follow tutorial. I just recieved a quote for $6200 to reface my cabinet boxes and get new doors. Ridiculous!!! I will follow your instructions and makeover my kitchen myself. Thanks again. I found this on pinterest and have you in my blog folder so I can follow you.

  285. Anonymous
    February 5, 2013 / 11:53 pm

    Monica,My wife used your technique to put me to work on a little bit of a different project. We were having a yard sale and selling an old (but very sturdy) chest of drawers for a neighbor. But before we could sell it, my wife decided we should keep it and convert it into a buffet for our dining area…easier said than done. I removed the 6 drawers, tore out the insides (drawer guides, backing, etc) and used all the materials to make shelf supports, and installed 3 shelf levels. Then I used your technique to stain and topcoat it…What a transformation! Thank you for all of the amazingly useful information!p.s. There is one tip or minor modification that I would like to share with everyone. Instead of using vinyl gloves for the gel stain and topcoat application, use surgical gloves! I used vinyl gloves for the stain, but after destroying two pairs and losing a pound of water weight from my right hand, I decided to try surgical gloves for the topcoat application. I used a size that was too small for me and put a sock over that, and it was perfect because you could actually feel what you were doing and use your fingertips to get into tight spots. And when you're done, roll the glove off your hand with the sock inside, and discard in the trash. Easy as cheese!

  286. How Ya
    February 9, 2013 / 3:49 am

    Luv it! Can't wait to try it. I luv doing craft projects so I hope I have the patience!Thanks for taking the time to share!!

  287. Beth McJones
    February 12, 2013 / 3:20 am

    Thank you for this fabulous tutorial! I am so exited to update the cabinetry in my house for such a small amount of money! I hope to post here when I complete this goal. That being said, I have only just read your tutorial and have to get out there and get the supplies. Again, I thank you for your thoroughness and your willingness to share your expertise!

  288. Beth McJones
    February 12, 2013 / 3:35 am

    You were so smart to conquer the bathroom first, before tackling your kitchen. First, you could discover the overall look on a smaller space. Second, kitchens are a huge undertaking, and we all know that is where the ghosts of dinners past (read "grease") live. Good luck to you in accomplishing your goal of completing the kitchen. I look forward to those posts!

  289. jennifer
    February 12, 2013 / 3:23 pm

    We have the fake white vanities. I painted them a few years ago and it is peeling and is awful! I think I will try sanding the paint off and using the stain. Thanks for the inspiration!

  290. Tammi D
    February 14, 2013 / 4:05 pm


  291. Anonymous
    February 19, 2013 / 8:06 pm

    This is FANTASTIC! I've been looking for a way to 'fix' my kitchen so it doesn't look soooo…boring. (cabinets, island, and FLOORS are all that same honey oak color…GAH!) This is it! I was so worried it would be too difficult, or I could really screw it up, and while I'm still a *little* nervous (my nature), I have confidence that I can do it now, thanks to your post. I'll be sharing with my hubby & hopefully he'll buy in and HELP! 🙂

  292. Faith
    February 20, 2013 / 8:15 pm

    Just got my gel stain in the mail–looking forward to getting started. Thanks for the tutorial!

  293. Jillith88
    February 20, 2013 / 8:22 pm

    You've convinced me that I can make my ugly oak kitchen cabinets chic! Thanks for the detailed how-to!

  294. csobering
    February 20, 2013 / 8:30 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that there is only one place in Canada that I was able to find the General Finishes gel stain and that was at No where else would even consider shipping to Canada.Also, I went and tried two different products available here in Canada, Minwax and Varathane's gel stains. If you want a lighter colour the Varathane would work fine. The dark Walnut after quite a few coats would not get that rich dark colour I wanted. I went online and ordered the GF java from woodessence. It is shipping from Saskatchewan, I am hoping to have it by next week and that it will look great when I get it!

  295. Felicia
    February 21, 2013 / 4:52 pm

    I want to give you a huge THANK YOU!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!We recently bought our first home with, and I loved everything except the cabinets. We have stained the bathroom and are moving on to the kitchen. DH thought I was crazy, but your pictures convinced him and we are ecstatic with the results. THANK YOU!!

  296. JManFan
    February 22, 2013 / 3:13 pm

    Yay, I just found you via Pinterest! Can't wait to try this…thanks for the details and the reassurance!

  297. Amelia
    February 26, 2013 / 12:15 am

    My husband and I can't thank you enough. First coat drying in our kids bathroom…then moving on to ours…then the kitchen….then our railings 🙂 we have a lot of honey oak! Perfect tutorial!

  298. Stephanie
    February 26, 2013 / 1:21 pm

    I NEVER leave comments…..however, you made my day! It looks great and I am requesting the supplies for my birthday. (What else would a busy mother of 3 want for her 33 birthday! ) Great job, awesome tutorial and whitty to boot! (Much appreciation!)

  299. Stephanie
    February 26, 2013 / 1:22 pm

    I NEVER leave comments…..however, you made my day! It looks great and I am requesting the supplies for my birthday. (What else would a busy mother of 3 want for her 33 birthday! ) Great job, awesome tutorial and whitty to boot! (Much appreciation!)

  300. Janna Leech
    February 26, 2013 / 8:36 pm

    We are trying this project in our bathroom this weekend! Thank you for posting and I'll send you pics of the final product.

  301. Anonymous
    February 27, 2013 / 8:27 pm

    I'm in the middle of doing my master vanity and am SOOOO PLEASED with the results so far. Last coat of stain tonight and then onto my topcoats. Thank you very much for sharing this very informative tutorial.

  302. Anonymous
    February 27, 2013 / 8:28 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this very informative tutorial. I'm in the middle of doing my master vanity and it looks so much better already. I can't wait till it's finished!!

  303. Allison R.
    March 2, 2013 / 7:51 pm

    Just pinned this, thanks this looks great!

