My husband’s parents generously gave us some old furniture they no longer needed after their move to the beach. (I wish I could move to the beach.) One piece was an old cabinet. It has one drawer and two doors underneath. It was in need of refinishing and looked pretty worn. (see before photo) I asked first to make sure my Mother-In-Law had no objections. Better to know that ahead of time.
This project evolved many times. At first I planned to just sand it down and refinish it with a dark color. Then I was going to paint the whole thing red. After that I was going to paint the cabinet red but refinish the top to show the wood grain. Each step changed my mind. After sanding the whole cabinet, I could see that the grain was really nice and it would not show if I painted it. I chose a walnut stain color. It was at this point that I decided to put a design on the top. There was a stain that would not come out in the shape of a circle and I thought that would make a great flower center. And so it began.
I ended up using an ebony stain for the shading. With stain, the longer you leave it on, the darker the color will be so you have to judge how long to wait before wiping off the stain. This part takes the longest because you have to keep adding stain until you get the design where you want it. I used small paint brushes for the flowers so that I could control how much stain went in certain areas. Using a clean cloth, I just wiped off the stain in an outward direction from the inner parts of each petal. In order to keep the light original wood color, I had to coat the entire top with clear polyurethane after the design was complete. The whole project took 2 days, over the weekend.
After some new knobs and stain on the rest of the cabinet (after a good sanding), the finished cabinet looked amazing. Fortunately my Mother-In-Law thought so as well.
The poly really brought out the nice wood grain and now the piece is a beautiful addition to our family room.