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Staining Laminate - Yes, It Can Be Done!

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So about 2 years ago I felt a little ambitious and decided to take on my office cabinets, the orange-ish color laminate that wasn't offensive, but just wasn't my style or taste.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
So about 2 years ago I felt a little ambitious and decided to take on my office cabinets, the orange-ish color laminate that wasn't offensive, but just wasn't my style or taste. I'd painted laminate in the past and had what I'd call so-so results. Yes, they look great right after I'd done them, but the results never lasted. What do I mean when I say the results never lasted? Always, every single time they'd end up peeling later down the road. User error? Possibly, but not likely. I know some have had success, but not me.
I decided to try something a little different by using a gel stain on the laminate and boy was I surprised at the results...2 years later!
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
You see the date on the calendar in the previous picture? October 2014, that's when I first took on the project, and yes it took a while to finish up the office because I had a big load on my plate at the time. Here's the pic from just the other day, January 2016, and the cabinets have held up great!
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
Since the office was on the project list for 2016, yes I make project lists, I decided it was as good a time to finally finish it up. You're going to be amazed at the difference a little Java gel stain can accomplish.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
Before; your basic stock laminate cabinets with an orangish color to them. They weren't awful, I did live with them for many years like this and was content until the idea of mixing it up came to the forefront.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
It was pretty easy too, no real prep work other than making sure they were clean. One thick coat and they were done. Yup, that easy.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
I'd highly recommend using gloves when working with this gel stain. It's sticky, and the only way to get it off your skin is by using paint thinner or nail polish remover. I just bought a large box at Costco because I tend to go through them fast.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
My favorite gel stain is the General Finishes brand. They've got great colors to choose from and a quart will go a long way. I probably used about half a can with this project, but that's because I brushed it on thick. How you use it will vary on how much you need. You can purchase it from Amazon, but I found it cheaper locally at a woodworking store.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
I put it on like paint, but with a light touch. I found working with laminate, if I over brushed it the orange color would show through, and I didn't want that. So light easy strokes is the best method, and even though this technically doesn't have a true grain, you can create one by making sure your brush strokes are all in the same direction.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
I also found that when working with glass on the doors, it was okay to get a little stain on the glass. I later went back and used a razor to scrape it off.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
While the doors and shelves were drying, I stained out the wall cabinets.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
I even restained the dry erase board to match the cabinets as well.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
Turned out pretty nice I'd say.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
It gives the office a nice rich feel that makes me want to be productive while I spend 8+ hours a day in there writing.
  • staining laminate yes it can be done, home office, painting cabinets
This bench was done 2 years ago using a slightly different method. I did more of a dry brushing to give it a grained look like real wood.
Looks like real wood, doesn't it?
One note, it takes about 5-10 days for the gel to fully cure. What I mean by that is once it's not tacky, you can put things back together, but take care that you don't scratch the finish. You can retouch, and once it's fully cured you shouldn't have any issues unless of course you accidently scrape it with something sharp, just like any other wood product.
Well, I'm off to be productive in my newly revamped office space. Wish me luck!
Toodles!
*If you'd like to see more pictures or details, follow the link to my blog.

To see more: http://wp.me/p6N1PU-R6

  • Gale O'Neal
    Gale O'Neal Dacula, GA

    Looks so much better than the before! Enjoy!

  • Penmur77

    Looks wonderful, good work!

  • Emma
    Emma Palo Alto, CA

    The new stain does look nicer with the blue/gray walls, but if you're a writer, you may want to check your spelling o) "...spend 8+ hours a day in their writing."

    • Author Lisa L Wiedmeier

      @Emma lol, that's why I have a good copy writer to check my manuscripts after I'm done. I'm dyslexic, my eyes and brain don't like to communicate together. I can see it as being right, then later, after of course I've already reviewed it 50 times, I

  • Linda lisk
    Linda lisk Richmond, VA

    Always a S.A. in every group !!!!

  • Nina Jordan-Smith
    Nina Jordan-Smith Louisville, KY

    This was perfect timing. I plan to redo my bathroom and was wanting to change the color of my cabinets. I have been debating painting or re-staining. I think I will use gel stain because this is the exact look that I want. THANK YOU so much for

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