DIY Refinished and Painted Cabinet Reviews




Waxed and Gel Stained Cabinet Reviews

We didn’t originally plan to also cover gel stained or waxed cabinets, but since we received the info from our great readers, we figured we may as well share! If you have an experience you’d like to share, comment below or contact us

Reader Mel

Reader Mel redid her cabinets about a year ago, using the “as seen on Pinterest” Java Gel stain by General Finishes. “Tutorials for this are all over the web. 3 coats applied with a sock, allowed to dry for 12 hours between coats, and sealed with the same company’s sealer. We are hard on stuff. I use over-the-door hooks to hold towels and pot holders, and they slide all along the top edge of the cabinet doors. The finish has not come off.”

gel stained oak cabinets via Make It and Love It
gel stained oak cabinets via Make It and Love It

YES, Mel would do this again, and she rates it as a 5 (Amazing. I expect this to last for many years.)

Mel’s tips: Low humidity, lots of ventilation. And it wouldn’t hurt to watch a marathon of your favorite show. This is tedious work.

Marty | A Stroll Thru Life

Marty refinished her kitchen cabinets over 5 years ago, and she’s still happy with them! She used a dark wax to darken the color of the existing cabinets.

“I cleaned the cabinets really well with soap and water, then simply applied a dark stain wax. I buffed them to a soft sheen. The wax darkened the cabinets about 2 shades to a beautiful medium wood tone. They turned out looking fabulous with so much more character than the really pale color before. A little wax, new hardware and a thrifted piece of granite totally changed my kitchen.”

Marty A Stroll Thru Life DIY cabinet makeover using dark wax

YES she’d do this again, and she rates it as a 5 (Amazing. I expect this to last for many years.)

Marty’s tips: If you have oak or any type of wood with a really strong grain, test how it looks on the inside of your door first. You may not like how the grain looks once the stain is applied.


page 1: painted cabinet reviews
page 2: cabinet painting kit reviews
page 3: chalk painted and milk painted cabinet reviews
page 4: waxed and gel stained cabinet reviews

Remodelaholic is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Please see our full disclosure here.

Similar Posts


  1. We painted our light oak cabinets white. Biggest regret–We used an oil based paint, thimking it would be toughe and more durable. Then, about six months later, we noticed that “white-white” wasn’t so white any more! They were turning slightly yellowish. A DIY friend told us that oil ALWAYS begins to turn yellowish! Wished we had known and had used a water based, enamel paint. We DID carefully sand doors, drawers, and cabinet frames meticulously. Then used a sprayer (2-3 coats). Cabinet frames were painted with a brush and/or roller. Over all, the paint held up great and we are getting ready to repaint cabinets in our new house….but with WATER based paint this time!

  2. I painted my cabinets bright lemon yellow, all by hand with a brush over the ucky “whitewashed” look that was popular 30 years ago. I wanted that old, country kitchen look with the cabinets looking like they had been painted many times over the years (hence using the brush) and got exactly the look I wanted. I only lightly sanded with one of those spongy sanders, and used a nice water-based high gloss for easy clean-up. We tried removing a door, painting it, and replacing it, but it didn’t sit right after that so I used an artist’s brush around the hardware. Paint has held up well and messes wipe right off.

  3. Hello, I had white cabinets that needed light touch up so I meant to just touch up the dings and ended up fanning out and painting larger sections that I wanted….got over zealous.

    When the light doesn’t hit them, they look good, but when the light hits them you could see paint marks that look and feel rougher than the professionally finished sections.

    So I bought 600 to 800 grit finishing sandpaper and lightly sanded it. I can’t tell if it made things worse, it’s smoother but it kinds looked like it scuffed it more too. Then I applied (per the cabinet manufacturer recommendation) Deft satin brush on lacquer to try and blend the flat look into the more satin finished areas, they look ok but is there any way to buff out the rougher/scuffed looking areas?

    Please help, I’m worried I ruined my nice cabinets. Thanks!


  4. I wish you would have included a couple chalk painted technics. As my husband and I are planning to do our kitchen cabinets that way. Would have loved seeing how it has held up for anyone who went that route.

  5. I can not tell you how helpful this post has been!! I have been going back and forth about what method to use to paint our kitchen cabinets and then I found this post! I feel much more confident now making a choice! Thank you for doing the legwork to seek out the results of these different painting methods! It has been invaluable!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.