Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY

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You are here: Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Home / bathroom / Staining Oak Cabinets an Espresso Color {DIY Tutorial}

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bathroom· decor· DIY· house· how to· inspiration· kitchen· look for less· luxe for less· review· tutorial· Uncategorized

Hi there! Welcome to my most popular post ever. I’ve since sold and moved from this home, but I wanted to update this post and state that the cabinets were in fabulous shape even four years after this post when we sold our home. We now live in a new home, and I hope you come check out my foyer, living room, dining space, office and our white kitchen (yup, after all this, I chose a white kitchen when we built our home!)

I also want to add that YOU CAN DO THIS. Happy staining!

Transforming builder grade honey oak cabinets into sultry, dark espresso cabinets is easy. It’s messy though. I’m going to walk you through it step by step as much as I can in this tutorial.

Alright, let’s do this. You need some supplies first. They’re not pricey, but you do need all of them. The most important thing is that you must buy this specific stain— everything else you can substitute as needed.

Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

Supplies:


Sanding block (I bought an angled one for about $4 from my local hardware store. The angled sanding block helps when if you have beveled cabinets/doors/drawers.)

Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for –Deglosser if you have very greasy cabinets, if not some lysol wipes (or a sponge with soap/water or TSP)

Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for -Gloves

-Masking tape AND painter’s tape (you could just use painter’s tape, I use masking tape because it’s cheap at Dollar Tree…so in other words, painter’s tape is expensive, so I only use it when I absolutely have to)

Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for -A quart of java gel stain (if you’re doing a kitchen) or a pint of gel stain if it’s for a vanity or smaller project.

Satin Poly/topcoat or you can go with semi-gloss if you want more sheen.

-Ziploc baggy to keep track of all the hardware + screws + hinges.

-Screwdriver to take off hardware/hinges.

Tack cloth (several)

-Men’s sock or foam brushes (several brushes in various sizes works best)

-Gauze/rag/cheesecloth

-Postal wrapping paper or drop cloths or tarp to protect floors. I bought the postal wrapping paper at Dollar Tree and it was so easy to cover up my floor.

Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for –Painters pyramids to use on cabinet doors so you can paint both sides at once

Total cost for all of the materials should be between $50-$100ish.


UPDATE: 



There’s now a FAQ post about this very tutorial below. 


You can read for 1 last update 11 Jul 2020 it here

Here’s what my vanity looked like before I got started.
UPDATE: 


There’s now a FAQ post about this very tutorial below. 


You can read it here

Here’s what my vanity looked like before I got started.


Step 1: Remove all hardware and put it in a ziploc baggy. 

Simple enough. 


Step 2: Prep your area.

This is probably the least fun step, but you must protect your floors, counters, walls, tiles, or any area that may get stain on it. And trust me, this stuff is oil based,  so it stains easily and quickly. Makes it great for cabinets, not great for anything else. Prep now to avoid lots of messy clean-up later. I used painters tape for walls/counters/inside of cabinets and I used masking tape to tape my paper down onto the floor.

Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

Step 3: Clean all cabinet frames/drawers/doors and remove them.

I used the Lysol dual action wipes because one side is scrubby and the other side is smooth. Basically you want to make sure to get any grime, dust, gooey stuff, dirt, etc. off the cabinets.

Now, my vanity is obviously in a bathroom, so this step was quick and easy for me. If you have greasy/grimy kitchen cabinets, I’d recommend a deglosser or TSP. nce you’re done cleaning, make sure they’re dry and go ahead and remove all the drawers and doors. I stained my drawers/doors in the garage, so I moved all of that over there.


Step 4: Lightly sand cabinets and remove dust with a tack cloth.

the 1 last update 2020/07/11

You should not spend a ton of time sanding. I would say 1 minute per door and 30 seconds per drawer. You’re just wanting to break up some of the shine on cabinets, not completely strip them. I used an angled sanding block with a fine (not medium or coarse) finish to get in the bevels. Once you sand, make sure to thoroughly wipe off all dust with a tack cloth. Do this twice. 


Step 5: Stain. Dry. Stain. Dry. Stain. Dry. Dry. Dry. Poly. Dry. Poly. Dry. Dry. Dry.

This step doesn’t have many pictures because I had to use one hand to stain and another to make sure I wasn’t getting gel stain all over the place…but bear with me.

You’ll put on a vinyl glove. I put it on my right hand since I am right handed. Then put your men’s sock over it. Why does it have to be a men’s sock? Well, generally men’s socks are white and tend to be LONG,  so it’ll protect your entire forearm from gel stain. The glove is meant to protect your hands from being stained an espresso color. You’ll leave your other hand free to wipe off any globs or stain that you might get in places you don’t want them.

I’ve read reports where people used a foam brush to apply the stain, but I prefer the sock method. Do whatever makes you happy. 🙂 Now, I did use the foam brush to get in tight places like near the counters or in beveled corners, but for 90% of the time I used the sock method.

Now, how much stain to use? I used about 1 tbsp per drawer and 1.5-2 tbsp per door. These aren’t exact figures, so don’t go whip out your measuring spoons, but my point is use a slightly generous amount, but do not go overboard.

Also, unlike other staining methods, do not wipe it off. You want to put on a nice, thin coat. Make sure the stain doesn’t glob up on/in corners, that’s when cheesecloth/gauze is handy. Then you let coat 1 dry for 12 hours. Then you put the 2nd coat. Let it dry for 24 hours. Then put the last/third coat and let it dry for 5 days and then seal it with 2 coats of satin poly or semi-gloss poly. I personally used satin.

Drying time is so important, do not rush this step or you will end up having to put on a billion coats of stain and it will not be good. Light, thin coats + ample drying time + topcoat= fantastic results.

Your first coat may result in panic… Go have a shot of tequila and keep the faith. It will look streaky and odd and ugly. 

Another shot of how ugly coat 1 looks.

Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

After 3 coats of stain + 2 coats of poly + lots of drying time, you can put on your hardware again. And you’re done! Ta-dah! For the coat of poly, follow the manufacturer’s instruction (and good judgment) for the drying time. More drying time is always better than less.

