Can you Stain Over Paint

You might be thinking about updating your furniture and considering staining it, but you’re unsure if you can do so over its existing paint. Staining is one of the refinishing furniture techniques that can make old pieces look like new, but again, the big question is: Can you stain over paint?

We’ll look into the answer to this question in detail in this post! We’ll also cover how to stain over paint and provide some tips for successful results. So let’s dive in!

applying stain on paint with text overlay

Aside from painting, staining is another popular option for updating your furniture. Staining allows you to transform the look of your furniture while still highlighting its wood grain. It brings out the natural beauty and character of wood, so you get yourself a charming rustic piece.

Click here for the paint removal checklist and guide

Stain also penetrates into the wood fibers and protects them, and you can choose to go lighter or darker, as you wish. Plus, stained furniture is easy to maintain – you can simply touch up the stain instead of having to repaint the entire piece.

But sometimes, we might not want to strip off all the existing paint and start fresh. Or maybe you just want to add some stain to give an already painted piece more character. So, can you just stain over the existing paint? Let’s find out!

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Can you Stain Over Paint?

So, the answer is yes, you can definitely stain over paint! You can use both waterbased and oil based stains over your painted furniture, whichever you prefer and whichever is more accessible to you. If you still aren’t sure what stain to use for your project, here is our list of the best wood stains for furniture.

applying stain onto a painted surface

The stain can work as a glaze to give your piece an antiqued look or even deepen the color of a dark paint. Or you can use it over light tan paint to realistically create a wood stained finish.

However, keep in mind that staining over paint will create a different result than staining on bare wood. The color of the stain may appear slightly different, so if you’re thinking of a specific look, make sure to test it out on a small area first. If you’re happy with how the stain looks over your paint, then you can continue with the rest of your piece!

So again, yes, you can stain over paint, but you do have to keep in mind that it may not turn out exactly as if you were staining on bare wood. And it’s always a good idea to test things out first before committing to the entire project.

How to Stain Over Paint

Now that we know we can stain over paint, let’s talk about how to do it! Since we also know results of staining can vary with a painted piece, it’s important to follow these steps and do them properly for the best outcome.

First, make sure the paint is completely dry before applying the stain. If using water based stain over oil based paint, wait at least 48 hours for the paint to dry. For water based paint and stain, you only need to wait about 2 hours after painting before applying the stain.

When wiping on the stain, use long back and forth strokes in the same direction to create a wood grain finish. If you want a more defined wood grain, use a wood grain tool to create the pattern. For that glazed or antiqued look, apply a small amount of stain over the painted surface then immediately wipe it away.

wiping off excess stain

It’s up to you if you want a lighter or darker stain over the paint. Wait for the first coat of stain to dry before deciding if you want to apply a second coat. If you used an oil based stain, you may have to wait for about 24 hours, and if you used a water based stain, it should be dry in just a few hours. Check out our how to stain wood furniture guide for more detailed tips and tricks.

Once you’re satisfied with the stain, the next step would be to topcoat it with a water based polyurethane. This will seal both the paint and the stain and create a durable surface. Apply at least 2 coats of polyurethane on your stained piece and let it dry completely before using.

using waterbased polyurethane to seal paint and stain

Lastly, make sure to properly dispose of rags and tools that you used oil based stain with. These can be a fire hazard if not disposed of correctly. Lay them flat outside to dry then dispose of them properly.

Can you stain wood with paint?

Do you know you can stain your wood furniture with paint? Yes, you read that right! Staining wood with paint is a technique you can do to get that unique and rustic look. And you won’t have to spend on a separate stain product.

You just need to add about 50% water to your paint, mix it well, and you have your own DIY wood stain! The paint should be thin and similar to the consistency of regular wood stain. You can even adjust the color intensity by adding more or less water.

mixing 50% paint and water to create stain

But this technique is best done on bare wood. If your furniture has an existing finish, you’ll have to strip or sand it down first for better paint adhesion and absorption into the wood. You can still go ahead with painting over an already painted piece, but keep in mind that the coverage will be different and may not give you the exact look you’re going for.

applying paint stain with brush

So next time you’re thinking of staining your wood furniture, you can consider using paint! And as always, remember to test it out first so you don’t end up ruining your entire project. We show you how to stain wood with paint in our post here so you can try it out for yourself.

As we’ve seen and learned, you can definitely stain over painted furniture and create some beautiful results! Especially after following the steps and tips we have shared, you can update your furniture with the look of stained wood over existing paint. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try staining with paint – that’s possible too!

More Staining Furniture Tips

Click here for the stain removal guide and checklist

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