  304. Rachel Schulte
    March 3, 2013 / 2:30 pm

    Thank you so much! We have an older home and the oak kitchen cabinets have been bothering me since we moved here, but I've been terrified to mess with them for fear that I could make it worse, plus I thought it would be entirely too time consuming. I definitely have this bookmarked for my project this summer! You are a life-saver! 🙂

  305. Kale
    March 3, 2013 / 4:54 pm

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. My husband especially thanks you. He told me if it hadn't been for your tutorial he would have totally freaked out after the first coat haha.

  306. Kathleen
    March 4, 2013 / 10:33 pm

    Thank you so much for all your GREAT information and detail…I'm so excited (and overwhelmed) to take on my kitchen. I have just ordered the stain and poly and have my supplies list ready to go. I recently did something similar to my bathroom but I used paint. I've decided after reading your blog to go with stain for the kitchen. Wish me luck!! 🙂

  307. Beth McJones
    March 7, 2013 / 8:50 am

    My supplies finally arrived and I have started on my bathroom. If all goes well, I will do our second bath and kitchen. I went with Georgian Cherry stain. I am so excited!

  308. Beth McJones
    March 8, 2013 / 9:56 am

    Applied first cat of stain, love it! (I probably over-wiped)

    • Beth McJones
      March 9, 2013 / 7:51 am

      While waiting for my second coat of stain to dry (3 more hours,, I keep rereading your blog. This is the first time I have tackled a staining project, so I really want to do it right, especially since I bought enough supplies to conquer both bathrooms and the kitchen. I have learned something through rereading…I over wiped in the first step. I feel pretty confident that I can fix this by not over wiping in the third step, but we will see. I breathe in, and out and go!

  309. wee
    March 8, 2013 / 5:33 pm

    Our bathroom FILLS with steam when we use the shower, have you had any issues with water damage/steam damage? or does that poly seal keep it safe from water/steam?

  310. Maxine Parrish
    March 10, 2013 / 4:15 am

    Looks great! Will likely be trying this. Thanks!

  311. tbatz
    March 12, 2013 / 1:13 am

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I just started my vanity today, wish I had read this again before I began staining 🙁 I did use a sock, but I wiped off too much. Then didn't wait long enough before doing the second coat on the cabinet frame, used a foam brush for the whole thing, put too much on, then wiped too much off again making it look horrible. Ill sand some off tomorrow to make it more even. At least the doors and drawers look good with their first coat. Crossing my fingers that you'll answer back: did you sand between each coat of stain and poly like it said to on the General Finishes cans? Also, Please don't delete this post. Ill be reading it again when I get to working on other pieces of furniture!

  312. tbatz
    March 12, 2013 / 1:24 am

    Oops, I forgot to leave my email. If you get a chance to reply, tbatz11 at oh yeah, I also forgot to tape down paper onto my whiteish tile floor and now have a lovely permanent brown spot in the grout. Keeping fingers crossed for better luck tomorrow.

  313. Liz
    March 17, 2013 / 3:34 pm

    We are house shopping right now, and most of them do not have the dark cabinets that I want! I don't mind doing it myself, but did not know how. Thank you very much for the tutorial. I appreciate it very much!

  314. Iwright
    March 19, 2013 / 7:28 pm

    Super. We're planning on completely redoing our kitchen in May. With D day on May 6th. We bought a full set of oak kitchen cabinets on Craigslist for $200 but want them espresso. and yes our realtor says it's "in" and it "pops" So we're planning on painting them the espresso, which is more $$ but less time. What made you decide to stain (my husband thinks the stain would look better, so the grain of the oak comes out more)…?thanks

  315. Jack's Mama
    March 20, 2013 / 7:29 pm

    Love it!!!!! Doing my bathrooms this week!

  316. Beth McJones
    March 23, 2013 / 1:58 pm

    I created a new blog, and have linked to this project there. Thank you again. I am waiting for a new drill so I can finish reassembly and hardware additions. In the home stretch, yay!

  317. tmcsmitty
    March 23, 2013 / 2:55 pm

    I'm so excited to do this! I have the ugliest cabinets all throughout my house. Cannot wait!

  318. Paula Burgess
    March 29, 2013 / 2:49 pm

    Going to try this today…so excited….great tutorial!!!!!!

  319. Steph and Ben
    March 29, 2013 / 5:59 pm

    Hi Monica, Thanks for this amazing tutorial! I am at my parent's house, working to help them sell their place and I decided to try this out on the vanity in their bathroom. I just finished the last coat of stain and will get to the topcoat in 5 days! My question is this: did you sand between every coat? I sanded at the beginning per the tutorial directions, but I haven't seen any comments regarding the sanding issue throughout the rest of the steps. The back of the cans say to sand, but so far I have opted out and everything seems to be looking good. I really want to finish the job right so it would be useful to know how you went about this. Sanding vs. not sanding. Anybody??

  320. Anonymous
    April 2, 2013 / 11:33 pm

    I know I'm late to the party but thanks for this. I bought some stains to redo the cabinets in my bathroom and was so disappointed that the color didn't turn out as dark as I wished. Then I found this post and was so excited. I have ordered some Java Gel Stain and can't wait to see how it looks!

  321. Chlesey
    April 7, 2013 / 5:56 pm

    Can't wait to try this on our bathroom vanities and banister!

  322. Julie Drake
    April 14, 2013 / 11:20 pm

    I am going to pin this… what a fantastic tutorial.(and thank you for the FAQ) I am planning on doing this on my staircase banisters. Sweet!I have precisely 2 readers on my blog- my mother and my sister. And if they don't comment, I don't know if they have read my post or they don't like it or they just don't care. So this is my comment to you- THANK YOU for the tutorial, this will be the method I use for my staircase, and keep up the wonderful work!

  323. Stacy
    April 14, 2013 / 11:23 pm

    We just got our first coat on, and it looks fantastic! Our 20-year bathroom is in desperate need of a remodel, and my husband and I are SO HAPPY getting new cabinets won't be necessary. The color really is stunning, and even this fraidy cat got the hang of the sock-staining. It was actually quite relaxing and therapeutic!

  324. virginia madison
    April 15, 2013 / 6:17 pm

    Looking forward to doing this over the weekend with my hubby!

  325. cathy806
    April 22, 2013 / 4:12 pm

    I don't have oak will it still work? Mine are more of the ugly blond color.