My bathroom is super narrow, so it’s hard to get a straight on pic/shot of the drawers, so here are a few…

Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Now, you’ll notice the doors aren’t back on yet, and that’s because I’ve only done 1 side and need to do the other. For now, this is all I got. I’ll update with a lovely photo once I have it all done. Promise.


Some quick tips:

-Don’t over think this project. It is quite easy. 

-Please use this specific gel stain and poly. You won’t regret it- it’s truly quality stuff.

-On cabinet doors, plan on doing the front and backs. I bought some painters pyramids to prop up my doors so I can knock out both sides at one time. I bought 2 packs so I could have a multiple of 4. Each door will need 4 pyramids to be stable.

-Light coats=success

-Drying time=the longer the better

-Each drawer should take about 1-2 minutes a coat. Each door should take 3-4 minutes. Do not over apply or over wipe. Check for globs when you’re done and smooth out with pinky finger.

-Socks rock for applying stain. Socks for applying poly. Simply wipe it on.

-If you’re intimated by this project, try it on the back of a cabinet door first or buy a spare cabinet door at REStore or Goodwill.

-Touch up any streaks in the finish BEFORE applying the poly.

-You can do this! If you have a large kitchen, break it up into manageable chunks over a few weekends. 

-Parts of my vanity were laminate and not wood. Treat it as if it was wood. It’ll all work out in the end.

I hope you all found this tutorial to be useful in trying to DIY your way the 1 last update 2020/07/11 from honey oak cabinets into a stunning espresso finish. Please leave me any adoring comments or questions below, or you can always tweet at me (@monicabenavidez) or e-mail me at monicawantsit{@}gmail.com I hope you all found this tutorial to be useful in trying to DIY your way from honey oak cabinets into a stunning espresso finish. Please leave me any adoring comments or questions below, or you can always tweet at me (@monicabenavidez) or e-mail me at monicawantsit{@}gmail.com


And for funsies! Before & After:

UPDATE: 



There’s now a FAQ post about this very tutorial below. 


You can read it here.

JULY 2015 UPDATE: 


Three years later I can safely and accurately say the stain and finish still look as good as it did back in 2012. So although my way may not be the purist way 


in terms of staining, it still worked fabulously. 


You can see my many other DIY projects here!

Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for SaveHidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Save

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Comments

  1. fancynancy says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! We bought a house that is just swimming in golden oak with built ins all over the place. The cabinets are in perfect shape so I hate to replace them. I am starting in the bathroom if I like the results I’m willing to put in the time to do it everywhere! God bless you!

  2. Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Bridget E Wilson says

    I used this tutorial about 5 years ago and it still looks perfect! I’ve just started another almost identical bathroom vanity and my 1st coat still isn’t completely dry after almost 24 hrs. Any suggestions?

  3. Halle Bose for 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

    Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

    Good tutorial

  4. Unknown says

    I just tried it for 1 last update 2020/07/11 this weekend and it looks fabulous, Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial.I just tried it this weekend and it looks fabulous, Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial.

  5. Lisa Joy says

    Beautiful job.. love the end results… plan on following your technique on my old oak curio cabinet. Many Thanks for sharing.

  6. Lisa Joy says

    Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Wow…. just beautiful! I plan on trying your technique on a oak curio cabinet. Going to apply the dark gel stain. Thanks for all of your great instructions.

  7. Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Pam B says

    Here I am again in 2017 going back to your post to make sure I have the right drying times! First I did my son's condo vanity, and now I'm doing my own condo's cabinets. Here's a tip I found out for using gel stain … it is perfect to refresh woodwork and baseboards, right out of the can, using the rubber glove/sock method, but in this case rubbed into the cleaned woodwork (must be clean, tsp). To refresh woodwork you use a color as close as possible to your current color … this is not a re-do, but a refresh, and you'd be amazed at how 60 year old, or 40 year old or 30 year old woodwork can come to life after being wiped with this magical gel stain! Thanks for getting me started.

  8. Jen says

    Love this tutorial! I am the 1 last update 2020/07/11 currently doing this and on my second coat! One question, after which coat should I stop seeing the streaks?! I just did my second coat and im still seeing lots of streaks, and totally freaking out about it. I'm doing light coats and trying not to wipe too much, but am I still doing something wrong or will it look like this until after the 3rd coat?Love this tutorial! I am currently doing this and on my second coat! One question, after which coat should I stop seeing the streaks?! I just did my second coat and im still seeing lots of streaks, and totally freaking out about it. I'm doing light coats and trying not to wipe too much, but am I still doing something wrong or will it look like this until after the 3rd coat?

  9. Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Unknown says

    Thank you SO much for your tutorial. Because of your post, I redid my bathroom vanity in Antique Walnut and then I went ahead and stained all of my kitchen cabinets!! I love the way it turned out!! I posted about it on my blog if you want to see – http://www.justmeasuringup.com/blog/kitchen-cabinet-makeover. Thank you so much for sharing!! You saved my kitchen and bathroom from the 1970s 🙂

  10. Shawn Reed says

    I started this project yesterday in my master bathroom, using the products and methods listed. I only changed the cleaning method – I used TSP since my cabinets are 28 years old and have A LOT of build up – and I chose General Finishes Black stain instead of Java because it matches better with my bathroom paint color. As Monica says, socks are the best for application! The foam brush just doesn't cut it for me even though I'm having to use it a bit to get into small crevices.Coat #1 went on exactly as described – streaky and scary looking. By the time I was finished, it was too late for a shot of tequila, so I just went to bed! 😉 Coat #2 will go on this afternoon. I can't wait to see the end result!Thank you for an easy-to-follow tutorial and the inspiration to tackle this! Shawn

  11. Beth says Beth says

    Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

    Thanks for this post! I did cabinets in 2 bathrooms with this tutorial back in 2013, then we moved out of state (not an expected move) and I have now done bedroom furniture from my grandmother. the furniture was not my taste, but I cherish it because it was my grandparents'. now I also love it for how it looks!!

