I was nervous to try this on my bathroom so my kid’s bathroom got to be the trial run for refinishing the vanity. General Finishes boasts that their gel stains are so easy that you don’t have to de gloss, sand, or prime before applying the stain. So I put it to the test and sure enough it looks smooth and professional and I didn’t do anything but wash the vanity. A lot of people lightly sand first and maybe that’s a good idea because I did notice the stain looked better on the areas that were not as glossy.
Step One: Wipe down the surface
Step Two: Remove doors, drawers and hinges
Step three: Lay your doors on a drop cloth
Step Four: brush the gel stain on with a sponge paint brush and wipe off with a paper towel. (You’re probably thinking a staining rag is better for this job. Trust me it’s not. I did the first door with a rag and the second with a sponge brush and paper towel and it looks much better.)
Step Five: let it dry for eight or more hours.
Step Six: Repeat step four if you want it darker.
Step Seven: Put everything back together and add hardware if you want.
After finishing the vanity, I decided the mirror needed a frame. I got some old boards and rabbits the under side to fit the mirror edge. I applied the stain and glued it to the mirror and wall.
Some people add a matte wax or poly coat. I didn’t and it seems to be durable so far. I also bought the half pint size of the gel stain and I only used half of the can for both the mirror frame and this vanity. You can get it here
Happy gel staining!