You apply with a brush or cloth, wait a few minutes and clean off the excess stain with another clean cloth. If you want it darker, repeat the process until you get the color you want.
Here's a "how to" link to take you through step by step:
I would advise testing first to see how long you need to leave on to get the desired depth of color. I brush mine on then wipe off with a soft clean cloth in the direction of the grain of the wood. You can always re apply if it isn't dark enough but if it is too dark, sanding is your only option.
Hi Darlene I've found that gel stains are easier to work with (less messy) but also they are less penetrating to the wood so you may need to apply it more than one time. Apply with a brush (or a cloth though you will waste more using a cloth) wait only a few minutes than wipe off the excess. Don't wait too long because it is a gel it does dry and harden up faster than a regular stain.
Darlene: maybe this will help
Hi Darlene! I have a couple tutorials on how to use gel stain. I'll link you to one! General Finishes Java gel is my favorite!