  12. jskrmk says

    Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

    You certainly do speak the truth. I'm usually the biggest coward at even thinking about attempting a project like this but the 1 last update 2020/07/11 in desperation to save $$$ I figured that I had nothing to lose. Boy is this a confidence booster. Two bathrooms down, now doors are next then our 1970's waterbed and lastly the kitchen. And I didn't hate any of it. You're descriptive tutorial was a true blessing for us. Thank you. My encouragement for others-have no fear!You certainly do speak the truth. I'm usually the biggest coward at even thinking about attempting a project like this but in desperation to save $$$ I figured that I had nothing to lose. Boy is this a confidence booster. Two bathrooms down, now doors are next then our 1970's waterbed and lastly the kitchen. And I didn't hate any of it. You're descriptive tutorial was a true blessing for us. Thank you. My encouragement for others-have no fear!

  13. Alex says

    Wow, this is amazing! We just bought a new house that has the same gorgeous oak cabinets (barf!). We are thinking of painting them, but now you've opened up the door of possibilities!

  14. Rita Shimniok says

    Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for A friend sent this to me and am considering in lieu of painting my golden oak cabinets…however, two people in the household are very sensitive to fumes. What are the VOC levels on this type of gel stain? Anyone who has used it could chime in here and help me out. Thanks!

  15. Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for ohemaa says

    I love your blog, you know why?, because unlike many bloggers who post on DIY and never give many details (so we constantly have to ask in the comment section where did you buy this or that which is so annoying cos something they dont even answer back and i am thinking why the hell are you blogging?). You on the other hand are very precise and very detailed to a "T" – you list everything you used and where you purchased it etc etc and you respond to comment. I mean the reason we all visit DIY blogs is to learn and get inspired and i absolutely hate it when DIY bloggers just post images of their finished product yet will never state which paint, tools etc they purchased and where they purchased it to make it easier on us who are reading to get inspired. Your Blog is PERFECT, i am a new sub.Thanks.(I am just getting into DIY starting with IKEA TARVA and RAST for my bedroom. So i am searching DIY blogs for inspiration and ideas. )

  16. Suzy for 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

    If you follow her steps exactly, it will turn out just like Monica's… it work for me!

  17. Jean the 1 last update 2020/07/11 DudleyJean Dudley says

    Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for I just came across to your site and THANK YOU!!! I have a small oak dresser to finish, a table I got from Good will and will do my bathroom cabinets. Thanks!! Oh, your finished cabinets are Awsome!!

  18. the 1 last update 2020/07/11 NazahForReal!NazahForReal! says

    Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

    Thanks for the idea, I also plan on starting this project soon. You did a great job!

  19. Rhonda W. says

    I am right in the middle of applying your technique on my husbands bathroom cabinets. What surprised me the most was using the men's sock, brilliant idea! The first coat I used my go to method of using a sponge brush. I usually always end up using the sponge brushes for nearly all projects. of course the first coat looked, streaked, etc. Expected that. However today for applying the second coat I decided to give the sock a try since I had noticed that I didn't have a lot of control with the sponge brush. Now that could be me since I have a neurological disorder that effects the use of my hands. But there were areas that were tight to get the gel stain on with the brush and with the sock? Not one issue at all! Had perfect control over what I was doing and the results look great.Only thing I had to do was use two disposable gloves under the sock as my fingernail poked through the first time I tried it. I'll always use one of hubby's socks for applying gel (I better get a new supple of socks in for him).

  20. Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Fegerle says

    I already have stripped my cabinet doors- sealer and coat of paint are off. Can I still use this method? Thanks!

  21. for 1 last update 2020/07/11 peekaboosmompeekaboosmom Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

    Hi! I hope I'm not re-commenting (I'm new to this process and keep getting prompted back to this spot!), but am wondering if this technique and these products would work on finished wood. I have some bedroom furniture that I would like to update for my university bound son's home away from home.

  22. Sallie424 says

    Woweee You go girl ! This is just what I needed !!! I need a dbl process on my honey oaks. (Distress but not have the honey oak peaking through.) I will use your technique, with abandon, 😉 before the chalk paint goes on, with a wet removal process. I am breathing more easily already.Thank you Thank you Thank you

  23. Quincy says

    I see that you used the color Java. It looks black in your photo. Is the final product black or a dark brown? I just purchased a medicine cabinet at Lowes in a color called Java but it's a dark mahogany-like brown, not black. I'd like to stain my oak vanity to be a similar color. Two questions…is yours black? If so, is there another stain color you would recommend to achieve more of a dark brown look?

  24. Anonymous Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

    Hi Monica!! I am a first-time home owner and am SO happy I found your post! I will totally try this – super nervous, but I think this post coupled w/your FAQs is totally motivating me. Eep! Will def. send you a link to the results. THANK You for posting this!! Check out my blog at IDreamofPretty.com to follow my journey. 🙂

  25. Suzy says

    Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

    Someone asked how this would hold up over the years…I think it would be fine if you put the satin finish over it to seal it.

  26. Tina for 1 last update 2020/07/11 Mower says Tina Mower says

    Question. ..do u recommend staining the backs of the drawers?

    • Monica Benavidez says

      I don't see why, but personally I'm lazy and wouldn't bother. It's all personal preference though, so do what makes you happy (and helps keep your sanity). xoxo,Monica

  27. Tina Mower says

    We are having a disagreement at home….to stain or not stain the backs of the drawers. What do u suggest?

  28. Suzy says

    Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for After 2 coats, it will still look streaky, but keep doing what you are doing… light coats with the sock…try to keep straight lines and most important, make sure it's completely dry between coats. I strictly followed Monica's directions and my piece turned out beautiful. Did you use the general finish product?

    • The D''Alessandro for 1 last update 2020/07/11 Family says The D''Alessandro Family says

      Any idea why after two coats it still looks streaky? I'm using the sock (not the brush) and am being careful to do thin coats. Is it in the technique?! I was trying not to over-think it, but I'm starting to worry. thanks 🙂

      • Monica Benavidez says

        Hi there! Usually the 2nd coat is still not quite "good", but just keep going! 🙂 It'll all even out–literally. Good luck!-Monica

      • The D''s for 1 last update 2020/07/11 Mama says The D''s Mama says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

        Love for 1 last update 2020/07/11 it!!!!! Doing my bathrooms this week!Love it!!!!! Doing my bathrooms this week!

