HOW TO GET A NATURAL WOOD STAIN COLOR WITHOUT ORANGE OR RED UNDERTONES | THRIFT STORE DRESSER MAKEOVER
Have you seen all the gorgeous natural-looking wood-stained furniture makeovers on IG and Pinterest? Ever wonder how to get this natural look without the yellow and red undertones? Today I’m sharing a NEW product I just tried. It took away all the unwanted undertones and was so easy to achieve! I also have some exciting news I’m sharing at the end of today’s post!
Here’s the thrift store dresser I started with. A shiny melamine tallboy with some funky decor panels and Jetsons-looking hardware. Can you see the potential here!?
Before I get into the full tutorial, here’s the new look. A gorgeous painted and stained duo!
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And check out these all-natural wood stain-colored drawers! They look even BETTER than they did in their natural state. I’ll show you the side-by-side difference down below!
THIS POST IS SPONSORED/CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS I USE. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
Thrift Store Dresser – SALVAGED
Slick Stick Bonding Primer
Salt Water Silk Paint
Serenity Silk Paint
Au Natural Stain
Gold Gemstone Mousse
Dewalt Drill Set
Industrial Spray Bottle
PAINTED & NATURAL STAINED DRESSER
Here’s how it all came together…
PREP | CLEAN
I started by cleaning this dresser’s shiny finish with this TSP substitute. I like using it in a spray bottle and wiping it down with a large sponge. I use another industrial spray bottle filled with clean water to rinse. This makes the cleaning process super fast.
HARDWARE AND PANELS
I was worried these dated panels were going to be tricky to remove without causing any damage to the dresser but it must have been my lucky day. When I unscrewed the hardware, the panels fell right off!
Because I wasn’t sure what type of hardware I was going to use, I filled the old holes in with Bondo. (I ended up using the original hardware but I swear, every time I don’t fill the holes I find NEW hardware I want to use…lol… murphy’s law I guess.)
SAND TO BARE WOOD
I was curious about what type of wood was underneath these drawers. Using my new Bosch Orbital Sander and an 80 grit aggressive sandpaper I sanded the Bondo smooth and took the majority of the finish off. Then I traded the orbital sander for my new palm sander and sanded the remains and evened out the veneer using a 120 grit. Finally, to get a super smooth finish I hand sanded with this 220 sanding sponge.
AU NATURAL STAIN
This was my first time trying this Au Natural Water-based Gel Stain in this all-natural color. Love it! Wait until you see the difference!
It’s easy to apply and here’s how I like to do it. The first two steps are NOT necessary but I like to use water as a FREE stain conditioner when working with water-based stains. I find the finish turns out more even.
- Dampen the wood with a mist of water or a damp rag
- Wipe any excess water off
- Apply the Au Natural Voodoo Gel Stain
- Wipe any excess off
Here’s the difference between the raw wood and the Au Natural Stained wood. The top drawer has been stained and the bottom three are the raw wood. It looks very natural but cuts down on the undertones and brings it up a notch. A perfect looking modern stain in my opinion.
At this point in the makeover, I still wasn’t exactly sure which direction this piece was going so I used this bonding primer on the body and legs. This is so I wouldn’t have to sand the shiny melamine. I applied one coat of Slick Stick, waited two hours, and then applied my second coat. When I went back down to my studio the following morning, I did a scratch test to make sure it adhered 100% before painting. Here’s a super quick video on how to do a scratch test.
PAINTING WITH LEFTOVERS
I used leftover paint to mix a custom color to pair with the Au Natural Stain. This beautiful blue with green undertones was created by mixing 25% of this Salt Water into 75% of this Serenity. GORGEOUS! This dresser took two coats for full coverage. I like the looks of this custom color so much, that I decided to paint the bottom two drawers as well.
Pro Tip #1 – I like to flip my piece upside down to get all the underneath painted first. I also used my Slap It On Technique to paint the spindle legs which works like a dream. No brush marks!