  326. Becca
    April 23, 2013 / 3:02 am

    I just finished applying the first coat of stain to an ugly old dresser and I jut have to say THANK YOU!!! It is really scary to get started for fear of ruining a semi-decent piece of furniture, but man, the way it looks now as the first coat dries… it's totally like a brand new dresser. Thank you so much for writing out the tutorial and including pictures. I am in love. 🙂

  327. Renea
    May 2, 2013 / 3:23 am

    I am starting a master bathroom remodel and love the expresso furniture. The vanities in stores are so expensive so I will be looking for a dresser to convert. Will definitely use your tutorial! I am so excited! Thank you for posting your method an the results!

  328. Nadege King
    May 3, 2013 / 4:24 pm

    Great tutorial and I will follow your blog from now on. The beautiful home we are buying for our expanding family comes with rich oak custom built cabinets. I am tired of the honey stained cabinets from our 1st house, and crave to have espresso stained cabinets instead with granite counter tops. Thank you very much and I am excited to try your tutorial next month. I will keep you posted on the outcome!

  329. Carrie G
    May 5, 2013 / 10:38 pm

    I can't wait to try this in my kitchen with the Georgian Cherry by General finishes! Thanks for the tutorial

  330. Maeva
    May 10, 2013 / 6:44 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this tutorial! I found it on Pinterest and I've been browsing your blog since than, you have great posts that have inspired me :)I'm planning on doing this with my kitchen cabinets, but going to start off with a coffee table that's driving me nuts. We paid $30 for it, so if I mess it up it won't be a big deal, and right now is the only piece of furniture that doesn't match with the rest of our living room–and that's why it's driving me nuts. I'm waiting on my Amazon order to be delivered and will be back with pictures in a few weeks 🙂

  331. Procrasti-Mom
    May 11, 2013 / 4:53 am

    This is a fantastic tutorial! Thank you, Thank you! I am about 1/3 of the way through my master bathroom gel stain project and so far, so good!

  332. Anonymous
    May 19, 2013 / 6:08 pm

    Hi Monica! I just wanted to let you know I used your tutorial to stain a really beat up coffee table I found. I blogged about it and linked back to this blog so anyone who stumbles on my project can find you and praise you for an amazing tutorial. I did a few things differently, which I wrote about in my blog. Here's the link if you'd like to see it. YOU SO MUCH for this tutorial. Now to tackle my dining table, rocking chair, and whatever else my fiance will let me finish!!

  333. Anonymous
    May 20, 2013 / 11:41 am

    I did it! My bathroom looked mysteriously just like your “before” pictures. And now, it magically looks very similar to your “after” pictures! Like you, I started with the smallest bathroom, and now I’ll be moving on to my master bathroom, and for the grand finale: The Kitchen!I have to say, your tutorial was very inspirational. Your directions are fabulous! I really felt like I could actually do this. I ordered the General Finishes gel stain in Java from I bought my satin polyurethane from my local Lowes store. It’s not General Finishes brand, but it worked just fine.I had white, round, ceramic knobs with little pink and green roses painted on them. (precious, huh?). So, I spraypainted them with brushed nickel paint, and top coated them with a clear spray. New knobs!One thing: I actually liked the cabinet look before I coated them with poly. It was a matte looking finish and I really loved that. When I coated them with poly, it has a shiny finish, even though I used satin, and not gloss. Maybe I should have gone with a matte poly? Or, can I just leave the stained cabinets as-is, without putting a coat of poly on them? Will that hold up to time and wear? Hmmm…Any thoughts?

  334. Maeva
    May 27, 2013 / 12:29 am

    Just got done with my coffee table. It looks awesome and I already got a lot of compliments on it! (Before/After pictures here)Thank you again for sharing this tutorial with us!

    May 27, 2013 / 4:14 am

    Thanks Monica! I used this tutorial to stain my dining room table and am so happy with the results. Your tip on the sock is the best thing ever! Here is my post if you would like to take a look and I referred my readers to you for more info:)

  336. Rere
    May 29, 2013 / 4:51 pm

    So glad I found your tutorial on Pinterest and will Pin myself. Thank you for taking the time to do it! I rent, but the owner will let me do whatever I want. Sadly, the kitchen needs help and I have been at a loss of what to do besides painting the cabinets. You just inspired me big time! Inexpensive, a bit of labor, and a whole lot of happiness! We have peeling laminate over the wood in a few places, but with a bit of glue and a nice stain, it will not longer stand out. Thanks again. This is my summer project so time to plan! Can't wait.

  337. HalfWhit
    June 15, 2013 / 9:50 pm

    This is fabulous…looks so easy and I'm a fraidy cat when it comes to painting and DIY, but I'm totally going to try. Even a year later…Thanks for sharing.

  338. applegurl
    June 17, 2013 / 4:58 pm

    Thanks sooo much for the awesome tutorial. I am on my second coat now….Waiting for it to dry. even with only 2 coats my cabinets already look 10x better!! I am sharing your tutorial with others as well!

  339. Unknown
    June 17, 2013 / 6:04 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! I am doing it right now in my master bath and love it already. Think I'll have to tackle my other 2 bathrooms next. And my doors. And my trim. Lots of that honey oak in this house.

  340. Bridget Moore
    June 17, 2013 / 10:34 pm

    I was just doing my third coat-waited 24 hours before applying the second and 24 before applying the third-worked fine in my bathroom, but when going to do the drawers, two of four messed up-like the second coat came up. Grrrr…I think I'll have to redo them. I stopped when I realized what was happening. I'm hoping a little more drying time will be the cure. I live in Phoenix and it's summer so I'm not sure why the long wait. 🙁

  341. Rachel
    June 18, 2013 / 3:27 pm

    I LOVE this. I've been thinking about staining my cabinets for a loooooong time, weighing all the options for how to do it right … and I keep coming back to your post again and again. I think I'm going to try it for real this time – THANK YOU a million times (and a million times more if it works out well – I'll let you know 🙂

  342. Tiffany Renee
    June 23, 2013 / 9:37 pm

    I've been trying to work up the energy to do this in my kitchen and bathrooms since I first saw this post on Pinterest! I just don't know if I have the patience! This does look terrific though, you did an awesome job, thanks for sharing your technique!