      • Iwright says

        Super. We're planning on completely redoing our kitchen in May. With D day on May 6th. We bought a full set of oak kitchen cabinets on Craigslist for $200 but want them espresso. and yes our realtor says it's "in" and it "pops" So we're planning on painting them the espresso, which is more $$ but less time. What made you decide to stain (my husband thinks the stain would look better, so the grain of the oak comes out more)…?thanks

      • Liz says

        We are house shopping right now, and most of them do not have the dark cabinets that I want! I don't mind doing it myself, but did not know how. Thank you very much for the tutorial. I appreciate it very much!

      • Megan for 1 last update 2020/07/11 ChamberlinMegan Chamberlin says

        Not only did I tell friends, I used you as a guideline on my own rehab!! I gave yhou full credit on my blog post about for 1 last update 2020/07/11 it here: http://www.cmongetcrafty.com/2013/03/rehab-diy-hutch-makeover.htmlI love my rehab, though I believe yours turned out nicer over all! 🙂Not only did I tell friends, I used you as a guideline on my own rehab!! I gave yhou full credit on my blog post about it here: http://www.cmongetcrafty.com/2013/03/rehab-diy-hutch-makeover.htmlI love my rehab, though I believe yours turned out nicer over all! 🙂

      • tbatz says tbatz says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

        Oops, I forgot to leave my email. If you get a chance to reply, tbatz11 at yahoo.com. oh yeah, I also forgot to tape down paper onto my whiteish tile floor and now have a lovely permanent brown spot in the grout. Keeping fingers crossed for better luck tomorrow.

      • tbatz says tbatz says

        Thank you so much for this tutorial! I just started my vanity today, wish I had read this again before I began staining 🙁 I did use a sock, but I wiped off too much. Then didn't wait long enough before doing the second coat on the cabinet frame, used a foam brush for the whole thing, put too much on, then wiped too much off again making it look horrible. Ill sand some off tomorrow to make it more even. At least the doors and drawers look good with their first coat. Crossing my fingers that you'll answer back: did you sand between each coat of stain and poly like it said to on the General Finishes cans? Also, Please don't delete this post. Ill be reading it again when I get to working on other pieces of furniture!

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Maxine the 1 last update 2020/07/11 ParrishMaxine Parrish says

        Looks great! Will likely be trying this. Thanks!

      • wee says

        Our bathroom for 1 last update 2020/07/11 FILLS with steam when we use the shower, have you had any issues with water damage/steam damage? or does that poly seal keep it safe from water/steam?Our bathroom FILLS with steam when we use the shower, have you had any issues with water damage/steam damage? or does that poly seal keep it safe from water/steam?

        • Beth McJones says

          While waiting for my second coat of stain to dry (3 more hours,, I keep rereading your blog. This is the first time I have tackled a staining project, so I really want to do it right, especially since I bought enough supplies to conquer both bathrooms and the kitchen. I have learned something through rereading…I over wiped in the first step. I feel pretty confident that I can fix this by not over wiping in the third step, but we will see. I breathe in, and out and go!

      • Kathleen says

        Thank you so much for all your GREAT information and detail…I'm so excited (and overwhelmed) to take on my kitchen. I have just ordered the stain and poly and have my supplies list ready to go. I recently did something similar to my bathroom but I used paint. I've decided after reading your blog to go with stain for the kitchen. Wish me luck!! 🙂

      • Kale says

        Thanks so much for this tutorial. My husband especially thanks you. He told me if it hadn't been for your tutorial he would have totally freaked out after the first coat haha.

      • Rachel Schulte says Rachel Schulte says

        Thank you so much! We have an older home and the oak kitchen cabinets have been bothering me since we moved here, but I've been terrified to mess with them for fear that I could make it worse, plus I thought it would be entirely too time consuming. I definitely have this bookmarked for my project this summer! You are a life-saver! 🙂

      • Corpus Christi Family says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

        Totally inspired by your diy project that I decided to do mine! Thanks for all the details and information. I definitely don't think I would have been able to do it had you not shared your method and really great tips! Thanks! Linked to your site for my readers to get the details!http://www.corpuschristifamily.com/pages/blog_posts?r=49KLSARR7C&send_to=%2Fpages%2FCorpus_Christi_Family_Blog

      • Anonymous says

        Thank you so much for sharing this very informative tutorial. I'm in the middle of doing my master vanity and it looks so much better already. I can't wait till it's finished!!

      • Stephanie says

        I NEVER leave comments…..however, you made my day! It looks great and I am requesting the supplies for my birthday. (What else would a busy mother of 3 want for her 33 birthday! ) Great job, awesome tutorial and whitty to boot! (Much appreciation!)

      • Stephanie says Stephanie says

        I NEVER leave comments…..however, you made my day! It looks great and I am requesting the supplies for my birthday. (What else would a busy mother of 3 want for her 33 birthday! ) Great job, awesome tutorial and whitty to boot! (Much appreciation!)

      • Amelia says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

        My husband and I can't thank you enough. First coat drying in our kids bathroom…then moving on to ours…then the kitchen….then our railings 🙂 we have a lot of honey oak! Perfect tutorial!

      • Felicia says Felicia says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

        I want to give you a huge THANK YOU!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!We recently for 1 last update 2020/07/11 bought our first home with, and I loved everything except the cabinets. We have stained the bathroom and are moving on to the kitchen. DH thought I was crazy, but your pictures convinced him and we are ecstatic with the results. THANK YOU!!I want to give you a huge THANK YOU!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!We recently bought our first home with, and I loved everything except the cabinets. We have stained the bathroom and are moving on to the kitchen. DH thought I was crazy, but your pictures convinced him and we are ecstatic with the results. THANK YOU!!

      • csobering says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for I just wanted to let you know that there is only one place in Canada that I was able to find the General Finishes gel stain and that was at https://www.woodessence.com. No where else would even consider shipping to Canada.Also, I went and tried two different products available here in Canada, Minwax and Varathane's gel stains. If you want a lighter colour the Varathane would work fine. The dark Walnut after quite a few coats would not get that rich dark colour I wanted. I went online and ordered the GF java from woodessence. It is shipping from Saskatchewan, I am hoping to have it by next week and that it will look great when I get it!

