Friday, November 5, 2010

Minwax Gel Stain Review

Happy Friday! It's Stacy from Not JUST A Housewife here and I will be doing the first product review on Tools are for Women too!
I first need to say that my camera broke today :( My eight month old grabbed the camera strap and it fell down. Luckily it didn't hit my baby, but it did hit the hardwood floor. So I dug around my picture file and found some old photos for today. I apologize that they are not as clear as I would like.
OK. On to the review!!!
I really like this product. The first time I used it was 3 years ago. I would recommend practicing on some scrap wood first since it has a different consistency than regular stain. And I would use a foam brush so that you don't get lines from bristles. My favorite color, which I used for the projects I will show today, is Minwax Gel Stain Walnut 606.
It is great for projects where you don't want to sand or strip off the old stain. You can even use this on fiberglass and metal!!!! I know of several people who used this to reface their kitchen cupboards with really good results. Here are two of the things I used the gel stain for.
This is the bead board in my bathroom before I used the Gel Stain. It had a nice beachy feel with the whitewash but it didn't fit the rest of my house.

I LOOOOVE how it turned out. Suddenly my bathroom looks more expensive! I did two coats. It is very important to wait the full 8 hours (more if it is humid) before applying the second coat. I am impatient and learned the hard way. The first coat will come off when you try to put on an additional coat if you DON"T wait.

The next project I will show you is my dad's old desk. It used to be in his office and I have a lot of fond memories of it. This was the first thing I used gel stain on. I wish I had a better picture because it was really banged up with lots of water marks. Normally I would have stripped it or sanded it down but I had been wanting to try Minwax's Gel Stain so I tried it on this. I tested it out on a place you couldn't see just in case. But it was beautiful!

I am embarrassed to show you this after picture because it does not do the desk justice! And it is killing me because the desk is right here next to me in my office in all its glory and I can't take a picture. This picture was taken a few years ago before I got a nice camera and I was trying to take a picture of my office and not necessarily of the desk. But trust me, it looks great!!!

So I am giving this product 5 out of 5 Hardhats with the side note that it works great as long as you follow the directions correctly. Good luck on your next project!

Stacy is a contributing writer and a part of the Tools Are For Women Too Team.  Please visit her site and say hello.


Unknown said...

My bathroom cabinets have been needing a makeover for quite some time! I just wasn't for sure what to do with them! This looks perfect! Thanks for the review, Stacy! Now I know what to buy!

The Mac's House said...

I really like the transformation. Gives me some great ideas!

Patty Hibble said...

Love it! I was just cleaning the woodwork on my staircase. I was thinking about painting the railings,but I love what you've done. I'm off to Home Depot!

Lavender and Linen said...

I would love to put these on my oak kitchen cabinets.

Your furniture looks so much better.

Thanks for posting.

Can I get this at Lowes?

Patty Hibble said...

FYI,The lady at Home Depot said that you cannot apply this over a lacquered finish (I was wanting to redo the railing on our staircase). She said that I'd have to sand it first, or otherwise, it would just sit atop the shiny finish. If this is true, can you really use this to redo your cabinets?

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

Hi Patty,

I usually like to sand down to bare wood before staining, but with gel stain it is not always neccesary. Keep in mind that all surfaces are different. That includes not only the surface finish, but the type of wax that has been used. Sicone based waxes can present some challegesat times. I recommend trying stain on a test area first, but this is advice I give when applying stain to any piece of wood. If you have further questions I am happy to help. Just email me at


Stacy Risenmay said...

I am not sure what information the lady at Home Depot was going off of so I can only speak for myself. I am basing my next comment on the information from the different sites and forums I frequent, and my friends who have done their cabinets. You can apply oilbased stains (gel included) over laquered finishes. You can not however put lacquer over oilbased finishes. You may want to do your own searches too. And like Rory said, always do a test area. I did that on my dad's old desk.

Stacy Risenmay said...

This is from the Minwax Website. It talks about the gel stain "clinging to non pourus surfaces (aka shiny)I hope this helps :)!

One reason why Minwax® came up with the gel stain is that if you're working on a vertical surface, such as paneling in a room or doors, it's just not practical to take them all down and put them on sawhorses. If you have to work on a vertical surface and if you were using the standard Minwax® Wood Finish penetrating stain, the thinner of the two, you'd be chasing that stain as it ran ahead of your brush, and if you weren't fast enough you could actually get some slightly darker streaks from the stain that ran down the wood instead of actually penetrating into the wood.

If you use the Minwax® Gel Stain, it's going to cling to the wood better and you're not going to have it running down ahead of your brush or ahead of your rag, so your staining is going to be more consistent. Also, if you're doing a metal or a fiberglass door, the Minwax® Gel Stain is formulated to adhere to these non-porous surfaces, so whereas the Minwax® Wood Finish stain would wipe right off, the Minwax® Gel Stain would cling to that surface. Generally, if it's a vertical surface, or if it's a surface that doesn't have any pores to it, those would be times when you would probably want to use the Minwax® Gel Stains. I sometimes use Minwax® Gel Stains just in place of the Minwax® Wood Finish stains regardless of whether the project is horizontal or vertical if it gives me the color I'm looking for. So you aren't limited, you can use the Minwax® Gel Stain in several different applications, even though it's especially designed for vertical application.

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

Well said Stacy.