How to Stain Timber | A Video Tutorial

If you’re a regular visitor here, you may have read snippets about this “secret” project.

Well, a few months back I was lucky to be invited to take part in and style a professional video tutorial for Feast Watson!

How to Stain Timber

It was like nothing I’ve ever done…and I loved it!

I can’t thank Feast enough for taking a chance on this “behind-the-camera” girl. I know it was probably risky for them – I just hope they think it payed off!

In around March I was asked to source an item of furniture to make-over for the video using Feast Watson Prooftint (interior wood stain). Given I was unsure of time-frames, and the fact this whole video process thing was totally new to me, I thought it best to stick with something familiar. So when I came across this worn deco style dresser on eBay for just $10 I couldn’t say no.

Dresser Makeover Before

It was almost identical to the bedside table I had previously made-over for my own bedroom.

Farmhouse Bedroom

I knew I could refresh it in a similar style and demonstrate just how powerful a stain-based make-over can be by totally transforming the look and feel of the piece.

So, that sad little chest of drawers sat in my backyard shed, waiting for someone to make it happy again. And as the weeks passed by, with no word on a production date from Feast, I was beginning to think they’d changed their minds about entrusting a novice with their precious video.

Then, I received an email!

I had around one week to fully prep my piece, select and arrange styling props for the set and purchase an appropriate outfit for the filming.

One week!

Those of you who know me, and know the pace I move at since having two kids who like to hang off my jean legs, will know this was a frightening time-frame for me!

I get that for a seasoned stylist (or a more efficient mum), one whole week is probably a lovely luxury. Though I am far from a “seasoned stylist” (or a “more efficient mum”!).

It was flailing arms time! With no professional styling experience and limited industry contacts I didn’t know where to start.

Anyhoo, after I calmed down, broke the internet and had two (okay, four) glasses of wine, things seemed slightly less daunting.

It wasn’t easy though in one week I managed to prep my piece, pull together a scheme for the set (which involved arranging the loan and logistics of several items – including a whole queen sized bed!) and buy a camera worthy “work” outfit – far more appealing than my usual paint-encrusted ensemble.

Here’s the mood board I presented…

Mood Board

At the time, I was still awaiting confirmation of all the filming specs and finalisation on the brief so obviously not everything made the final cut.

And here are some of the items I did end up using…

Classic Neutrals (Styling Props Mood Board)

Caitlyn Bed | 2 Paloma Lamp | 3 Label Pulls | 4 Bolu Rug | 5 Ticking Sheets

I can’t thank enough all the awesome brands who agreed to loan me pieces (#grateful).

The two days of filming were full-on, though also super fun and interesting. The production crew were amazing however I still felt a sense of personal responsibility – like it was somehow my job to ensure the product really shined. Of course, I realise I was merely one small cog in the machine, though that self-imposed pressure certainly created a few moments of self-doubt (I may even have been overheard mumbling “you can do this, you can do this” under my breath on more than one occasion!).

I would have loved a bit more time to perfect the final styling, though overall everything came together beautifully and I’m super pleased with the little video.

Pardon the unflattering stillshot. Apparently Feast Watson are having trouble uploading custom static images.

I don’t share much of “me” on my blog, and am a pretty private person by nature, so it’s a tad daunting putting this out there. That said, I love that you guys, especially those of you who have followed for years and become like friends to me, finally get to hear my voice (albeit a recorded one) and see me properly (well, kinda). And hopefully seeing this transformation in video form helps demonstrate just how easy the wood staining process can be and instills some confidence in those of you who might otherwise have felt a little intimidated by it.

How to Stain Wood | The Painted Hive

Have a great end to the week all.

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39 Comments
  1. Deb from Maryland says:

    Kristine,
    Look at you! Listen to you! I’m still smiling. Great job – you looked quite natural, and the styling was perfect. Congrats on taking a step out of your comfort zone to further your passion. :)

  2. Gayle Karson says:

    Really enjoyed the video tutorial. Great Job!

  3. chris aka monkey says:

    oh how cute you sound and look, if i had seen this on my tv i would have thought you were just another model doing an ad and the dresser turned out beautiful xx

    • Ha, ha. You’re too sweet Chris. Thanks so much for your lovely words :)

  4. Megan Hyatt says:

    Congratulations! It looks fantastic, as do you.

  5. Tracey Bradshaw says:

    Well done! You sound great, look gorgeous and the drawers came up beautifully.

  6. Cheryl says:

    You’re a natural. Star quality!!

    • Ha, ha. Not sure about that though it was fun. Thanks Cheryl :)

  7. Nikki Stretch says:

    Well done Kristin, I too am still smiling… :-) Oh how you underestimate yourself! I’m so pleased that you shared this.
    I have tried a few sample pots of Prooftint and wasn’t really sure about it… but now I’ve seen your little video clip I might give it another try (I didn’t know they had reducer)! So there you go… you’ve just convinced your first discerning customer. <3

    • Oh good Nikki! It’s a breeze to work with and the colour reducer is great for open-grained timbers which might absorb too much stain. I used the colour reducer on my first Re-Love Project piece (the faux flat file drawers: http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/07/re-love-project-before-after/) because I was working with plywood which is very porous.
      Thanks so much for your lovely words :)

  8. Dana says:

    I find it very refreshing to watch your video. Love your accent & we all can learn so much from your blog!!! Thank you for sharing 😘

  9. Kay says:

    Nicely done and good to see the real you-lovely.
    Congrats!