      • Jillith88 Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        You've convinced me that I can make my ugly oak kitchen cabinets chic! Thanks for the detailed how-to!

      • Anonymous says Anonymous says

        This is FANTASTIC! I've been looking for a way to 'fix' my kitchen so it doesn't look soooo…boring. (cabinets, island, and FLOORS are all that same honey oak color…GAH!) This is it! I was so worried it would be too difficult, or I could really screw it up, and while I'm still a *little* nervous (my nature), I have confidence that I can do it now, thanks to your post. I'll be sharing with my hubby & hopefully he'll buy in and HELP! 🙂

      • jennifer says

        We have the fake white vanities. I painted them a few years ago and it is peeling and is awful! I think I will try sanding the paint off and using the stain. Thanks for the inspiration!

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Beth for 1 last update 2020/07/11 McJonesBeth McJones says

        You were so smart to conquer the bathroom first, before tackling your kitchen. First, you could discover the overall look on a smaller space. Second, kitchens are a huge undertaking, and we all know that is where the ghosts of dinners past (read "grease") live. Good luck to you in accomplishing your goal of completing the kitchen. I look forward to those posts!

      • Beth McJones Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        Thank you for this fabulous tutorial! I am so exited to update the cabinetry in my house for such a small amount of money! I hope to post here when I complete this goal. That being said, I have only just read your tutorial and have to get out there and get the supplies. Again, I thank you for your thoroughness and your willingness to share your expertise!

      • How the 1 last update 2020/07/11 YaHow Ya Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        Luv it! Can't wait to try it. I luv doing craft projects so I hope I have the patience!Thanks for taking the time to share!!

      • for 1 last update 2020/07/11 AnonymousAnonymous Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        Monica,My wife used your technique to put me to work on a little bit of a different project. We were having a yard sale and selling an old (but very sturdy) chest of drawers for a neighbor. But before we could sell it, my wife decided we should keep it and convert it into a buffet for our dining area…easier said than done. I removed the 6 drawers, tore out the insides (drawer guides, backing, etc) and used all the materials to make shelf supports, and installed 3 shelf levels. Then I used your technique to stain and topcoat it…What a transformation! Thank you for all of the amazingly useful information!p.s. There is one tip or minor modification that I would like to share with everyone. Instead of using vinyl gloves for the gel stain and topcoat application, use surgical gloves! I used vinyl gloves for the stain, but after destroying two pairs and losing a pound of water weight from my right hand, I decided to try surgical gloves for the topcoat application. I used a size that was too small for me and put a sock over that, and it was perfect because you could actually feel what you were doing and use your fingertips to get into tight spots. And when you're done, roll the glove off your hand with the sock inside, and discard in the trash. Easy as cheese!

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Kim says

        This is BEAUTIFUL. I have builder special everything in my house and slowly chipping away at making it my own brand of special. I think I am going to include your own brand of special to mine. Thank you for the tutorial.

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Caileen Sannan says Caileen Sannan says

        The Pinterest Gods guided me to your site and I fell in love. I too, have a kitchen and two bathrooms with ugly builder's grade light oak cabinets. I convinced my husband and we set to work. We spread the project out over three weekends to save our sanity (which was quickly disappearing on weekend #1); I am an obsessive neat freak and had a hard time dealing with the chaos that ensued at the start of this major project. In the end I am still married (love you hubby!) and love my kitchen more than I thought would ever be possible. You have a fantastic tutorial that we lived by. I do have one warning however, this project is not for the WEAK, but if you want it bad enough, it's yours!

      • Piper says

        I keep coming back to this post!! I am going to have to just jump in and DO IT!! I found the gel stain at wwwdotwoodworkingshopdotcom

      • kimrox says

        Wow… thank you so much for all of this terrific info! I stumbled across your tutorial on Pinterest, and am totally inspired! I've been looking at my honey oak kitchen for 10 years and hating it, and here's my answer! I'm moments away from ordering my gel stain. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Sarah Carter Roberts says

        this is great – thank you so much for your time in sharing

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Katie Howden says

        I know you get a million comments and questions on your stain tutorial but really, I just wanted you to know what a blessing you've been to the leagues of women who lament their oak cabinets. But no more! Now we all stand tall with our sock covered hands held proudly and attempt to stain ALL the things. If it's ugly and it's varnished we wield our socks with pride! I've been redoing my brother's house (he's lazy) for the past few weekends and it's been like a small miracle. His girlfriend and I now have a glorious relationship all based on the success of staining his cabinets! His friends are now my friends! And our parents have now even come to the "dark side" (They originally thought the oak was nice and a lovely selling point of the house. I shudder) And I hope you know that when someone goes to Amazon to look up General Finishes Gel Stain, they now include the suggestion for painters triangles and gel poly. General Finishes Java Gel Stain is now the #1 selling household wood stain on the internet, and I wouldn't doubt that it's all thanks to you! (They really should pay you or something.)So when you're feeling down because most of your traffic seems to be coming through just a small portion of your blog (which is silly really, the rest of your blog is delightful), please take heart in knowing that you have singlehandedly changed the kitchens and bathrooms of America (and beyond) with your single-sock-covered hand and a blog. You go girl!

      • Bethany Leszczewski for 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

        Ive been looking for something like this forever! We also have ugly honey oak cabinets and all the instructions say to sand ferociously and strip the paint. This seems MUCH easier! Thanks!

      • Curtis Frankie says

        THNAK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!Kitcken looks great so far concern is….Should you see ANY stain residue come off while applying the topcoat?

      • Bonnie and Ben the 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

        Quick questions: the JAVA color, did it turn out pretty black? Or is it more brown than black. I want to go dark but not black. Should I go with JAVA or an antique walnut?

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Jasmine Fast says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Love this! Thank you for sharing!

      • Action Potential. ..or for 1 last update 2020/07/11 Potential Action. Whatever.Action Potential. ..or Potential Action. Whatever. says

        Love this, thanks so much for posting! I'm glad you didn't take it down and the FAQ was helpful. Hubs and I are looking forward to trying this in our outdated bathroom come spring!!

