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  1. This process turns out beautifully. I have a Drexel 5-sided lamp table in pecan that needs the top refinished after 35 years of use. I would like the top a bit lighter to match the other tables in the room. Is this possible? The sides on this table are still like new.

    • Great question Sheryl! These particular end tables had a wood inlay in a funky pattern and I wanted to make sure that you could not see that inlay through the stain. That’s why I painted it. If your furniture is light and has an even finish, by all means continue with the gel stain without the layer of paint. Just make sure you sand it really well first. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the easy to follow and inspirational tutorial! I am doing this exact process to make my parent’s dining room table to give it a new life:-)

    • So glad you are using this process! It has never failed me. I have used it on our dining table, coffee table and several other projects. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. These came out beautiful! You say that gel paint can be used on laminate, is it the same process? Sand it first then apply the gel stain? I bought a dresser and I want to do the same as these tables with the dark top and I keep reading that laminate cannot be stained. Can you help me with this question?

    Thank you!

    • Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Yes, it can be used on laminate. You might want to sand more and use a primer like Zinsser 123 Bullseye (thick coat) before your base coat. I just used Gel Stain on some plastic picture frames and it worked really well. The gel stain would have no problem adhering but you just want to make sure the base coat (if you use one) adheres. Let me know if you have any other questions and thank you for reading!

  4. I truly enjoyed this tutorial, but even more so how you incorporated God’s love for us and how He desires for us to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, into your work. I was struggling with something this past couple days, but it’s only through Gods love that I happened upon you on Pinterest. This totally helped me in my decision and I am so very thankful.
    I have just started upcycling furniture and recently shared with family and friends, via FB, my first ‘Passionately Painted Piece’. And in that post, I too wrote how painting helps me in finding relief from a stressful day.
    Your piece is beautiful and so are you!
    Thank you and may God continue to help you in sharing with others your beautiful work and His word!

    • Your encouragement means more to me than you know. Thank you so much and I hope the furniture you work on provides you with some time to relax and enjoy God. Thank you again Sharon!

  5. Thank you such for this tutorial…I have found my new love and enjoy up cycling furniture…my nap time unwind time. 😉 Also, I love the comparison you made about how God has cleansed us from our sins and made us into something new! Amen!

  6. I am working on a piece using this process now. I am putting it on veneer which the Minwax can says is ok. However, it’s been 24 hours since the gel was applied and it’s still tacky. Since I knew I would put two coats as you did, I made sure not to put the first coat too thick. Any advice? Thanks.

      • Karin, thanks for replying so quickly! I was beginning to wonder if I should remove and start over but I’ll just wait it out. The piece is looking really nice so I wanted this to work.

  7. I want to try to refinish my coffee and end tables but have been afraid to start. I have never refinished any furniture but you made this look so easy that I hope to start after Mother’s Day. I do have a question about the polyurethane, I have no idea what kind to use as the tables get a lot of use and I don’t really want a shine, do you have suggestions for me?

    • Carmen, first of all, I’m so sorry it took me so long to reply. You have a great question about the polyurethane. I understand being nervous about staining as I was the first time I used the process. Fortunately, this type of staining is very forgiving. I used MinWax Semi-gloss Polyurethane. The first time I used this type of process was on my dining table. I did not sand it very well and the surface was kind of rough, which was fine. The problem was when I used a satin polyurethane… All polyurethanes start out as full gloss and then the company adds an additive to dull down the shine. The problem with all the unevenness is that the additive was settling in the lower bumps and it looked really weird. Fortunately, I put a coat of semigloss on top and it “fixed” the finish. So, I say all that to say that I feel safer using the semi-gloss although in a perfect world I prefer satin. Also, on my table, I used 6, yes 6, coats of poly. because I wanted to be able to set whatever glasses I wanted to on it without worrying about rings. With that much poly., I felt like the layers of satin would look cloudy after a while. So, my point is that, if you do one or two coats of polyurethane, I would feel confident using the satin. If you do more coats than that, I would use semi-gloss. Honestly, my semigloss pieces have dulled over the last couple years and now look satin. Either way, make sure you sand well. Does that answer your question? Feel free to ask any others and feel free to practice on a piece of wood if that would help you feel more comfortable! Thanks for reading!!!