  343. Alisha
    June 24, 2013 / 1:18 am

    I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you for this tutorial. My husband and I recently did this project. I am beyond happy with my cabinets. I appreciate you taking the time to document your experience. As a fellow blogger, I understand how much time it takes to blog. If you'd like to see my before and after pics, check out my blog at this link: Thanks again!

  344. Amarilys
    June 25, 2013 / 2:40 pm

    Hi There! I've been lurking around your blog for a while now and I finally did it! i re-did my master bedroom (all 5 pieces of it!) using this tutorial and I wanted to THANK YOU for writing this up and inspiring me to go ahead and do it! Thanks for all your little tips, they helped a lot! If interested, you can see pictures of the before and after on my facebook alum here: again!~Amarilys

  345. palmerck
    June 29, 2013 / 1:42 pm

    Thank you for reassuring me this is cheap and easy! Our house has just 1 bathroom, but it's huge – like 2 bathrooms put together. And full of oak. My BF is convinced it's too expensive to re-finish so we haven't touched it, even though the rest of the house has basically been gutted to the studs and rebuilt. I'm adding your blog to my reader right now!

  346. Noddynani
    July 1, 2013 / 1:01 am

    Thank you so much for the detailed tutorial. Yours turned out beautifully, I am inspired to do this on my kitchen island. Too late for the cabinets as I painted them white when I couldn't stand the oak another day. Just love your bathroom, can't wait to see the kitchen.

  347. Daniela
    July 3, 2013 / 1:43 am

    Looks great, I think I will give it a try. I have one question however. I clicked on the link you have to where you can buy the stain on Amazon and saw one example picture that looked EXTREMELY glossy. Much too glossy for my taste on cabinets, but yours looks just right. Do you think this probably because they used a high gloss finish? Do you think the pictures you have are an accurate representation of the actual gloss of how your bathroom turned out?

  348. She Simply Sews
    July 5, 2013 / 3:22 am

    Thank you for the details. I'm finally getting around to trying this. Love that color.Holly

  349. Tiffany: Diva Locks
    July 6, 2013 / 4:30 am

    I love the finished look! Great detailed post, I will definitely keep this post in mind when I am ready to tackle a staining project, thanks for sharing 🙂

  350. Kacey Batterton
    July 13, 2013 / 10:13 pm

    Totally doing this! Found you on Pinterest…rerunning now. Thank you!

  351. Jean Kraus
    July 14, 2013 / 5:39 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial! I love the way you write–it's understandable with some humor:)

  352. Jordan Embree
    July 16, 2013 / 2:39 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial and I love your results!!

  353. Haley D.
    July 18, 2013 / 9:45 pm

    Your cabinets look fabulous! Thanks so much for the great tutorial!

  354. Denise Fetsch
    July 21, 2013 / 1:42 am

    I saw the link to your tutorial 6 months ago on pinterest Bought gel stain immediately. Then daughter's wedding totaly consumed me. Hoping to do powder room vanity soon. Very similar to yours. Thank you for sharing your detailed steps!!!!

  355. Kmcvey
    July 21, 2013 / 11:26 pm

    I'm in the process of doing this right now. It looks great and I am so excited! Thank you for giving me the courage to do something I wouldn't have ordinarily tried. The gel stain is amazing!

  356. Kmcvey
    July 21, 2013 / 11:30 pm

    I am in the process of doing this right now. I just completed the 2nd coat of stain and they look great. Thank you for giving me the courage to try something I would not have usually done! The gel stain is wonderful.

  357. Kmcvey
    July 23, 2013 / 7:00 pm

    Just waiting for the 3rd coat of stain to dry. They look amazing and this was soooooo easy. I had never attempted anything like this before. The hardest part is having patience! Thanks so very much for the detailed tutorial!

  358. Lori
    July 23, 2013 / 8:22 pm

    This inspired me to do my first DIY project and I. Love. It.!!!!! Thanks for taking the time to put this out there with such easy to follow instructions!

  359. Amy
    July 27, 2013 / 1:17 am

    I am so excited to see this post! I bought a beautiful solid wood bedroom set on a Facebook yard sale forum for $200! It weighs a ton and is gorgeous, except for the honey oak finish. I am getting the stain this weekend to start transforming it into my dream bedroom set. Thanks!!

  360. Ashlie Martin
    August 12, 2013 / 2:09 am

    Oh my gosh, that looks AMAZING! I'm in the process of transforming my living room into a different color scheme, and my hand-me-down oak furniture would look SO much better in the dark espresso color you used. Now to work up the guts to just do it. Thanks for a wonderful tutorial. I plan on following it to a tee soon.

  361. Krista
    August 22, 2013 / 5:24 pm

    Great tutorial! I am curious if you found that the darker stain made your bathroom darker? I have a tiny full bathroom that I am wanting to re-do (vanity and medicine cabinet) but I am afraid that my window-less bathroom will feel even smaller and darker :/

  362. Seemit
    August 23, 2013 / 9:05 pm

    Holy Cow ! Two things I've been missing in life: 1. Gel Stain. 2. Woman like Monica.Seriously, Are you married? LoL.

  363. Christine Cabral
    August 27, 2013 / 9:33 pm

    Thank you so much for this!! Can't wait to try in on some re-purposed dorm desks!

  364. rebecca kelling
    August 30, 2013 / 3:22 pm

    Pinned this a year ago and I think I'm finally going to take on the task! Wish me luck and thank you for such a great tutorial!

  365. Stacy Lemmon
    September 13, 2013 / 3:26 pm

    Excited to try this! Thanks for such detailed instructions! Going to start in our bathroom and see how it turns out before I move onto the kitchen and guest bathroom.

  366. Cyndy Toupin
    September 14, 2013 / 7:58 pm

    This looks great and some great tips! Thank you for sharing. Looking for some designing input: I really like the oil rubbed bronze for accessories (faucet, towel holder, etc). Would the oil rubbed bronze go w/ the dark cabinets? Would it be weird to have the silver cabinet/drawer pulls on the cabinets with other components in the oil rubbed bronze? Could I put oil rubbed bronze pulls on the dark cabinets/drawers?

