Kitchen Makeover for $100!

Completely classroom unrelated post, however, a happy wife makes for a happy teacher.
So just go with it ;)
I uploaded my little Spring Break project on Instagram last week and my email exploded with questions! I guess I'm not the only one with orange oak cabinets in desperate search of a makeover.
It's okay- I feel your pain.
I'm here to help.
Before I begin explaining how you too can bring your oak cabinets into this decade, let me just say that I do not know everything. I only know what worked for me.
 Here's all the details my friends.
It was easy peasy and around $100- win win!
I found the General Finishes gel stain at a local woodcraft store.
If you can't find it near you, it's also available on Amazon.
I had 16 doors and 4 drawers to cover and I used 1 quart of stain.
If you have more surface area to cover, you may want to get more.

I used painter's tape to label all the doors and frames with matching number sets so I knew exactly where each door needed to go when it was finished.
I swept and used the blower to clean out the garage so my work space would be dust free.
After you sand each door it's SUPER important to use a tack cloth and remove all the dust from the doors before adding stain.
You really don't have to sand until your arm hurts.
You just need to buff the surface.
There are lots of online tutorials on how to use this type of stain.
I tried using a glove with a sock over it and decided I couldn't get down into the edges and corners very well so I tossed that out pretty quickly.
I used the poly brushes for 90% of the project.
Instead of throwing them out or trying to wash them, I put them into a plastic baggie until I was ready to use them the next day.
They stayed moist enough throughout the entire project!
If you google how to apply gel stain, you'll find that there are multiple ways.
You can paint it on and leave it or you can rub it on and wipe off the excess.
I tried rubbing on and wiping off for the first coat.
 I think I wiped off too much stain and if I were to do it again, I would paint it on and leave it to dry without wiping it off at all. I probably could've done 3 coats instead of 4 if I hadn't wiped most of it off on day 1.
But you live and learn and then blog about it!
 Because gel stain sits on top of the wood more like paint and doesn't actually soak into the grain, it doesn't require you to wipe off the excess stain.
It took 5 days to paint and 2 days to seal with polyurethane.
I used an osculating fan in the garage to help with dry time.
It is Florida after all.
If you're not blessed with our humidity then you may not find a fan necessary.
I'm really happy with how it turned out!
Even after 4 coats, you can still see the texture of wood grain!
We reinstalled the doors, added new hardware, and called it a day!

Happy DIYing on a dime!


  1. Wow!!! Funny how one little change totally transforms a whole kitchen!

  2. It looks fantastic! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams on Fridays :D Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party

  3. Wow- I love the kitchen! I'll have to remember this. Carol

    Here is my blog, and we did the same thing in our camper, and it looks amazing! Love your cabinets, it makes such a difference.

  5. Did you stain the insides of it too? If so, do you have any photos to show that?


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