Pro Tip#2 – If you get paint on parts of your project by mistake, take a damp sanding sponge and sand it off. I used to wait until the entire piece was dry before sanding off little mistakes but I find it easier to use a damp sanding sponge and sand them off right away. No sanding dust will get into your wet paint if your sponge is damp. I’ll be sharing this tip on this Saturday’s YouTube so you can see how easy this is to do!
TOPCOAT | PROTECTION
No top coat is needed for the paint portion of this dresser. To seal and protect the drawers I’ll be using this spray wax. It’s super easy to use and has a totally flat finish.
To give the original hardware a NEW look, I used spray paint but wasn’t happy with the results. So I ended up using this Gold Gemstone Mousse on the hardware handles and the bottom two inches of the feet.
Here’s the finished look! What do you think?
I love the natural-looking wood top paired with the custom Serenity bottom!
It’s a perfect spring color!
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on Youtube. If you have any problems viewing below, feel free to watch it on my Youtube Channel HERE. Our #siyoutube family has hit 13.2K so don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t done so already! So exciting, thank YOU! 🙂
Here’s another look at this dresser’s before and after. I hope it’s inspired you and given you some new ideas for your projects!
And now for my exciting news! Zibra Painting has asked me to participate in next week’s Zibra Podcast… my first podcast EVER! It’s a new segment called “The Beginners Bucket” and I’ll be chatting on… “How do experienced refinishers balance wanting to use new techniques and products with creating furniture that will be in style and enjoyed for years to come?” I’ll be linking to it on my socials so I’d love for you to follow me here, here and here as well!
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS NATURAL WOOD STAIN COLOR AND DRESSER MAKEOVER. ALSO, FEEL FREE TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE… I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU. IT MAKES MY DAY! 🙂
Happy furniture painting friends!
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JOIN THE SALVAGED INSPIRATIONS FAMILY!
Cheryl Brady says
Does this Au Naturel stain have a slight pink undertone?
No, I would describe it as a natural beige undertone but then again it may depend on what type of wood you use it on.
So glad I saw this really well crafted and beautifully styled piece!! I am currently working on a really nice art deco piece and after sanding the ambered pumpkin 80 year old top coat it revealed this gorgeous light natural woodgrain that I wanted to preserve. I have been reticent to go further for fear of darkening it but not now.!! Thank you so much for featuring this product because now I can finish this piece I started months ago. You are an artist and have such refined and sensitive taste!!
Hi Frank! I’m so happy this has given you some inspiration to finish your art deco piece. It sounds fabulous!
Wow, this piece turned out absolutely beautiful! As always! The new Voodoo stain, and how you paired it, is gorgeous!
Hi Alanna! 🤗 This new Au Naturel Voodoo Stain is now a staple in my arsenal hehe! Love it!
Wow! Turned out beautiful!
Hi Ashley! Thank you!!!
Mary Ann Forster says
WOW!! I love how this piece turned out! I’m loving everything about this piece 💙
Thank you Mary Ann!
What a beautiful makeover!
Thanks so much Nikki! xo
Kevin F says
Wow! You always do such amazing work. This is no exception. It really turned out great. Your techniques and step by step instructions are super helpful. Great job, as always!!
Thank you Kevin, much appreciated!!
Wow!! So modern looking! You have such fantastic vision 🙂
Thanks so much, Suzanne!💕
As usual, beautiful job!
Thanks Cynthia! xo
I love this piece, so springy looking. Great job, Denise!
Soooo spring-eee right!?🌸 Thanks so much Teri!🤗
Another fab job, Denise. It was so horrid to look at before you did your magic. I’m not into pastel colors but you did do a wonderful job of taking away the Jetson’s look!!
…”It was so horrid to look at before…”🤣, it kind of was! Thanks so much Lisa! XOXO
Thank you! You always inspire me!
Marie B. says
Wow, what a gorgeous color pairing! The custom paint color is so pretty, Denise. I’ve tried all the Voodo gel stain colors and am so excited to learn about this au natural one. I can’t wait to give it a try soon. Amazing MCM dresser makeover!