  367. mprjr
    September 15, 2013 / 6:12 pm

    I utilized your great advice and did a makeover on my kitchen. I hope you don't mind but I provided a link to your post and referenced your site on my blog post for a kitchen makeover at Thank you so much!!

  368. Cyndy
    September 16, 2013 / 12:23 am

    Know this is an old post, but just wanted to let you know I think it's an awesome tutorial. I haven't used gel stain before and I am surprised it covered so well.I might be inspired too try it…. I have a Pottery Barn coffee table in my basement that I picked up for $25 at the PB Outlet on Black Friday about 5 years ago. I sanded it because it has some scratches on top but that's as far as I got. it needs to be finished.

  369. Richardson2010
    September 30, 2013 / 5:29 pm

    Buying a house and can't wait to do this!

  370. Julie
    October 1, 2013 / 8:39 pm

    My stain just arrived! I cannot wait to do this.

  371. ~ToriMichele ~
    October 4, 2013 / 6:44 pm

    OMGAWD!!! I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS LOOK!!!! Thank you soooooo much! I'm off to the hardware store to see if I can find the stain! 🙂

  372. Melissa Rogers
    October 7, 2013 / 1:45 pm

    Monica, I love you! I completed this project in my main bathroom, and there are 2 more getting the same treatment. I was scared about the messy part, but this product was friendlier for me to use than plain old paint! Happy, happy, HAPPY! Thank you so much for the terrific tutorial!

  373. L Stain
    October 9, 2013 / 6:03 pm

    Awesome! Thank you for not deleting! Will try this and report back – you just saved me a ton of money and gave me hope for less honey oak in our new home. Lots of home design love coming your way!

  374. October 12, 2013 / 9:16 pm

    We just bought a house with a beautiful kitchen, but the cabinets are builders grade oak. I love that they are 42 inches tall, and that I have a ton of them, but HATE the oak. Then I stumbled across your tutorial on Pinterest. Wow. Just wow. I started with the island just to be sure I could do it correctly and that I could achieve the same results that you did and it turned out beautifully! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! I shared your tutorial on Pinterest and Facebook and cannot say enough times how easy this project was. Time consuming, but easy. You rock!

  375. Jenny
    October 20, 2013 / 4:11 pm

    This looks AMAZING! Reading your tutorial is giving me the confidence to tackle my double front entry doors! I was really dreading having to strip them altogether, and I think your method is key! Thanks so much for the detailed tutorial!

  376. Danielle
    November 3, 2013 / 12:25 am

    Thanks you for posting this!!!

  377. Joy Matkowsky
    November 3, 2013 / 7:13 pm

    In the middle of this process now on my bathroom vanity. Loving the results so far and I'm only on coat 2! Can't wait to finish so I can move on to painting the bath. 🙂 Thanks so much for this tutorial! You were so amazing to share this!

  378. April Henry Hundley
    November 4, 2013 / 4:10 pm

    For sure. We had the oil rubbed bronze on our espresso cabinets in our old house, and it was gorgeous. I included a picture, you may be able to see.

  379. April Henry Hundley
    November 4, 2013 / 4:15 pm

    Opps, wrong shot. You can see our light fixture in the first picture, and our cabinet pulls are easier to see in the second. Our cabinets were not finished with the method described above though. Ours were customs that were finished to our specifications. They were painted black by the cabinet master, and then sanded down some and finished over with a cherry wood mahogany glaze. That's what gives it the antiqued look and deep, rich patina.

  380. Errin Fouquet
    November 5, 2013 / 6:51 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial! I ordered all the products on Amazon and have finally started the process, but on my amazing dining room chairs I found on craigslist! I'm on coat #2 and they already look fantastic! I'll be tackling my grandmother's china hutch after, and then, finally onto the bath cabinets, kitchen cabinets, and railings! (Can you tell I'm hooked on this process?!) thanks, again!

  381. sara
    November 7, 2013 / 2:39 pm

    I drove really far (45 miles) to get the specific General Finishes" product. When I went to purchase the water based poly top coat, the employees stopped me and was adamant I had to buy the gel topcoat, not water based, it was a different product and wouldnt work. So now I'm home with my gel topcoat and concerned I will not get the same end result. Any thoughts on this woul be much appreciated!!

  382. Monica Benavidez
    November 7, 2013 / 2:48 pm

    I really wouldn't stress about it. Just use a topcoat, period. They stand behind their products, and it's hard to screw this project up. Good luck!

  383. Sarah
    November 9, 2013 / 12:37 am

    I am using a similar Gel stain here in Canada, It says to wipe it off. Just to clarify, you did NOT wipe it off? I am not getting the results I'm looking for and wondering where I am going wrong.

  384. Monica Benavidez
    November 9, 2013 / 12:39 am

    Don't wipe it off.

  385. Sharon Mason Clayton
    November 9, 2013 / 7:02 pm

    I am so excited about this project, my neighbor did this and it looks great, one question though, I have a bathroom vanity that I hated so I painted it, can this process be done over the paint, if so should I kilz it first or am I going to have to strip the paint off first. So ready to get started on this.

  386. keeganmm
    November 10, 2013 / 3:00 am

    OH NO! I just reread the whole tutorial and noticed you are not supposed to completely sand the wood. My husband sanded it down to the wood….anyone know if this will still turn out? I'm so nervous!

  387. Jodi Day
    November 10, 2013 / 5:01 pm

    Yay! Doing my bedroom furniture!Super easy! I have only done one coat and… I am afraid I put it on to thick! I guess I just need to wait for it to dry before applying next coat.Also need design input: This furniture has some detail work work that is getting lost with the dark stain. Would it be wise to highlight these details with paint or a lighter stain and if so what color?

  388. Lisa Jane Long
    November 12, 2013 / 10:10 pm

    Love it! I was going to paint my cabinets, but decided to Google Search staining them…your blog came up. This is really good info…thanks! I'm doing it!

