Looking for feedback and input about Java Gel!

by Fearlessfair

Hello, and thanks in advance! Looking for any personal experiences with General Finishes Java Gel! My home is filled with hand me downs all in golden oak and I hate that color! I'm talking about doing kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, coffee table, dining set. Did you like the results? Did you sand even though it's not required? Do you like the final color/result? I've never done anything like this and this "seems" like the easiest and most affordable way to make the changes I want. But I'm scared it's too good to be true! I was going to chalk paint, but then I saw Java Gel...I don't know lol! Any input is appreciated! ✌️💜

  14 answers
  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Sep 06, 2020

    Here's some info on the colors and finishes:


  • Recreated Designs Recreated Designs on Sep 06, 2020

    Hi Lesley, I have used Java Gel a lot and absolutely love the General Finishes gel stain... but... I have not ever just applied it over something else. I have always sanded down what I am working on. I would say at the very least if you are going to do cabinets that you will need to sand down (by hand even) the clear coat that is typically on them. If you apply the stain directly onto the clear coat you will have adhesion problems down the road. I have always chosen to sand anything I am working on also so that I don't have the previous colour affecting and showing throw the new colour. I absolutely love the product but I would test it first on an old cabinet door or on something small before going big :) I also love the Gel stain top coat. Paired with the Gel stain it is a fantastic top coat! Top coat has a bit of a learning curve but it is a great product. (If you decide to use it I am happy to share tips and tricks!) Here is a table I did with both... https://www.recreateddesigns.com/2016/07/federal-style-coffee-table/

  • Recreated Designs Recreated Designs on Sep 06, 2020

    I should also say that I have used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint equally as much. The difference with a quality paint like Annie Sloan is that it really does require very little prep work. I usually take a medium grit sandpaper, run it over the door and then apply the paint. The Annie Sloan and General Finishes are both high quality products and both amazing but they have very different looks. It will really depend on what look you prefer... painted finish (any colour) or stained finish. They both have little things to watch out for and to be aware of before starting (like any product). You can find lots of examples of both on the blog here... https://www.recreateddesigns.com. Hope this has helped a bit!

  • Janice Janice on Sep 06, 2020

    I agree completely with all that Recreated Designs said. It SO depends on the look you want to have. Perhaps start by trying each, stain and paint, on a couple of small pieces so you know what the look is on them and in your home. Some people paint the base of a table and then java gel the top or vice versa. Maybe try on an end table and then you can decide. Remember that the grain of the oak is going to remain either way.

  • Deb K Deb K on Sep 06, 2020

    Hi Lesley, hope this video helps you decide,


  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Sep 06, 2020

    I have not used General Finishes Java Gel, but I have used a lot of their Milk Paint and cannot recommend it highly enough!!!

  • I'd tackle one room at a time and make a list of which room you want to do by priority or preference. I feel sometimes if you start on EVERYTHING at once, it tends to get overwhelming and never gets done! I'd maybe try the bathroom cabinets first before the kitchen, just to get a little practice in and it isn't as HUGE of a project. Here is how to do Java Gel for bathroom cabinets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWtILDENl-g

    • Fearlessfair Fearlessfair on Sep 08, 2020

      Oh I totally agree,I am definitely not starting everything at once lol. I have a small endtable that I plan to do first since I've never done a project like this. I'd rather stain than paint,but have zero desire to sand so much. That's why I was fishing for opinions lol. Thanks!

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Sep 06, 2020

    Hello. I suggest look around at the links Amazon links to view reliable product reviews and ratings.

    I personally can be influenced by the Amazon customer reviews and QA features— that often educate and influence my buying decisions in comparing the quality and effectiveness of products to chose the best product for my need and budget.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Sep 06, 2020

    I used it to redo wood trim and a railing. I did sand first. It is more opaque than traditional stain when you put it on wood. Work in sections as it seemed to have a short working time for me. I didn't really like it until I put their gel stain sealer on it. I actually don't intend to use it again, but, I am comfortable working with regular stain and like the look more. I'm sure there will be many who love the stuff. I found it to be okay, but not as impressive as all the articles and tutorials claimed. But, I am not madly in love with chalk paint for every project either. Good luck and stay safe!

  • Dee Dee on Sep 07, 2020

    Java Gel is beautiful but time consuming. It does not absorb like regular stain. Try it first on a vanity to see if you like to use it. Gel takes a lot of elbow grease, must apply, let dry and rub off many times to get desired result. I am like Cynthia I would much rather use regular stain.

    • BetsyRambo BetsyRambo on Sep 13, 2020

      I used a gel stain overtop of furniture I base coated, then crackled then applied antiquing gel, let dry to tacky. I ragged off gel, leaving what I wanted to get look I wanted. No rubbing. Just mushing off with rag Then poly to seal. Gorgeous!!!

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Sep 08, 2020

    here is some info I found for you