  10. Julie says:

    I barely recognised you in the video; you look so different with your hair pulled back, not as much like Princess Mary but still gorgeous. Everything you do is so amazing; you are a very gifted lady. I just read the list of facts about you for the first time even though I have loved your blog for years. I think you have now discovered what you want to be when you grow up! When I grow up I want to be someone who can get ready for holidays on time and I am old enough to be your mother. Thank you for being such a constant inspiration.

    • Ha, ha, Julie. I share so few photos of myself it’s hard to know what I actually look like in real life! The video is probably more accurate than the pics on my blog. I wear my hair up ALL THE TIME and I’m one of those people who looks completely different with it down.
      Yes, I think you’re right, I have discovered what I want to be when I grow up (mental note: need to edit that list!).
      Thank you so much for your sweet words. I feel so blessed to have lovely, faithful, encouraging readers like yourself.
      :)

  11. Chris says:

    Woohoo, I’m impressed. Don’t stop at one….Tell Feast Watson I said they have to get you a regular gig now
    Thank you

    • Ha, ha. That made me laugh out loud Chris. Okay, I’ll tell them you said so ;)
      Thanks :)

  12. Sally says:

    Wonderful video! Beautiful styling! You’re definitely a natural and I love being constantly inspired by your transformations. Would love to hear how you prepped these drawers off camera first, as I think this must be the stage I got wrong on my last cabinet makeover. (It was all going well but the stain came out very patchy so I think I must have left some of the original finish behind)

    • Thanks Sally :)
      Yep, the prep was the most time-consuming (and boring) bit. It’s also a really important part.
      Of course, all pieces are different so the level of prep, and way you tackle it, may vary from item to item.
      In my case, I used a chemical cleaner (‘EziClean’ – you could simply use a purpose stripper though) to remove the majority of the existing varnish then sanded thoroughly using a palm sander followed by fine grit paper, concluding with steel wool for a nice smooth finish.
      I went back to raw all-over to ensure the new stain would penetrate consistently though sometimes I get lazy and leave some of the pre-existing finish. Depending on the condition of the wood and how old the varnish is, on occasion you can get away with it. And I don’t mind that tone-on-tone look – it works best with dark stains and can give the impression of an aged patina.
      If some of the original finish was left behind on your piece, you may have noticed a slightly tacky feel and/or streaky look in areas when applying the stain. Sometimes this patchy look evens out considerably after the application of a sealer.
      Certain woods are simply more prone to a blotchy look though. In this case you can use a wood conditioner/primer or a diluted shellac to help with even stain penetration. I would recommend testing on an off-cut or inconspicuous area first though as I have found that some primers can drastically alter stain penetration.
      Anyhoo, hope this helps.
      x

  13. Wow! Love the video, the outfit, and the product. You are famous!

  14. Fiona says:

    Well done. Gorgeous piece also

  15. Great job! The video was wonderful…and you were a joy to watch and listen to…

  16. Jeanene says:

    Beautiful! Good job! I enjoyed seeing you and your project.

  17. Anna, Sydney says:

    You did GREAT! You have a great voice-over voice too. Sounded like you do this kind of stuff all the time. Nice styling as well. I had concerns for your nice shirt :) … I could never do a messy job like that and look as good (and CLEAN) as you did. What’s your secret?! ;)

    • Ha, ha. I couldn’t believe I kept that shirt clean either Anna! Just a few little varnish splashes.
      Thanks so much :)

  18. Melanie says:

    I love the video and love seeing the person behind the blog I’ve been reading for years! Great job; you are charming and self-deprecating and so cool. :) Thanks for all the great inspiration and free content you share!

  19. Ashlea says:

    What a wonderful video! You did such an amazing job, and have such a lovely voice for this type of work. I know you are Australian, but I forget about your accent when reading :-) So lovely- well done!

    • Thanks so much Ashlea. Yes, it is hard to read an accent – LOL!

  20. Rachel says:

    I just stumbled across your blog as I am doing up a second hand TV unit and have been researching Feast Watson stains. As a fellow Aussie, I was SO excited to find someone with the exact same interior style and taste as me – especially when funky / modern / farm-house style blogs are often American. Your use of natural wood and character pieces is beautiful. I also love that you are following your passion and haven’t allowed yourself to be restricted by a budget! This video was also super helpful for staining tips!

    • So lovely to e-meet you Rachel. It’s always so exciting to come across another Aussie who shares my style – yay! Like you mentioned, almost ALL of the farmhouse-y kinda blogs are American, as are most of my blog readers, so it’s a real treat. Thanks so much for your lovely words about my projects and decorating :)

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