Aw thanks so much my friend! XOXO I’m in love with this stain… I know you’re going to love it too. Out of all the Voodoo Gel Stains, Tobacco Road is a staple in my stash but now I’m adding this Au Naturel too! 😉
The link takes you to the stains, but Au Naturale isn’t one of the options to purchase. Is there anywhere else to buy it?
Hi Faith! I believe the Elite Dixie Belle Retailers have it in stock and it should available for online purchase soon. If I can find out an exact date, I’ll definitely let you know. 🙂
Christy James says
This is gorgeous, Denise! I love the Au Natural stain!! XOXO
Thanks my friend! I love it too! XOXO
Love thé transformation! And thank you for the tips
My pleasure Corinne! So had you love it! 🤗
Cleo Burrows says
I’m surprised that you were able to sand the melamine down and get such a nice finish on it. I really like the natural finish on it.
The drawers weren’t so bad because it’s a veneer underneath but I wouldn’t have wanted to tackle the top. I may have been sanding for days…lol.
Cecilia from Georgia says
I’ve been trying to decide how to stain a vanity so it has no undertones and Au Natural sounds like the winner! Good to know about the wet sanding for removing paint BooBoos! I make a lot! I’m so excited about your appearance on Zibra podcast. Love listening to them!
I make a lot of booboos as well!🤣 And if you give the Au Naturel a try, I’d love to hear what you think!
Absolutely stunning.. I never comment but I’ve been a fan for years.. thank you for all your inspiration, I have used a few of them for thrifted pieces in my own home 🙏🏾❤️
You just put a BIG smile on my face Gwendolyn.😃 Thanks so much for the comment and I’m so happy the #siblog has inspired a few of your thrifted pieces!🤗
Do Dodson says
L O V E
That natural wood stain color is perfection. I’m using it to restain my pantry doors. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful makeover. 🙂
ooooh, I can’t wait to see how your pantry doors turn out with this! Thanks Do! XOXO
What a great makeover! It looks fantastic. I love the effect achieved with that stain. And the paint color is just gorgeous. Beautiful transformation, Denise – as always!
Thanks so much, Marcia… appreciate it! 💙💙💙
Hi Denise. This is a gorgeous up cycle. The custom blue you created is absolutely perfect with the natural wood. I also love how you did half the dresser natural and half blue. Beautifully done. I’m looking forward to hearing your podcast and seeing this Saturday’s YouTube video.
Thanks my friend! I was originally going to leave all the drawers natural but I love the half and half as well!🤗
Gorgeous! The natural stain is perfectly paired with your custom blue! Looking forward to the Podcast!
Thanks so much Sara! XOXO
Gayle Stewart says
Love the finish and the piece! I am getting ready to use the white voodoo stain to whitewash a coffee table. Could you use the white over the au natural to counteract red undertones?
Thanks, Gayle and for sure! I’d do a little test to make sure it’s the exact result your looking for. I’ve mixed these stains and it’s turned out beautifully!
Thank you Nancy!
Love the transformation ! The natural wood stain and custom mix of colors go beautiful together. Look forward to your Tuesday emails 🙂
Aw, thank Kelly! I appreciated this!💙
Cilla Watkins says
Beautiful! Love all your tips too!
I have a project I would like to try the au natural on and I can’t find it for sale.
Where did you purchase yours from? It isn’t in the link you shared.
Thanks so much.
This is SO NEW it’s only being sold at Elite Dixie Belle Retailer right now but it should be selling online shortly. If I find out the exact date, I’ll come back and update this comment for you. 😊 UPdate – Cilla my friend Christy is an online Retailer and selling the Au Naturel Voodoo Stain here. hope this helps. 🙂
cilla watkins says
Cilla Watkins says
Christy’s Etsy store won’t ship to Canada 🙁
Oh, sorry! I didn’t know that Cila. Here’s the direct link to DB and they DO ship to Canada. They have The Au Natural Stain online now. I’ve also included it about under the supply list as well.
Dana Manning says
Denise, this is so lovely! Such a cool, retro vibe, but modern. I am dying to try this stain!
Aw, thanks so much Dana! And I know you’ll love it! This natural stain is a winner in my books! 🤗