  389. Sharon Clayton
    November 23, 2013 / 2:53 am

    I Love Love Love this stain, just finished my bathroom vanity last weekend, I had painted this vanity some time back and had just about decided to rip it out and buy a new one, my neighbor told me about this stain and decided I didn't have anything to lose…so I went right over the painted cabinet and it now looks beautiful! Kitchen is next…can't wait!!!!

  390. Elizabeth Cantrell
    December 4, 2013 / 9:00 pm

    Monica, we just used your amazing tutorial to stain our kitchen cabinets. Thank you so much for this!! Our cabinets look 100 times better and we've received tons of compliments. This was our first really big DIY undertaking, so I was pretty nervous starting out, but I'm so glad we did it. Your tutorial was so much help, thank you again for putting the time into this!

  391. sbless
    December 14, 2013 / 3:52 pm

    We just moved in to our new house, and while we love the location the honey cabinets circa 1994 just don't do it for us. They didn't do it for the previous occupants either because they decided to glaze them. Now they are a lovely shade of honey gray. Think cheap hobby lobby antique color. Yuck! I saw a friend pin this post and I figured I couldn't make it much worse. . . So I decided to give it a try. Well I tested the back of one drawer and after that I'm convinced this is already a success! I just finished coat one on all drawers in our guest bath and I'm excited to see the results in a a few weeks. Thanks for the great diy and faq. Great blog as well, you've inspired me for the rest of the house!

  392. Anonymous
    December 20, 2013 / 4:02 pm

    I just finished two bathrooms using your advice. Very easy and an extraordinary results! The most difficult part was taping off. When I didn't tape it well, I have some bleed out on the wall. The second time I was much more careful. Also….When I tackle my kitchen next, I will let the final coat dry an extra day. I noticed in some areas, the gloss rubbed off some stain. I used the java and cherry. Great stuff. Thanks for such excellent details. LOVE the new look of cabinets!

  393. Luhra
    January 16, 2014 / 4:14 pm

    I followed your tutorial for my master bath last fall and I'm about to start on my second bath. It was easy just a bit time consuming for the doors since mine have double bevels. I did find the best tool for getting into the corners (foam brush couldn't do it) was a toothbrush. Thanks for posting this. I really hated the honey oak but was scared I would ruin the cabinets; now they're beautiful!

  394. Chris P
    January 17, 2014 / 11:27 pm

    This is totally awesome!I have been wondering about gel stain and wanting to try it. But not sure of the color will it look like espresso blackish color or more like a rich chocolate brown?

  395. Katie House
    January 20, 2014 / 8:42 pm

    I am in the middle of this project now and it's going great. Thank you so much for the detailed instructions! I'm finding it hard to wait out the drying time because I just want to take the amazing after photo 🙂 In due time!!

    • Monica @
      January 20, 2014 / 9:53 pm

      I totally agree that waiting is the hardest part, but it's totally also the most important for drool worthy "after" photos. I hope it all turns out well- keep me posted!

  396. Lea
    January 22, 2014 / 4:53 pm

    I love the look but can I use the same paint for cabinets that are not real wood. The front of my cabinets are wood only but not the rest.

  397. Colette
    January 27, 2014 / 6:52 pm

    I wanted to thank you so much for this tutorial. I have used it to stain two bathroom vanities, a set of coffee tables, 3 bar stools and a mirror. I LOVE this stain.Here is my latest project using this tutorial. I am so very proud of it, and I owe it to you for inspiring me.

  398. Mona Rehan
    February 1, 2014 / 3:58 am

    I'm so ready to try this one! I was wondering, would spray on top coat in a satin finish work?

  399. Amy
    February 8, 2014 / 8:15 pm

    Just finished one bathroom…on to the next! I shared my before and after pictures on facebook and now all my friends want to know how I did it, so I sent them here! Thanks so much!

  400. Pia Schulze
    February 21, 2014 / 3:25 pm

    Wow this is exactly what I was looking for. I JUST HAVE TO GET MY HUSBAND ON BOARD LOL

  401. Susan Hopkins
    March 10, 2014 / 2:07 pm

    Hello has anyone done touch ups after there cabinet has had poly no them? If so can you please tell me how you went about it. Did you sand first? Etc I need the steps to do a touch up.Thanks so much for any help.

  402. jelly0belly
    May 4, 2014 / 3:32 am

    Thanks for giving me the courage to try this! I have been wanting to change my cabinets but was afraid to. With your great tutorial, I have already finished 3 bathrooms and am getting ready to start on the kitchen and laundry room!! My husband had his doubts but now talk about how expensive they look.

  403. Janet
    May 7, 2014 / 12:55 am

    We need to sell our house FAST! This should do it! The cabinet looks wonderful! So glad I pinned this a while ago. Must have known id be needing it!

  404. C
    May 17, 2014 / 11:00 pm

    Love how it changes the entire look of your entire bathroom – the counter tops look like a nicer colour! I am totally going to try this. Eeeeee!!!

  405. bobbie harrington
    June 22, 2014 / 6:16 pm

    My cabinets are black do I need to sand and then kilt are do I just sand before doing this?

    • Monica @
      June 23, 2014 / 1:46 pm

      Hi Bobbie! Given that your cabinets are black, I don't think this method would work for you. Sorry– good luck!

  406. Cracked Pestle
    July 6, 2014 / 2:25 am

    I may need to apply a fourth coat of stain, and I started with dark pine cabinets. Hey, I don't mind. It's gorgeous! But don't forget the toe space, like I did. I noticed it today while our decorator was here, LOL! At least I spotted it before she did.

  407. Karen
    July 24, 2014 / 2:32 am

    I did this with a small bookcase and it turned out really well. It was just laminate, but I had sponge-painted it about 15 years ago in green :-/ (It seemed like a good idea at the time…) It took A LOT of sanding with an electric sander to get the green paint off, but after that your instructions worked like a charm. I only needed a half-pint of the gel stain. I didn't use the gel poly, though. I just used regular satin poly with one coat. Since it's a bookcase, I'm not too concerned because it won't get the same wear and tear as bathroom or kitchen cabinets. Thanks again for the clear step-by-step instructions!