      • Cheryl the 1 last update 11 Jul 2020 McCoyCheryl McCoy says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Just found this on Pinterest and followed it over here. I have been wanting to redo all the cabinets in the house but have been intimidated. This looks doable. Thank so much for the tutorial!

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for the 1 last update 2020/07/11 ShantelleShantelle says

        For those that are hesitant, DO IT! Since finding this tutorial last year I have done our master bathroom, entire kitchen, computer nook, and am in the process of doing the guest bathroom and mantle. The process WORKS and the tutorial here is great. Trust it and just go for it. We have 3 small kids and the kitchen has held up great. The casing around the bar needs to be touched up, but that's about it! Good luck!

      • Herbal Gatherings says

        Got everything ordered and can't wait to start. After reading your blog I felt bad that you didn't receive the thank yous that were deserved after answering so many emails so I'm sending one now – THANK YOU!!!!

      • Roberta Dawn says

        Found this tutorial through pintrest. Thank you for the inspiration. Although attacking my kitchen feels daunting, I look forward to the end result.

      • Roberta Dawn Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Found this tutorial through pintrest. Thank you for the inspiration. Although attacking my kitchen feels daunting, I look forward to the end result.

      • Jennifer says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for My question would be, I have what appear to be "real" oak cabinets, but they are in fact plywood if you know what I mean. Will the gel stain still adhear to that ya think??!!!

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Mrs_Slaughter says

        I went to look for painters pyramids on amazon and in the suggested combinations area on the page it combined it with the same stain and poly you used! Must be popular!

      • lg monroe says

        thank you so very much for this. the house my husband and I are moving into has the ugliest oak master bath cabinetry while the upstairs bathroom cabinets look exactly like your after photo. I am doing this when we move in. thank you again, you pretty much just saved my life (and poor hubs sanity) 😀

      • lg monroe the 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

        thank you so very much for this. the house my husband and I are moving into has the ugliest oak master bath cabinetry while the upstairs bathroom cabinets look exactly like your after photo. I am doing this when we move in. thank you again, you pretty much just saved my life (and poor hubs sanity) 😀

      • jasmine the 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

        Thank you for 1 last update 2020/07/11 so much for your post and detailed instructions! Just ordered the GF gel stain… will be making over my guest bath shortly 🙂Thank you so much for your post and detailed instructions! Just ordered the GF gel stain… will be making over my guest bath shortly 🙂

      • JaymeLeeO says

        For anyone who is considering this…do NOT hesitate. I followed her instructions to the letter and it is an amazing transformation in our 1/2 bath!

      • AnnieB says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for So impressed. This is exactly what I want for my bathrooms. Thanks for the great tutorial and your wonderful blog.

      • Chris''n jee says Chris''n jee says

        Love your cabinets!! Dear Hubby and I are in the process of home-building/buying. Your tutorial is going to be very handy. So .. Thank you!!

      • Jess the 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Thanks for making the time to post this. Probably took almost as much time as the project itself. I found this via pinterest. I hope to try this soon! It will be added to the "to-do" list.

      • Angelbel0204 says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for I have oak cabinets for 1 last update 2020/07/11 but they are not builders grade. They are real wood and some of the stain/gloss finish has worn off. Do you think this method would work for me?I have oak cabinets but they are not builders grade. They are real wood and some of the stain/gloss finish has worn off. Do you think this method would work for me?

      • Shelley Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for That looks amazing!! I can't wait to try it out on my cabinets. Thanks for the tutorial!

      • Shineesta says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for I just ordered the General Finishes stain and topcoat so I can do this in my bathroom! Way cheaper than buying a whole new vanity!

      • the 1 last update 2020/07/11 NetteNette says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

        Excited I found your tutorial on pinterest! Was planning on painting bathroom cabinets but going to use your method now!

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for the 1 last update 2020/07/11 AnonymousAnonymous says

        I just found this on Pinterest, it elevated my guest bath to the top of my priority list. I am SO excited to try this – thank you!!

      • for 1 last update 2020/07/11 LaurenLauren Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        Wow, this looks awesome! We have white cabinets now, but I'll keep this in mind if our future home(s) have a wood tone I don't like. I *HATE* sanding, so this may be the perfect project for me.

      • Chris and Christie says

        Amazing! I am looking the 1 last update 2020/07/11 at buying a house but I hate all the oak cabinets. Thank you for posting this!!Amazing! I am looking at buying a house but I hate all the oak cabinets. Thank you for posting this!!

      • ChicCrafter says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

        You did a good job here! Thank you for this tutorial, Perfect timeing to redo my bathroom this coming holiday!

      • felicia for 1 last update 2020/07/11 greenbaumfelicia greenbaum says

        THANK YOU for this tutorial! My house is on the market with lots of maple cabinetry and no contrasting counters or floors. If it doesn't sell soon, I'm going to try this before re-listing in the spring. Fingers crossed!

      • Brie Holtrop says

        Wow! These look awesome. And thanks for the detailed tutorial. I'm moving to a new place in a little over a month *yay* and something definitely needs to be done to the kitchen cabinets! You can bet I'll be referring back to your tutorial 🙂 Found you on pinterest – and I'm a new follower. I'm off to stalk you blog now and see what I've been missing :)Brie @ Breezy Pink Daisies

      • Lauren says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for I found your blog via pintrest! I am in LOVE and can't wait to try this with my own cabinets. Just a quick question Where did you the 1 last update 2020/07/11 get the new hardware from? I'm loving those drawer pulls!I found your blog via pintrest! I am in LOVE and can't wait to try this with my own cabinets. Just a quick question Where did you get the new hardware from? I'm loving those drawer pulls!

      • DonnaJo says

        As the kids say today OMG girl! I love your project & the results are Stunning! Thank you from the bottom of my essentially Scottish heart!! I can do this!! I'm jumping up & down inside with excitement!!

