How to Apply Varathane

Catherine Chase

Check for existing wood finishes before staining and remove with a stripper or sandpaper. Sand the wood to ensure a more even finish. Before staining, clean the surface of all debris and dust and allow it to thoroughly dry. You may also test the color of the stain.

Wood stain is available in many colors and hues.

Apply a small amount of stain to an inconspicuous area. If you decide to use a different color, wipe the stain off before it dries and sand the area.

Varathane Wood Stain

  1. Stir the wood stain thoroughly with a paint stick.

  2. Dip a clean paintbrush in the stain, covering about ½-inch of the tip of the brush. Dab the brush against the side of the stain can to remove excess stain from the brush.

  3. Brush the stain on the wood, traveling across the grain. This type of stain works well for horizontal surfaces, as it will tend to drip if you apply it to vertical surfaces.

  4. Wipe off excess stain from the wood with a clean cloth before the stain dries. This ensures an even finish.

  5. Wait two hours to apply a second coat of stain, if desired.

Varathane Gel Stain

  1. Stir the gel stain thoroughly before use.

  2. Dip a paintbrush into the gel stain. Allow the excess to drip off, or dab the brush against the side of the can. You may also use a clean cloth to apply the stain, if you prefer.

  3. Apply the gel stain in the direction of the grain to vertical surfaces, such as doors, doorframes and cabinets.

  4. Let the gel stain sit for no longer than two to five minutes.

  5. Wipe off the excess with a clean cloth to even out the finish.


Spread a tarp underneath the wood to catch any drips. Wipe off excess stain immediately after application to make the color lighter, or let it sit on the wood longer for a darker color.