Stain to Match Ikea Table
October 26, 2013 12:10 PM   Subscribe

We just bought an ikea dining room table with the brown laminate, and we'd like to stain the plain wood ikea chairs we got to match. While we realize it will be difficult to replicate exactly, what stain or combination thereof can we use to get close to this color? The table looks a bit darker than what the product photos show, here's what it looks like in real life.
posted by Mach5 to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Color-wise, probably walnut or mahogany. FYI (in case this is your first project), pine doesn't take stain well. You might consider wiping on a coat of clear polyurethane followed by a gel stain—reapplying until you get the depth of color you're going for.
posted by she's not there at 1:05 PM on October 26, 2013

Best answer: I've done a lot of wood finishing, and when you're trying to match two pieces, the results are going to vary a lot depending on wood species and porosity. A transparent stain varies the most, whether it's oil, water, or alcohol based -- some areas of the wood soak up the stain and some resist it. You'll get the most even and predictable color from a gel stain. Fortunately, gel stains are the easiest to use, because you wipe them on with a cloth and they're very forgiving. You can even use them on finished wood that has been sanded lightly. You can do more than one coat. You'd want to follow it with a sealer.

The next best is something like Zar semi-transparent stain. It also sits on the surface, but doesn't obscure the grain as much as a gel. You can apply it with a cloth or a brush. Most Ikea wood chairs have uninteresting grain, so there's no compelling reason to use semi-transparent stain. I recommend against a transparent stain. It's harder to work with and the least likely to give you a decent match in your situation.

Look at walnut and dark walnut colors, and any others in that range for the line of stains you're considering. Here are color charts for General Finishes brand, Varathane, and Minwax gel stains, and you can find other brands online as well. It's a good idea to test the stain on the underside of a chair before slathering it all over. YouTube may have videos showing how to apply the gel.
posted by wryly at 1:09 PM on October 26, 2013

Best answer: I nth the recommendation for gel stain. I used it on pine boards to make shelves and it was easy to work with and came out quite even, and this was without any pretreatment. I was able to get a dark brown/black that is very close to the IKEA brown/black finish. I used General Finishes stain in Java, that I bought at Rockler. I used a polyurethane also from the General Finishes line but I don't remember which.
posted by cabingirl at 3:10 PM on October 26, 2013

Best answer: My local paint store will mix stains to match. It helps if you can bring in a sample of the wood you're trying to match and the type of wood you're going to stain.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 3:35 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I could swear that Ikea sells cans of stain formulated to exactly match their standard furniture colors. However nothing is coming up on their website. You should probably call to ask.
posted by wutangclan at 8:17 PM on October 26, 2013

Last time I was at Ikea (a couple weeks ago) the had little cans of wood finish you could buy. It was in the section with all the kitchen drawers and organizers and stuff like that.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:02 AM on October 27, 2013

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