  408. Meg
    August 15, 2014 / 12:43 am

    I'd love to know how your stained cabinets/drawers are doing now that you've lived with them for 2 years. Has the finish held up? Is it showing wear & tear near the handles? Anything you'd do differently? Thanks a bunch! Your tutorial is awesome. 🙂

  409. Suzy
    August 23, 2014 / 4:43 pm

    I just refinished my honey oak china cabinet following your instructions and it came out beautiful…I bought a new table and chairs and they match exactly. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this tutorial and the photos.

  410. Anonymous
    September 12, 2014 / 2:18 pm

    wish I'd seen this before I brought a new bathroom cabnet not to worry there is still the kitchen to do

  411. meheksawani
    September 17, 2014 / 7:44 pm

    Can I use oil based polyurethane Satin topcoat?? I couldn't find the one u used 🙁

  412. The D'Alessandro Family
    November 5, 2014 / 10:07 pm

    Any idea why after two coats it still looks streaky? I'm using the sock (not the brush) and am being careful to do thin coats. Is it in the technique?! I was trying not to over-think it, but I'm starting to worry. thanks 🙂

    • Monica Benavidez
      November 12, 2014 / 3:50 am

      Hi there! Usually the 2nd coat is still not quite "good", but just keep going! 🙂 It'll all even out–literally. Good luck!-Monica

    • The D'Alessandro Family
      November 12, 2014 / 12:00 pm

      THANKS! The 3rd coat did look better, but I ended up needing to put a super light 4th coat on the dressers just to touch it up (the drawers were fine). I'm guessing it's bc they were originally off white. They look beautiful now!!! I'm just waiting for them to dry so I can do the poly and hopefully I won't screw that up 🙂 Thanks for such an awesome tutorial!!! YOU ROCK!!!

  413. Suzy
    November 12, 2014 / 2:48 am

    After 2 coats, it will still look streaky, but keep doing what you are doing… light coats with the sock…try to keep straight lines and most important, make sure it's completely dry between coats. I strictly followed Monica's directions and my piece turned out beautiful. Did you use the general finish product?

    • The D'Alessandro Family
      November 12, 2014 / 12:04 pm

      Thanks! The 3rd coat did look better, although I did end up needing to use a super light 4th coat to touch up the dressers. And yes, I'm only using the general finishes product and following the directions exactly. I'm so glad I found this tutorial!!! Super easy!!! I might just end up doing my whole house now that I know what I'm doing 🙂

  414. Tina Mower
    November 12, 2014 / 3:41 am

    We are having a disagreement at home….to stain or not stain the backs of the drawers. What do u suggest?

  415. Tina Mower
    November 12, 2014 / 3:42 am

    Question. u recommend staining the backs of the drawers?

    • Monica Benavidez
      November 12, 2014 / 3:51 am

      I don't see why, but personally I'm lazy and wouldn't bother. It's all personal preference though, so do what makes you happy (and helps keep your sanity). xoxo,Monica

  416. Anonymous
    November 19, 2014 / 4:54 am

    Wondering how this has held up in the years?

  417. Suzy
    November 19, 2014 / 6:56 pm

    Someone asked how this would hold up over the years…I think it would be fine if you put the satin finish over it to seal it.

  418. Anonymous
    January 21, 2015 / 6:45 am

    Hi Monica!! I am a first-time home owner and am SO happy I found your post! I will totally try this – super nervous, but I think this post coupled w/your FAQs is totally motivating me. Eep! Will def. send you a link to the results. THANK You for posting this!! Check out my blog at to follow my journey. 🙂

  419. Quincy
    February 15, 2015 / 2:12 am

    I see that you used the color Java. It looks black in your photo. Is the final product black or a dark brown? I just purchased a medicine cabinet at Lowes in a color called Java but it's a dark mahogany-like brown, not black. I'd like to stain my oak vanity to be a similar color. Two questions…is yours black? If so, is there another stain color you would recommend to achieve more of a dark brown look?

  420. Anonymous
    February 18, 2015 / 6:53 pm

    this is more of a dark brown than a black correct?

  421. Sallie424
    February 24, 2015 / 12:53 am

    Woweee You go girl ! This is just what I needed !!! I need a dbl process on my honey oaks. (Distress but not have the honey oak peaking through.) I will use your technique, with abandon, 😉 before the chalk paint goes on, with a wet removal process. I am breathing more easily already.Thank you Thank you Thank you

  422. peekaboosmom
    February 24, 2015 / 4:00 pm

    Hi! Love this! Would the same technique and products work on finished wood furniture?

  423. peekaboosmom
    February 24, 2015 / 4:02 pm

    Hi! I hope I'm not re-commenting (I'm new to this process and keep getting prompted back to this spot!), but am wondering if this technique and these products would work on finished wood. I have some bedroom furniture that I would like to update for my university bound son's home away from home.

  424. Fegerle
    July 23, 2015 / 3:27 am

    I already have stripped my cabinet doors- sealer and coat of paint are off. Can I still use this method? Thanks!

  425. Emily Kablis
    July 23, 2015 / 12:24 pm

    Gel stain ordered! Can't wait to try this on like 17 pieces of furniture I've collected to restain! Will report back soon, thanks so much for the tutorial!

  426. Rhonda W.
    September 15, 2015 / 6:28 pm

    I am right in the middle of applying your technique on my husbands bathroom cabinets. What surprised me the most was using the men's sock, brilliant idea! The first coat I used my go to method of using a sponge brush. I usually always end up using the sponge brushes for nearly all projects. of course the first coat looked, streaked, etc. Expected that. However today for applying the second coat I decided to give the sock a try since I had noticed that I didn't have a lot of control with the sponge brush. Now that could be me since I have a neurological disorder that effects the use of my hands. But there were areas that were tight to get the gel stain on with the brush and with the sock? Not one issue at all! Had perfect control over what I was doing and the results look great.Only thing I had to do was use two disposable gloves under the sock as my fingernail poked through the first time I tried it. I'll always use one of hubby's socks for applying gel (I better get a new supple of socks in for him).

