How to Stain Wood (It's Easy, for Beginners)

Escagedo Woodworking
by Escagedo Woodworking
4 Materials
20 Minutes

This is a really great technique you can use to add a splash of color to your wood projects. If you're already working with pine, you know it's the most inexpensive lumber you can use. Well, I'll show you how easy it is to make your work, decor and patio crafts pop with stains. Check out the video for inspiration and read on to find out how to stain wood.

As mentioned, check out this video for more great tips and colors you can use to dress you wooded projects. You gain a lot of tips of your own and will be surprised at how easy it it to do.

Pine board blank

So here's our first block of wood that we'll be testing on.

Wear gloves

You should wear gloves when working with wood stains. Also, Try and wear some clothes you don't mind getting dirty. Chances are, sooner or later, you'll end up splashing some stain on happens, so work clothes are a good idea.

use a towel, rag or pad applicator

I'll be using this kitchen towel to apply the stain. You can opted for a rag or a store bought pad applicator. For me this towel does the trick. The downside is, little bits of towel fiber may come off and stick to your work piece....But I always come back and wipe the board with a clean towel to remove excess stain anyways.

Wood Stain

Let's try this red oak stain by Minwax. You can stir or shake the can. The idea is to mix the stain so the color is consistent when it's applied. This is a good idea weather the can is new or has been sitting on the shelf for a while.

Paint Key

A key is always handy to have in your toolbox...


That's how the stain looks inside the can....

Apply stain

So, just dip the applicator in the can and wipe it on the wood. it's really that easy! Once applied to wood, the stain seeps into the fibers. The longer you keep the stain on the wood the more of it penetrates and darkens. Then just wipe off the excess with a clean towel.

Red Oak

This is how the Red Oak stain looks after applying and wiping off the excess.

End grain

The side of the wood board or end grain will stain very differently than the top of the board we already stained. The end grain has better capacity to absorb stain, therefore it will darken a lot more. (See photo)

sample stain colors

If you allow these stains to dry for a day or two.....they will, on their own add protection to you pieces and projects. The stain, colors and oils will penetrate the wood and protect your work. There are further steps you can take to protect your finished projects even more. We will address the topic of clear coats in the next post. Check out the selection of stains I sample in the photo....

wood stains

These are the various colors I used for this tutorial. You can see how all the samples look in the next photo. Also, if you want to learn more watch the video. Check out the next photo...

Stain Samples

These colors really came out great. The exciting thing about using wood stains is that you can match colors to fit your needs. I have created so many furniture pieces for customers. The options for staining gives me a lot of room to be creative! It's really an exciting process...and easy. Thank you so much, I hope you are inspired to try this. I hope you let me know if you do.

Bleached Blue Stain

We will touch on clear coats next. It's also an easy process and can add extra protection to your furniture and I'll see you soon.

Suggested materials:
  • Wood stains   (Home Depot)
  • Pine Wood Board (1x4)   (Home Depot)
  • Paint Key   (Home Depot)
See all materials
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  • William William on Feb 12, 2018
    Great tutorial. I like to use wood conditioner on pine so the stain comes out more even. Especially on the end grain. This prevent the dark end grain color. Less stain gets absorbed into wide grain.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Mar 20, 2018

    Thanks for the tutorial! I love learning about finishing wood!