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Mom of 2 Cuties @ Sprinkles of Joy and Laughter says

        Looks great! You are going to be giddy when your kitchen is completed…well worth your efforts I'm sure. Thanks for sharingMaureen

      • for 1 last update 2020/07/11 LalaLala says

        What if your cabinets aren't REAL wood – think this technique would still work? I have been wanting to darken up my oak-colored cabinets since we moved into our house 5 year ago!!! I would LOVE to try this!!!!!! Thanks for all your help!

      • Lisa K. says Lisa K. says

        I just received my stain from Amazon and am excited to start staining!! Thank you so much for your tutorial and q&a!!! You for 1 last update 2020/07/11 have inspired me to do 2 dressers!!!Lisa KI just received my stain from Amazon and am excited to start staining!! Thank you so much for your tutorial and q&a!!! You have inspired me to do 2 dressers!!!Lisa K

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Katey says

        Just bought all the supplies! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I can't wait to try this. Thanks for taking the time to post this!

      • Floriamusica says

        Nice job!! I've been wanting to for 1 last update 2020/07/11 re-finish my kitchen cabinets for about 4 years now..and still have yet to do them! Your blog gives me hope. Do you think a different "color" stain would work? I'm not sure I want to do a java stain. It may be too dark for my kitchen.Nice job!! I've been wanting to re-finish my kitchen cabinets for about 4 years now..and still have yet to do them! Your blog gives me hope. Do you think a different "color" stain would work? I'm not sure I want to do a java stain. It may be too dark for my kitchen.

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Jen Jen says

        I can't wait to do this! The stain arrived today and I bought all the supplies. I do have two questions1 did you use that bathroom (ie the shower) as you were doing this?2. Did you rescues the same sock for each coat or did you use a new sock each time?Thanks!!

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Jessica says

        That looks amazing!

      • Carrie says

        Gorgeous! Thank you for the step by step instructions. Our kitchen cabinets are so UGLY so I think I the 1 last update 2020/07/11 can do this. Definitely pinning.Gorgeous! Thank you for the step by step instructions. Our kitchen cabinets are so UGLY so I think I can do this. Definitely pinning.

      • Sam, Becky Trantham says

        Love, love, love the cabinet! What a great job you did! I know now I can do it since you made it look so easy. Thank you for your written tutorial and pics….:)

      • Brandi Louise Dorris says

        Monica- I am looking to redo a whole kitchen and two bath vanities…do I need 2 quarts of stain + 2 quarts of the clear topcoat?

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Unknown says

        This is awesome. I was just about to paint my cabinets in espresso but now I'm going with your method. Question: which top coat did you use and is it a satin finish? It sounded like the same brand as stain but I wasn't sure. And if there are different ones like satin or gloss finish. Thank you, you are so my people. I am a big DIY'er and watch these shows all the time. Have put in laminate floor and back splash all by myself. :)Pam

      • Monica @ MonicaWantsIt.com says

        @Nancy- I used a fine grit sanding block. Coarse will strip the varnish, medium will cause lots of scratches, so I went with fine grit. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Nancy for 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

        I have all but clicked "check out" on Amazon to buy everything I need, but before I do, do you remember what grit you used for the sanding block? I don't want to use one that is too coarse/fine. I will be doing this ASAP! LOVE it!

      • Monica @ MonicaWantsIt.com says

        Hi J&J,"Parts of my vanity were laminate and not wood. Treat it as if it was wood. It’ll all work for 1 last update 2020/07/11 out in the end."Thanks!-MonicaHi J&J,"Parts of my vanity were laminate and not wood. Treat it as if it was wood. It’ll all work out in the end."Thanks!-Monica

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Justin and Jules says

        I love this! One question though. I want to do this but have the fake wood panelling on the side of mine. Did you just put the stain on the panel? Or is your real wood? Can it be done on fake wood? Thanks!!

      • Sarah Takens says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Deep breath….and…go. I'm starting this tomorrow on my home. EEEK!!! 5 days drying time! If you say so, I will do it! How long do I go inbetween poly coats?

        • Monica @ MonicaWantsIt.com the 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

          Hi Sarah! I waited 24 hrs between poly coats since they're fairly thin coats. Good luck, you can do it!

      • super_chick311 says

        please help me out!! What do you do if the wood has scratches? Do you have to fill it or does the gel fill it too? I want to stain my coffee table like this.. please help me!

        • Monica @ MonicaWantsIt.com says Monica @ MonicaWantsIt.com says

          Hi! I replied to your question on my FB page! Hope that helps. 🙂

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for DawnVickers Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        Monica, I already emailed you a thank you, but to let everyone else know. I've started doing this and it ROCKS!! It couldn't be easier. I had found celticmoon's tutorial before and had tried it and I never truly READ the tutorial but read the back of the can. I thought to myself "OHHH I can do this!!" not so fast missy!!.. do NOT wipe the stain off!! that's the clincher to this. Its inherent to want to WIPE the extra stain of to 'stain' the cabinets. Do NOT wipe the stain off. Once I READ Monica's tutorial and really adhered to it, my problems were solved and now I can't wait to turn my entire honey oak house into gorgeous espresso. Thank you so much!!

      • the 1 last update 2020/07/11 BreenahBreenah says

        We're looking into buying our first home and this has me MUCH more relaxed about probably having to move into a house with light wood! Thank you!

      • Lisa says

        Found for 1 last update 2020/07/11 you through Red Hen Home, oh how I wish I would have found you sooner (long story) anyway,mthanks so much for the awesome tutorial.Found you through Red Hen Home, oh how I wish I would have found you sooner (long story) anyway,mthanks so much for the awesome tutorial.

      • Vanessa says

        Thank you SO much!! We just purchased a house that has all oak cabinets!! I hate it and I'm coming from a house with dark woodwork so it was killing me. I just happened upon your post via pinterest, showed it to hubby, and now as soon as we are in, we are doing this. Do you think this would work on woodwork trim as well?? Ha! Can you tell I hate light oak?

      • Shantelle says

        I LOVE this! We are in the middle of the 5 day drying process of the 3rd coat in the master bathroom and we are loving it. How long do we wait in between each of the top coats? I'll probably do quite a few coats since I have 3 little kids running around the house. Thanks SO much for your detailed tutorial. It saved us a ton of time and money…now onto the kitchen!

