How to Darken Maple Cabinets

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Dark cabinets with rich, deep colors can blend beautifully with the décor of almost any kitchen or bathroom. Cabinets made out of maple, however, are prone to splotching because of the wood's consistency. Maple cabinets will require more than staining to darken their color.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood dye
  • Clean cloth
  • Dry cloth
  • Wood stain
  • Soft-bristled paintbrush
  • Wood sealant
  • 320-grit sandpaper
  • Wood toner
  • Purchase a color of wood dye that closely matches the stain color you have chosen for the maple cabinets.

  • Wash the cabinets and dry them with a clean cloth. Residual grease or oils from cooking on the wood's surface will interfere with the dyeing and staining process, leaving patterns on the cabinets.

  • Spray the wood dye lightly over the cabinets' surfaces. Make sure to spray the dye evenly to prevent it from dripping. Do not wipe away the dye after spraying.

  • Allow the dye to completely dry.

  • Apply a small amount of the wood stain to the cloth. Work the stain lightly into the wood with a circular motion, using a dry cloth on the cabinet's surface.

  • Wipe the wood stain off the cabinet with a clean cloth before it has time to dry.

  • Allow the stain to completely dry.

  • Apply a thin coat of sealant to the cabinets with a soft-bristled paintbrush and allow the sealant 24 hours to dry.

  • Lightly sand the cabinet with a 320-grit sandpaper pad. Remove the sanding dust by wiping it away with a clean, dry cloth.

  • Mix a wood toner. You may use paint thinner or stain when mixing your toner, or you may opt to use the toner without making any modifications.

  • Spray wood toner evenly over the surface of each cabinet. This should even out any coloring that is not uniform and give your maple cabinets a dark, rich tone. Allow the wood toner to dry.

  • Apply two coats of lacquer or varnish to seal in the color and protect the wood. You may opt to either spray these materials or apply them with a paintbrush.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before you apply a stain to your cabinets, apply some to an inconspicuous area and wipe it off. This will allow you to see the finished color and decide whether or not you like it before you apply the stain to the rest of the wood.
  • Sanding your cabinets before applying the wood dye will result in a deeper base coat.
  • Ventilate the area well when working with wood stains, dyes, sealants and varnishes.
  • Wear protective eyewear to prevent any chemicals from inadvertently splashing into your eyes.

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