Roost + Restore
DIY Projects

How to Layer Stain Like a Pro

Learn how to give new wood a beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral­ly aged look with the stain lay­er­ing tech­nique An easy DIY method for using stain to achieve an old look.

The goal here was to make this wood look aged and pre­vi­ous­ly loved. In this case, a since shade of stain was­n’t gonna cut it. I decid­ed on using a tech­nique I am unof­fi­cial­ly nam­ing stain lay­er­ing. To be truth I don’t know if this is techini­cal­ly a tech­nique but it’s what I came up with and I must say I hap­py with the results. These are the shades I used: 

  • Min­wax Weath­ered Oak 270
  • Min­wax Semi Trans­par­ent Eng­lish Chest­nut 223
  • Min­wax Semi Trans­par­ent Ear­ly American

Lay­er One

Before I even dipped my rag in the stain, I stuck a few fin­gers into one of the two dark­er stains, I for­get which, and splat­tered drops ran­dom­ly over the top. I want­ed these areas to have time to set in and dark­en before I blend­ed them. I did this in small sec­tions, splat­ter­ing on one side and blend­ing anoth­er while it had time to soak in. I found it more effec­tive to splat­ter the dark­er shades and go back and blend with a lighter shade. 

Lay­er Two

After the splat­ters have had a moment to soak go back with a lighter shade, in this case it was the Weath­ered Oak and blend with the grain. This will smooth out the edges of the blot. 

Note, in the areas that you are not blend­ing a blot, ran­dom­ly alter­nate between shades of stain WITH THE SAME RAG. Basi­cal­ly, stain as nor­mal but alter­nate between shades. 

Lay­er Three and Beyond

Sim­ply repeat the blot­ting and blend­ing until you achieve the look you want. I went back and dark­ened some areas and blem­ish­es that I real­ly want­ed to emphasize. 

Here you can real­ly see the vari­ances in col­or with the dark­er blem­ished areas shin­ing through.

Seal with a water resis­tant seal­er. This is the POLYCRILIC SEALER I use for most of my DIY projects. It dries nice and clear with­out yel­low­ing your surface.


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  • Robin
    at 10:57 PM

    Lov­ing the way this is turn­ing out!! ?

    • roostandrestore
      at 1:46 AM

      Thank you! It’s been slow but oh so worth it