How to Gel Stain Over Paint

by Megan
3 Materials
2 Hours

I wanted to share with you a quick and easy way to update your furniture! No priming or sanding required! This is an easy technique to do and can save you time during the busy holiday season. This can also add a beautiful update to any piece of furniture in your home with out exhausting you!

Lets get into it!

I’ve written a few posts on using gel stain. But this is the first time you will hear me talk about applying gel stain over a painted surface.

I was working on a chest of drawers that had already been painted and thought a coat of GF Java Gel stain would look beautiful on the top of the chest! This particular chest of drawers had lots of stains. The chest looked like and smelled like someone had accidentally spilled lotion all over the top.


Supplies to Gel Stain Over a Painted SurfaceGeneral finishes Java Gel Stain General Finishes Gel Stain top coat in Satin Package of foam brushes Optional: Sandpaper To get a beautiful stained finish over a painted surface you will need GF Java gel stain. For this piece I lightly sanded the the top of the chest with 220 grit sand paper and wiped off any dust particles (typically you would not need to sand. Due to the many stains I thought It was necessary in this situation to help create maximum adhesion for the gel stain. Then I began to add the gel stain with a foam brush to the top of the chest of drawers. You want to go in one direction. The same direction as the wood grain. This will help prevent brush strokes.

After adding the first coat of gel stain I let it dry for about 4-5 hours. The top of this chest of drawers needed about 4 coat of gel stain. I let each coat fully dry before adding a new coat of gel stain. Once you can not see the original finish under the gel stain you are ready to add the top coat! I LOVE this topcoat. When it is completely dry it still looks wet! Such a beautiful shiny finish it adds to a piece of furniture!

Apply Gel Stain topcoat to the top of the chest of drawers using a foam brush. Allow to dry in-between coats. I like to add 2-3 coats for maximum durability. 

Close up!

After the top coats have dried you can use your piece of furniture! Enjoy! You did a great job!! 

Have you used gel stain before? If so did you like it? Do you have a favorite gel stain color? If so leave a comment below! I’d LOVE to hear about it!

This chest of drawers has held up great! The gel stain continues to look so shiny. It's a great overall durable finish!

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  • Lynn Lynn on Nov 21, 2019

    I hate gel stain!

    i bought the top coat and two different brands of gel stain, hate it. Gooey, blotchy, did not cover well , waste of money and time!

    • Megan Megan on Nov 21, 2019

      Hi Lynn! I am so sorry to hear about your gel stain experience! I really like General Finishes brand the best for gel stain. They were the gel stain originators. Have you tried their brand before?

  • William William on Nov 21, 2019

    I love gel stain. Have used it for years. Never thought of using it over paint. I also love the look of paint and stain on furniture. Great look and great job.

    • Megan Megan on Nov 21, 2019

      Thank you so much! Glad you like it! The gel stain has held up really well over the paint!