How to use black stain instead of black paint on furniture to achieve a super smooth durable finish.
This week I updated two pine tables for a client’s living room. When I was assessing what furniture to keep for the room’s makeover, I thought of a way to make two country pine tables she had take on a more modern appeal.
These pine tables with a clear polyurethane finish are clean lined and classic in form. The natural pine finish just had to be changed to update to look more modern.
I knew I wanted them to be black, but I wasn’t too hip on painting them black. If you have ever painted furniture with latex paint then you know it can get thick since you need two light coats of primer and then two light coats of paint. 4 layers – makes any piece look painted. I wanted a sleeker look and knew I could achieve that with stain. Yes, stain. Not wood toned stain, but solid color black stain.
I particularly like Minwax PolyShades in Classic Black and have been using it for many years.
Black stain vs black paint on furniture – what I like about it:
1. Black stain is thin and sort of sheer looking. It won’t look thick or heavy on your furniture the way paint sometimes does.
2. The black stain I use has color and polyurethane applied in 1 step – which gives you a truly durable finish. It does take time to cure – a few days to a week or more depending on the humidity level before the finish is super durable.
3. Black stain can be applied right over any existing finish. I usually just take a piece of fine grit sandpaper over the surface quickly to roughen up the surface before I apply the stain.
4. I love the results – smooth with a factory finish-like!
The only thing I don’t like is the fact that it is oil based. It needs to be cleaned-up with paint thinner. I don’t let this bother me too much though, because the finish comes out perfect – it is worth having to clean up or just throw out a brush.
If you don’t want to clean up a brush, you can buy a high quality foam brush. I used one made by Wooster. It is a little more expensive, but you will get a nice even finish with it. I have also used this stain successfully with a Wooster bristle brush made specifically for staining.
How to Use Black Stain On Wood Furniture Instead of Black Paint
1. Rub a piece of fine to medium grit sandpaper over the surface of your piece. All it needs is a quick roughing up. Clean off debris with a tack cloth.
2.. Make sure you stir the stain well before applying. Stir…stir… stir. Dip tip of brush into can and start from the center of your piece out to the edges using long light strokes. You don’t want to apply it too heavily. m2 or 3 light coats are much better than a heavy coat. Continue staining until the piece is covered. Let dry.
2. Since these tables already had a finish on them, you may get this spotting. If that happens – don’t worry – you haven’t failed.
Let it dry and go over with the fine grit sandpaper again. Clean the surface with a tack cloth to remove the sanding debris. Apply another light coat of stain. Let dry. It will be gone. Apply another light coat of PolyShades if needed, making sure to use long light strokes.
Black Staining TIP:
When staining or painting any piece of furniture black or a very dark color make sure you have a few good light sources directed on every side of the piece. This way you can see if you are covering the surface completely and catch any drips before they dry.
Black Stained Furniture After
No more country pine… hello… modern and chic black tables.
You can see how smooth the finish is… black stain is so much better than paint when you don’t want a “painted furniture” look.
The long table is going in the dining room. I will show you the room when it is completed – this is just a sneak peek.
I love the way it looks against the white board and batten walls.
Remember the blue trim on the living room windows and the 80’s country look?
It is GONE! The trim and walls have been painted, new wood blinds, furniture, and lamps added. The black stained side table and rug are the only elements that were existing.
The decorating transformation is almost complete – now it’s time to add the homeowner’s personality to the rooms.
To see more about this house and the before photos click here- A Client’s House: Makeover