  427. NazahForReal!
    September 26, 2015 / 12:20 pm

    Thanks for the idea, I also plan on starting this project soon. You did a great job!

  428. Jean Dudley
    October 7, 2015 / 6:41 pm

    I just came across to your site and THANK YOU!!! I have a small oak dresser to finish, a table I got from Good will and will do my bathroom cabinets. Thanks!! Oh, your finished cabinets are Awsome!!

  429. Suzy
    October 7, 2015 / 11:08 pm

    If you follow her steps exactly, it will turn out just like Monica's… it work for me!

  430. ohemaa
    October 13, 2015 / 3:44 pm

    I love your blog, you know why?, because unlike many bloggers who post on DIY and never give many details (so we constantly have to ask in the comment section where did you buy this or that which is so annoying cos something they dont even answer back and i am thinking why the hell are you blogging?). You on the other hand are very precise and very detailed to a "T" – you list everything you used and where you purchased it etc etc and you respond to comment. I mean the reason we all visit DIY blogs is to learn and get inspired and i absolutely hate it when DIY bloggers just post images of their finished product yet will never state which paint, tools etc they purchased and where they purchased it to make it easier on us who are reading to get inspired. Your Blog is PERFECT, i am a new sub.Thanks.(I am just getting into DIY starting with IKEA TARVA and RAST for my bedroom. So i am searching DIY blogs for inspiration and ideas. )

  431. Rita Shimniok
    January 23, 2016 / 12:40 am

    A friend sent this to me and am considering in lieu of painting my golden oak cabinets…however, two people in the household are very sensitive to fumes. What are the VOC levels on this type of gel stain? Anyone who has used it could chime in here and help me out. Thanks!

  432. Alex
    February 26, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    Wow, this is amazing! We just bought a new house that has the same gorgeous oak cabinets (barf!). We are thinking of painting them, but now you've opened up the door of possibilities!

  433. jskrmk
    May 30, 2016 / 1:06 am

    You certainly do speak the truth. I'm usually the biggest coward at even thinking about attempting a project like this but in desperation to save $$$ I figured that I had nothing to lose. Boy is this a confidence booster. Two bathrooms down, now doors are next then our 1970's waterbed and lastly the kitchen. And I didn't hate any of it. You're descriptive tutorial was a true blessing for us. Thank you. My encouragement for others-have no fear!

  434. Beth
    June 17, 2016 / 3:45 pm

    Thanks for this post! I did cabinets in 2 bathrooms with this tutorial back in 2013, then we moved out of state (not an expected move) and I have now done bedroom furniture from my grandmother. the furniture was not my taste, but I cherish it because it was my grandparents'. now I also love it for how it looks!!

  435. Shawn Reed
    July 27, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    I started this project yesterday in my master bathroom, using the products and methods listed. I only changed the cleaning method – I used TSP since my cabinets are 28 years old and have A LOT of build up – and I chose General Finishes Black stain instead of Java because it matches better with my bathroom paint color. As Monica says, socks are the best for application! The foam brush just doesn't cut it for me even though I'm having to use it a bit to get into small crevices.Coat #1 went on exactly as described – streaky and scary looking. By the time I was finished, it was too late for a shot of tequila, so I just went to bed! 😉 Coat #2 will go on this afternoon. I can't wait to see the end result!Thank you for an easy-to-follow tutorial and the inspiration to tackle this! Shawn

  436. Unknown
    July 29, 2016 / 7:28 pm

    Thank you SO much for your tutorial. Because of your post, I redid my bathroom vanity in Antique Walnut and then I went ahead and stained all of my kitchen cabinets!! I love the way it turned out!! I posted about it on my blog if you want to see – Thank you so much for sharing!! You saved my kitchen and bathroom from the 1970s 🙂

  437. Jeff
    September 9, 2016 / 5:29 pm

    I just did the same thing after reading your blog. Looks great.

  438. Jen
    December 28, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Love this tutorial! I am currently doing this and on my second coat! One question, after which coat should I stop seeing the streaks?! I just did my second coat and im still seeing lots of streaks, and totally freaking out about it. I'm doing light coats and trying not to wipe too much, but am I still doing something wrong or will it look like this until after the 3rd coat?

  439. Pam B
    February 26, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    Here I am again in 2017 going back to your post to make sure I have the right drying times! First I did my son's condo vanity, and now I'm doing my own condo's cabinets. Here's a tip I found out for using gel stain … it is perfect to refresh woodwork and baseboards, right out of the can, using the rubber glove/sock method, but in this case rubbed into the cleaned woodwork (must be clean, tsp). To refresh woodwork you use a color as close as possible to your current color … this is not a re-do, but a refresh, and you'd be amazed at how 60 year old, or 40 year old or 30 year old woodwork can come to life after being wiped with this magical gel stain! Thanks for getting me started.

  440. Lisa Joy
    May 26, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    Wow…. just beautiful! I plan on trying your technique on a oak curio cabinet. Going to apply the dark gel stain. Thanks for all of your great instructions.

  441. Lisa Joy
    May 26, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    Beautiful job.. love the end results… plan on following your technique on my old oak curio cabinet. Many Thanks for sharing.

  442. Unknown
    June 25, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    I just tried it this weekend and it looks fabulous, Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial.

  443. Halle Bose
    August 10, 2017 / 1:52 pm

    Good tutorial

  444. Bridget E Wilson
    November 6, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    I used this tutorial about 5 years ago and it still looks perfect! I’ve just started another almost identical bathroom vanity and my 1st coat still isn’t completely dry after almost 24 hrs. Any suggestions?

    • monicawantsit
      November 6, 2018 / 2:16 pm

      Best bet is to let it dry longer- humidity, temperature and other factors can affect drying time, so just be patient. 🙂

  445. fancynancy
    January 3, 2019 / 1:22 pm

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! We bought a house that is just swimming in golden oak with built ins all over the place. The cabinets are in perfect shape so I hate to replace them. I am starting in the bathroom if I like the results I’m willing to put in the time to do it everywhere! God bless you!