How to stain a buffet table with Minwax Polyshades stain and Polyurethane in 1 step
I’ve only roomed with 4 different people in my life before marrying Wes. Stacie (Reeder) Eldridge, Amy Babbitt, Liz Talcott, and my mom/sister. In each of these arrangements, I was always the one who provided most of the furniture/decor since those items mattered the most to me. When Wes and I moved into our apartment a couple months ago, I brought all of my furniture and decor with me from all of my previous living arrangements. To my surprise, my belongings didn’t fill the entire apartment as it usually would in my other homes. My apartment isn’t any bigger than past homes. The difference I believe is that the walls of this apartment are all pure white with vaulted ceilings. No cozy paint colors or lower ceilings to offer that smaller space feel. Not that I’m complaining – I LOVE vaulted ceilings and it is a new challenge for me to work with decorating via a white canvas.
One of the worst eye sores was my dining room. We have this stand-alone fireplace that separates the living room from the dining room and all I had for the dining space was my high-boy dining room table. I immediately knew what was needed to uplift the space – a buffet table! I have seen a lot of creative buffet tables on pinterest and blogs – most being dresser makeovers. I love how buffet dressers for the dining room allow extra room for displaying decor and space for serving food or drinks.
Let the challenge begin! I had a few goals in mind. 1) I knew I didnt want to purchase a brand new dresser 2) I was looking for something with character 3) I didn’t want to spend more than $200. After searching Craigslist for weeks and weeks, I stumbled upon a beautiful 60’s bedroom set that someone was selling for $600 total. After a little bit of negotiating, I was able to talk her down to selling me a long “buffet” dresser + a tall matching dresser for $200 total. Not bad!
BEFORE | Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of the buffet dresser before I made it over, but here is a photo of the matching tall dresser.
AFTER | this is the results of the buffet dresser once I was done with it.
I love the results! But it definitely wasn’t easy getting there! I had to do a lot of research online around how to sand and stain laminate furniture. There are 2 kinds of laminate furniture – 1) the high gloss thin laminate that is almost impossible to paint over without it easily chipping later and 2) thick laminate that is easier to sand and stain. Thankfully my dresser was of the #2 variety.
Here’s what you need to re-stain laminate furniture.
1) low grain sandpaper or sandblocks
2) a strong arm
3) high grain sandpaper or sandblocks
4) a strong arm
7) stain paintbrush
8) patience – 12 hours between each coat
After sanding and sanding and sanding to remove the high gloss finish, it was ready for some stain. At first I tried regular wood grain stain on the dresser with little results. Because of the laminate, it barely tinted the wood darker, and I realized I’d have to add 500 coats to get it to the desired color. So I went back to the store and picked up the hardest stain to work with EVER! Minwax’s polyshades stain and polyurethane in 1 step!
After some trial and error and some resanding to remove my errors, I finally figured out how best to work with this stain for the best results. You must purchase a paint brush that is specifically made for wood staining – do NOT use the sponge brushes. Dip your brush into the stain and slide it against the edge to remove access. Start at the top of your wood section and move lightly across the wood grain in one stroke. I applied 3 coats total to my dresser – otherwise it would have turned out very streaky. You must allow the stain to dry overnight before adding more coats.
Tip | Do NOT move back and forth as it will build up sticky residue with inconsistent blotching. You must move in one direction the entire time. You also need to work as quickly as possible as it begins to dry quickly and can gum up. My friend, Jasmin, experienced the “bad” of what could happen if you don’t apply this tricky stain properly. She used it on an ikea hack project:
Tip | If you accidentally stain your carpet – as I did many times – it is actually very simple to remove it! I had some DW-40 lying around, and if you spray it directly into the stained carpet and rub it out with a paper towel – it removes it like magic! You cant even find the spots if you were even looking for them anymore!
I also took the knobs that were rusting and spray painted them in a metallic silver to give it that shiny new look!
The finished product! Just what my dining room needed.