  8. Your tables turned out beautifully! This is probably a silly question, but I’m new to the furniture refinishing process so forgive me…..did you sand and prime the table top and legs?? I know you must sand before using the gel stain (for the table top), but I’m not sure if it’s the same with latex paint (for the legs). Thank you!

    • That is not a silly question AT ALL! The legs were really glossy so I put a thick coat of primer. I sanded just a little by hand because its so time consuming to sand curvy legs. I think the key is thick primer. For the legs and the rest of the table, I just used latex paint after the primer. Thanks for reading!

  9. Awesome job! I have never used gel stain and always wondered how it would turn
    Out on my project. You covered the instructions well. I am going to give it a try. I have been afraid to buy those bad stained pieces at a garage sale, but no longer…..wooho!
    Thank you,
    God bless
    Tricia Sadler

  10. Your tables are beautiful! I have a very large(think board room) dining table. It seems to be made from a type of plywood. It is honey color which is awful in my newly painted (SW Repose Gray) dining room. I wanted to sand it down and restain it in a darker stain, but I think I have sanded too much because now it has a pink edge. Do you think I could paint it in a base color like you did above and then add a gel stain? I understand it’s hard not actually seeing the piece, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. Blessings, Andrea Nelson

    • I think you could definitely do that! I just added an update to my post. After doing this process several times, I now like Behr Glazed Pecan as the base. It’s a little darker and you only have to do one coat of gel stain. I think this would be a great process to revive your table. Since it sounds like a big project, you might have someone to help you with getting the gel stain on. It takes a long time to dry which is nice because you have more time to work with it, but still it might be easier to have someone help you. Good luck and be sure to send me a pic! Let me know if you have any questions! 🙂

  11. I’ve painted my table with an off white chalk paint and then topped w a dark gray. I was going to sand to add distressing showing different shades. Could I then use the gel stain to add depth? What are your thoughts? Thanks

    • Great question Ashley! It depends on what look you are going for. The gel stain is very thick – think pudding consistency. So, you are not going to get a subtle transparent look in the places you add the gel stain. Regular stain is much thinner and might be a better fit depending on the look you are going for. I hope that helps! Let me know if it doesn’t.

  12. I have been looking for something like this. I was gifted a light wood changing table, and the rest of the room has dark furniture. Do you think it could work for this application? The changing table is in great shape. Do you think I would need to sand it or could I simply put the gel stain over the current finished table?

    • I would sand it a little bit so the gel stain “sticks” a little better. Then just wipe it down with a damp cloth and you are good to go! Thank you for stopping by.

  13. There are so many whites to choose from for the legs? I like what you chose. Do you remember what the name of the white was? Also, I can’t find the Behr Glazed Pecan at my HD. Do you know if they changed it, and if so what it is comparable to? Thanks!

    • Such great questions. Go to the desk at Home Depot and ask them if they can match your paint to Behr Glazed Pecan. They should still have it in their system even if it isn’t with the paint samples. Also, I used Behr pure white for my white. Let me know if I can answer any other questions Bridget!


    • Hi Julie,
      Yes, you can use it over the existing stain to make it darker! Gel stain is such a versatile product. It’s wonderful! I have not used it for antiquing but I think it should work well. I would test a small area first. Thanks Julie!

  15. I love the way you finished these tables. I have a dining room table that I want to finish to look very similar. The top has a veneer and I accidentally sanded through an area during prep. I have used wood putty to fill the hole and then sanded it. I then used GF Java Gel for the stain, but the coverage was terribly splotchy. Seeing your tables, I think that applying Zinsers, with a base coat of paint b4 using the Java Gel may be my solution. 🙂 My question is…why did you used that particular color (Glazed Pecan) for your base coat? Was it because it was close to the original color of your table….OR….is it because it is the “perfect” color to use under Java Gel to get the result you were after. My thoughts are that any color as the base coat will do….but, I thought I’d ask.


    • Thank you so much Angel! I used the Glazed Pecan because it seemed to work best. I used a yellower base coat color the first time and it just looked out because the lighter parts of the faux grain just looked too light and yellow. So, the Glazed Pecan is as warmer, color with more brown/orange and it seemed to simulate the look of stained wood better. I hope that helps and thanks for stopping by!


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