      • R A C H A E L says

        Thank you thank you thank you for posting this. My 'test drawer' is drying as I type!! Oh happy day to see my oak cabinets gone!!

      • psucolleen says psucolleen says

        Thanks so much for the great tutorial! Quick question…. I'm a bit sensitive to strong odors. How bad are these (the stain and the topcoat)? I'm trying to gauge if I should dive in & have a major supply of migraine medication on hand or if by any chance the might be "low odor" (which I know is unlikely). Thanks again… great tutorial!

      • swankadotklutchs Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        Project Java Gel Stain Bathroom Vanity: Success I found it locally here in Sandy Utah at Woodcraft only place that carries it! First coat on and I am seriously giddy about how much better it looks already! The drawers super easy, used a tiny paint brush to get in to the corners/edges of the doors where my sock paw couldnt. The sock technique IS brillant! I HATE brush strokes too. I find myself walking around my house finding all things needing a shot of java expresso, thinking 'bout my blonde oak fugly barstools! Thank you SO much for the wonderful tutorial! Going to tackle the second coat now 🙂

      • Donna says

        OMG, this is so much easier than the using paint and not to mention prettier! Thanks so much for the tutorial, I'm going to follow your footsteps and start with my bathrooms then tackle my kitchen.

      • dearjenn Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        So glad I found your project on Pinterest! I needed to turn a rustic natural colored pine sleigh bed into a dark cherry colored bed to match some dressers we already had. Low and behold this gel stain works wonders on already-finished furniture too! Oh yeah, and I'll be going back for the java color next weekend to start swapping out my orangish gold colored kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Thanks for the tips!!

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for sue derose says

        This is beautiful and i wish i would have found your blog last summer! After refinishing 2 of our bathrooms with honey oak cabinets, and unsussessful with the espresso stain color i was hoping for, i wimped out and painted our kitchen cabinets an espresso shade. I like the results, but your method is stunning. I just may give the bathrooms another shot.

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for @monicabenavidez says

        I used the JAVA gel stain and I used a men's sock for everything- no paintbrush strokes for me…they drive me nuts.Happy staining!-Monica

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Kellie and Brandon says

        Can I ask what method you used to apply the poly top coat? Brush, cloth or sock? Thanks!

      • Shantelle Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for says

        Is the java gel stain that you used the antique walnut color? I just want to make sure before we try it this weekend. Thanks! [email protected]

      • Tiffiny Felix says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for So excited I found this! Pinterest *rocks*!! I hate my kitchen cabinets and I'm totally going to do this. I have black appliances, so I won't go so dark, but dark brown, for sure. Thank you Thank you Thank you!! *:D*

      • Beth says

        I am sooo glad I stumbled on your blog (pinterest)! Your tutorial is just what I was needing! my husband and I are in love with deep dark cabinets and the house that we put an offer on has the nasty oak cabinets. Thank you for the step by step and price list! So inspiring and incredibly worth it!

      • The Fam says The Fam says

        LOVE THIS!!!! I HATE oak, and the home we just bought has nasty honey oak everywhere! I was thinking about painting white in our kitchen, but with your blog, I may just go dark! It looks lovely! Thanks for posting this at all, and an extra thanks for all the tips! 🙂

      • Anonymous says

        love the finish and am looking forward to seeing the whole cabinet redone..maureen

      • Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for Monica @ MonicaWantsIt.com says

        And re: touch-ups…it should be easy to do with a sponge brush should any finish be marred/damaged. That's the beauty of this method- it's easy to maintain should they get messed up at some point. 🙂

      • Monica @ MonicaWantsIt.com says Monica @ MonicaWantsIt.com says

        Hi Mike & Mindy,I don't have kiddos, but I would say that if you need it to hold up really well, I'd definitely spend a lot of time/energy on the poly topcoat to seal it in. In a bathroom, I'd say 2-3 coats and in a kitchen, I'd say 4. The topcoat will be key to having a fab finish that is durable. Hope that helps!-Monica

      • Mike and Mindy Williams for 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

        I just found your tutorial and it's exactly what I'm looking for! I'm sure this is an older post, so perhaps you can answer a question for me–how hardy are these. I run a crazy house with 3 little munchkins and I'm looking for something hardy–can these cabinets take a good hardy scrubbing, often? Can they hold up against a little girl who loves to put stickers on everything? And how easy is it to touch up spots when the boys take tools to the sides? Any experience with such mishaps?Thanks!

      • Embellished Bayou says

        It looks amazing, Monica, you did a fabulous job! I did this in my kitchen and it has held up nicely, except in a couple of spots around the cabinet knobs that get a lot of use. For that reason I recommend buying some extra stain to have on hand over the years. I can no longer find the color of stain I used so I now I don't have any for touch-ups:( And I agree, drying/cure time is key!

      • WineRanger says

        Good Lord, woman! The planet's have guided me to you! I have a lovely home, but it was built 30 years ago and there is so so so much honey oak cabinetry. I'm getting ready to rip out the mauve-ish formica, strip the Southwest-y wallpaper and put in new sinks. I have spent many a sleepless night wondering just how hard it would be to stain my cabinets espresso. BTW both bathrooms also have the honey oak. As do the doors to all rooms, and the trim. It's a large house. Maybe I'll start with a bathroom and spend the next year on the project.

        • dee says dee says

          Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for That's fine if you have the money to do it otherwise this is an awesome alternative.

      • OakParkGirl the 1 last update 2020/07/11 sayssays

        Looks great! I wonder if I could use the same steps but finish with paint. Would it be different? I think you've done some refinishing with paint too right?

      • TheNextMartha says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

        Looks the 1 last update 2020/07/11 fantastic. Really.Looks fantastic. Really.

      • Kassi at Truly Lovely says

        Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for

        That looks great! My cabinets are already a dark color, but this is great to know just in case! Oh… and to tell all my friends. 😉

        • Dawn says

          Hidden Compartment Shelf DIYhow to Hidden Compartment Shelf DIY for I just found this tutorial on pinterest and I am so excited to try this on my bathroom!!! thank u!! i will send you pics of my before and after. i hope to get it done in december l.

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