There is nothing quite as beautiful as a Sundried or Driftwood piece of wood. Those particular wood colour tones are so elegant and timeless. It’s exactly what you could expect to find in a traditional Beach House.


**Giveaway Alert – at the bottom of the page**


Photo by Josh Sorenson from Pexels


If you are like me, you do not live by the sea. In fact, in Ottawa we are “blessed” with a valley but that doesn’t mean you can’t create that clean and inviting look into your urban/suburban/city home. All you need is to find a furniture piece you would like to stain, I don’t mean Ikea here, it has to be real solid wood. Go ahead, find your piece and let’s get staining…


Week #96 Challenge: Give your wood furniture a new life with Varathane Stains!


Full-disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Rust-Oleum – Varathane Product Line.


Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a few wood pieces, one of which my dad handmade. It’s a pretty massive pine chest and although outdated in terms of style (sorry dad :S), it’s very well built and has plenty of potential. So being that this piece is like a family heirloom and that the cedar interior smell is out of this world. I decided to refinish it to match my space.



What Supplies do I need?


Once you’ve identified what you want to stain, the next step is to gather your supplies:


For Sanding (if your wood is bare and untreated, skip this):


An electrical sander I used the Bosch Palm Orbit Sander (On sale for $69.99 + taxes)

Sanding Discs – (Grit: 80, 120 and 220) ($7 + taxes per pack)

Extension Cord – to plug the sander

Microfiber cloth – to wipe wood dust and particles off the furniture

Dust Mask – to avoid inhaling debris or fumes



For Staining:


Quality wood stain – I used Varathane Briarsmoke (New – not available in Canada yet) & Varathane Sun Bleached ($20 + tax each)

A paint brush

A lint-free rag (you can cut up an old t-shirt and use that) (No cost)

A plastic cup to mix your stain (I used a clean mushroom container from my recycling bin) (No cost)

A plastic teaspoon (You can get that at the Dollar store) ($1 + tax)

Paint Thinner or Varsole: to remove stain from the brush ($6 + tax)



For Painting:


If you plan on painting a section of your piece, I will be writing a separate article on Cottage Paint – a Canadian chalk paint company I am also collaborating with. It’s what I used to paint the base of the chest, no sanding required woot woot!!

Cottage Paint Colour: For this project I used: Cloudy Day



Handles (3 x Matte Black Cup Pull handles by Richelieu – $5.65 + tax each)



How to choose your wood stain?

Varathane is not the only stain brand on the market, however, after doing plenty of research on the topic I found it to be the best.


Why is that?


1- Easier to use: It requires no pre-staining agent, which means one less step (trust me it makes a difference)

2- Yields faster results: It’s a one coat application, most stains requires two or three

3- Unique stain colours: They carry stains I couldn’t find elsewhere including:

Sun Bleached

Antique Aqua

Weathered Wood accelerator – Dying to try this out one day


You can view all their stains Here! You can find these stains at Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart and Lowes.


Selecting a Stain Colour



Sky is the limit here since you can combine stains to create a unique blend. It’s also important to note that the stain will not appear the same on each type of wood. My suggestion is to:


🎨 Search online for a specific Varathane Stain on a specific wood variety

🎨 Go in store to see stain samples or ask someone to stain a pine stick to bring home


For a driftwood finish, I didn’t know exactly where to start. Briarsmoke being a brand new stain, I couldn’t find much abour it. As a result, I ended up playing around with 4 different Varathane stains on Pine Scrap pieces:



My preference turned out to be combining 2/5 of Sun Bleached and 3/5 of Briarsmoke stains. As the character Linguini in Pixar’s Ratatouille would say:


” So let’s do this thing!!!”



Sanding: First, using your mask, sand with the 80 grit, then with the 120 and finally with a 220 for a smooth finish. Try to apply even pressure across the piece always going with the direction of the wood grain.


Removing Pieces: In my case, the chest had these little wood decals that I wanted to remove. Since these are glued it means you need to pry those babies right off. I used a flat spatula to dig underneath and, quite literally, popped them off using a screwdriver. Fancy method, I know Although I knew the area in question would be painted not stained, I still needed to sand it to ensure it was a completely flat surface. Sanding also removed any leftover glue residue.


Maintaining Furniture Character: As I was sanding the top of the chest, I noticed that the design on the edge was vanishing. I ended up borrowing a router to create a new style. Borrowing tools can be a very economical strategy if you don’t plan on using the tool in the long run.


Before using the router


After the router


Clean the surface: Using the microfiber cloth wipe any debris from the surface you will be staining and you are ready to start.

Varathane Staining Steps:

Important Note: Always stain outdoors or in a very well ventilated area.



Step 1 – Shake

Shake the stain cans thoroughly prior to opening them (ensuring they are sealed properly).


Step 2 – Mix

If applicable mix the stains using a teaspoon. I poured 6 teaspoons of Sun Bleached and 9 teaspoons of Briarsmoke which was plenty to cover the entire top.


Step 3 – Test

Apply your mix on a small surface of your furniture to get a sense for what it looks like.


Step 4 – Apply

If you like the result, using a paint brush, apply the stain on the wood leaving it for 1 to 3 minutes and then wiping the excess off with your lint free fabric. If you can, use gloves for this step as my fingers turned grey from being in contact with the stain. Oops..


Step 5 – Additional coats

Let your stain dry and re-apply a second coat if you want it darker, one coat is all you typically need with Varathane Stains.


Step 6 – Finishing coat

Once fully dried, I waited 24 hours to apply the Varathane Triple Thick Matte Finish in spray form. Shake the can thoroughly and generously spray the content on your piece. The surface should look glossy, not speckled. Let that dry for another 24 hours.



Congratulations! Your stain is complete.


Once the base painted and the handles changed this is what the piece looked like 🙂



Varathane Giveaway

Open to Ottawa Residents


Interested in winning:

⭐️ Varathane Briarsmoke Stain container (946ml); and

⭐️ 2 x Varathane Triple Thick Matte Clear Finish Spray Cans

Whether you want to dip your toe in the wood-staining world or know someone who would love these products here is how to win:


Simply write: “I ❤️ Woodworking” in the comments section below.


For a second entry, follow me on Instagram and enter there too!

Winner will be announced on November 1st, 2018!

Good Luck xo

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Comments ( 3 )

  • Susan Wingert

    “I ❤️ Woodworking”. You finished cedar chest looks beautiful and ontrend!

  • Claire

    Simply Beautiful Isabelle. Good Job…I have a chest to refinish myself. I will follow your steps. I love the finished product. The use of the router to change the edge is brilliant. Very impreesive.

  • Gen

    Proud of you for trying the router out for yourself and doing a great job of it! I love woodworking!

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