Oak comes in a number of natural colors, but most oak varieties are relatively muted. These subtle wood colors are often enhanced with wood stains, adding deep, rich tones to blank oak canvases. Wood stains seep into the wood to provide lasting color. Unfortunately, if your oak cabinets have already been treated, it's hard to know how wood stain will react with the oak. Fortunately, you don't need to risk ruining the cabinets by adding stain to them. The right type of paint actually looks like stain on an oak surface. A tinted polyurethane coat colorizes oak without fully saturating it, mimicking the effect of wood stain.
Things You'll Need
- Trisodium phosphate cleanser
- Damp rag
- Painter's tape
- Tinted polyurethane
- Foam paintbrush
Wash the wood surface with a trisodium phosphate cleanser and a damp rag. According to Hector Seda's book, "Home Repair That Pays Off," trisodium phosphate cleansers cut through cabinetry dirt and grime for better paint adhesion. Wait for the oak cabinets to dry.
Remove the cabinet hardware. Usually, all you need is a basic Phillips or flat-head screwdriver.
Apply painter's tape to any nearby items and wall surfaces. Painter's tape will protect against accidental brush strokes.
Brush tinted polyurethane onto the cabinets using a foam paintbrush. Polyurethane is a clear coat of paint used to seal wood and provide a glossy finish, but many varieties of tinted polyurethane also provide translucent color. This tinted color mimics stain without actually penetrating the wood. Foam brushes work best, because bristled paintbrushes leave visible brushstrokes in clear polyurethane paints. Paint in parallel lines with 50-percent overlap for even coverage. The job will be time consuming, but resist the urge to speed things up with a foam roller, as foam brushes provide the best faux stain painted finished.
Apply a second coat after two hours if the first coat does not create a dark enough aesthetic. The more layers of paint your add, the darker the faux stain will be.
Remove the painter's tape and reattach the hardware after 24 hours.
- "Home Repair That Pays Off"; Hector Seda; 2009
- "Room for Improvement"; Barbara Kavovit; 2005
- "Stanley Complete: Complete Painting"; Larry Johnston; 2007
- "Creating the Perfect Wood Finish"; Joe L'Erario; 2005
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Exterior Paint Vs. Solid Stain
Both exterior paint and solid stains are reasonable options for many outdoor surfaces, including house siding, fences, decks, patios and sheds. However,...
How to Paint Furniture to Look Like Wood
Painting furniture to look like wood can be a fun but labor-intensive activity. However, once you have finished the project, you will...
How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets to Look Like Wood
Faux wood painting is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to bring the rich look of natural wood to already painted or...
How to Make Oak Cabinets Look Like Cherry Cabinets
Learn two different methods for changing an oak cabinet finish to a cherry finish with instructions for sanding or stripping.
How to Make Anything Look Like Stained Glass
You can make anything look like stained glass easily with the proper paints. You can paint directly on most nonporous surfaces with...
How to Paint Wood Floors to Look Like You Stained Them
Stained wood floors add value and beauty to a home and have a classic look that never goes out of style. They...
How to Refinish Cabinets to Look Like Cherry Wood
Cherry wood cabinets are among the finest kind you can buy, and one of the most expensive. But you can get that...
How to Make Exterior Paint Look Like Stain
Paint and stain differ in one significant way: Paint, unlike stain, creates a solid finish over a wood surface. Stain, for the...
A Wall Painting Technique That Looks Like Glass
The sheen and translucency of glass have a way of brightening a room while making it seem more spacious. If you'd like...
Oak Wood Stain Colors
Oak stain colors can vary as much as you want them to. Usually oak stain manufacturers keep it simple, with colors ranging...
Fence Stain Colors
Choosing a fence stain color is not only a matter of aesthetics, but choosing the wrong color can land you in a...