How to Refinish a Wood Curio Cabinet


Refinishing a wood curio cabinet adds new life to a dingy and worn-looking piece of furniture. Before you can refinish the wood piece, the furniture requires stripping and sanding to remove the old finish. Once the old finish is removed, clean the cabinet of any sandy residue and begin the refinishing process.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspapers or old sheets
  • Cloths
  • Wood stain
  • 3-inch fine-bristle paintbrush
  • Varnish
  • Sandpaper
  • Lay newspapers or old sheets in a garage or concrete patio. Place the wood curio cabinet on the sheets or newspapers. If you cannot take the piece outside, ventilate the room by opening windows and running fans.

  • Wipe the cabinet with a clean cloth, removing any dust from the surface. Open the can of wood stain and wet a 3- to 4-inch fine-bristle paintbrush with the stain. Tap the paintbrush on the side of the can to remove excess stain rather than dragging it across the top of the can.

  • Brush the stain onto the cabinet using long strokes and working in the same direction as the wood grain. Apply the stain generously to the cabinet surface, working from the top to the bottom of the furniture.

  • Rub the stain with a clean cloth after it has soaked into the wood for at least five to 10 minutes. Use medium pressure as you wipe away excess stain. Fold the cloth to reveal a clean side as you wipe. You may require two to three cloths to remove the excess stain. Allow the stain to dry for 24 hours.

  • Spray varnish liberally over the entire curio cabinet. Sand the surface gently with a fine sandpaper. Apply another coat of varnish to the furniture and sand over it again with the sandpaper. Wipe any residue from the cabinet with a clean cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Spray a furniture polish onto the cabinet if desired. Buff the polish with a clean cloth to add shine to the wood.


  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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