Wood Cabinets – How to Strip and Stain

Wood Cabinets – How to Strip and Stain

You can easily spend a weekend to give your wood cabinets a fresh look by following these simple steps.

Materials needed

Paint stripper
Wood stain
Paint brush, 1-1/2 inch
Metal scraper or putty knife
Drop cloth
Sandpaper, 100-grit attached to a hand block
Clean disposable cloth or rag
Rubber gloves
Safety goggles
Particulate mask
Replacement handles (optional)


Place drop cloth in a well-ventilated area.

Remove all the cabinet doors and drawers. Using the screwdriver, remove the hardware from the cabinet doors and drawers. Place all items on top of the drop cloth.

Wear the rubber gloves, safety goggles, and particulate mask.

Paint a light coat of the stripper paint onto the front of the drawer, cabinet face, or front of the cabinet door. Don’t apply the stripper paint to everything all at once. Do this one at a time.

Allow the stripper paint to work its magic for 10-15 minutes before gently removing the original lacquer with the metal scraper. Work in one direction.

Once all of the lacquer has been removed, sand the surfaces using sandpaper.

To obtain a consistent look, re-sand the surfaces making sure that you are sanding parallel to the wood grain. If the stain you chose is lighter than the existing stain, you would need to sand of the stain as well.

Apply the stain to the cabinets using a sponge, one area at a time, to achieve a wet look. Wipe off excess using a dry cloth.

Allow the stain to dry for about 1-2 hours.

If you plan to change the cabinet door and front drawer handles, it would best to do this after the stain has completely dried and before you re-attach the doors to the cabinet.

Don’t worry about the insides of your drawers or cabinet. You can skip refinishing those since they will not be on display unlike the cabinet face, cabinet door, and front drawer.