We are huge fans of many General Finishes products, including their milk paints, high-performance top coats, flat-out-flat top coat and their oil-based stains. But their water-based wood stains are a true game-changer, allowing DIYers to get great coverage and quick dry time.
We've used General Finishes products for years, and sold them for the past two years. But we were slow to try their water-based wood stain products because other water-based stains we had tried were pretty wimpy. Once we took the plunge, we found these work like a charm. General Finishes recently expanded their lineup with even more colors, which means one thing: we'll be looking for more projects to use them on.
Do you need more convincing to try one? Okay, here are five ways to use water-based wood stain:
1. On bare wood. New, raw wood can be hard to stain evenly (especially maple and pine), but we've found the water-based stains go on easily and cover in one coat. Since they dry quickly, you can top coat them the same day. If you're afraid a water-based stain will raise the grain of your wood, you can first raise the grain with by wetting the wood, let it dry, lightly sand, then apply the stain. General Finishes also offers a water-based pre-stain conditioner to help ensure even coverage.
2. To re-color stained furniture and cabinets. Most of us have encountered "golden" (sometimes orange) oak cabinets in our lives. The water-based wood stains can be mixed with High Performance Top Coat (we like Satin), and painted over golden oak to tone things down to a muted gray or rich brown. No need to sand or strip the old finish, and they'll dry in record time.
3. To refresh worn stained pieces. If you love the original color of a piece, you can refresh it with water-based wood stain, especially now that General Finishes has added several new colors to this line. Mix it with top coat and paint it on to give furniture or cabinets a fresh new look.
4. Over paint as a glaze or wash. General Finishes offers glazes in basic colors: Van Dyke Brown, Burnt Umber, Black, and Winter White. But the water-based wood stains offer variety of grays and browns that can be washed over paint to add character and bring out details in painted pieces. (We recommend sealing your paint first with high performance top coat to make it easier to move the stain around.)
5. As a whitewash/pickling effect. This gorgeous dresser was updated using General Finishes' white wash water-based wood stain. (Credit to Nap Time Furniture Creations for sharing their pictures of the finished piece.)
If you've tried one of these "wonder stains", do tell us how your project turned out. (Or better yet, send us a picture.) If you've got questions, ask away and we'll do our best to answer!
WHO WRITES THIS STUFF?
I'm Terry Lea, owner of Re-Invintage Home, a vintage home goods shop just south of Nashville in Murfreesboro, TN. A lifelong passion for vintage picking led me to open a shop with my picking pal, Sherri in 2017. Come see us!