How to Stain a Pine Table

Updated February 21, 2017

If you want your pine table to have a shining glow instead of the pale colour it has naturally, consider adding some stain to the wood. With wood stain, you can make the pine wood take on almost any hue you can imagine. Your staining project may be a bust, though, if you do not apply it correctly. You can leave dark splotches on the wood or leave an uneven coat of colour when you apply the stain carelessly.

Prepare your work area by laying down a tarp. The tarp protects your floor from sawdust and wood stain. Use a dark tarp so that the white dust of the pine table will show brightly, making it easier to clean away.

Sand down the surface of the wood using 280-grit sandpaper. Sand with the grain or you will damage the wood. Pine is a soft wood, so you will need to replace your sandpaper often or dust will build up quickly on the paper, causing it to lose its effectiveness. Remove any dips or blemishes from the wood with the sandpaper.

Dust off the sawdust left by the sanding. Use a water-dampened cloth first and then a dry cloth. Sawdust will negatively affect the application of wood stain to the table, so make certain it is all off before you proceed.

Wet the surface of the wood in order to check for scratches left by the sanding. Pine is such a light wood that it may be difficult to determine if your sanding left any scratches that will affect the colour of the stain. Wetting down the wood darkens it, which makes the scratches more apparent. Let the table dry, and sand down any scratches that you find until they disappear.

Shake out the tarp to remove the sawdust while the table dries. If the sawdust remains on the tarp below the table, it might stick to the wood stain once you apply it. Once the tap is completely clean, place it back under the table.

Dip your paintbrush into the wood stain. Hold the brush at an angle over the container and wait for the line of liquid to stop running freely. Avoid spilling stain on the wood or it will leave a dark spatter mark.

Test the colour of your wood stain on the bottom side of the table. Pine is a light-coloured wood, so your wood stain may dry into a colour you did not expect. Dabbing stain onto the bottom of the table hides your test mark from view while allowing you to determine if you enjoy your current shade of stain.

Brush on the wood stain once you determine the right shade for the pine table. Move your brush strokes in one direction as you apply it. Move slowly and do not let the strokes of the brush overlap, which will create dark lines on the wood.

Don a pair of gloves in order to protect your hands from the wood stain. Wipe the excess stain from the table after you let the stain sit for about five minutes. Move the cloth in a circular motion as you mop up the excess stain. Leave the stain to dry for the recommended amount of time on the package.

Apply a second coat of wood stain if you believe the first coat isn’t dark enough. Wait five minutes after you apply the second coat and wipe off the excess once again.

Spray clear coat sealer onto the table in order to protect the stain. The clear coat creates a hard shell around the wood of the table. Apply a second coat after the first one dries.


Always work in a well-ventilated area when you handle sealer and stain. If you begin to feel dizzy or sick, leave the room until you recover.

Things You'll Need

  • Tarp
  • Sandpaper
  • Cloth
  • Paintbrush
  • Stain
  • Gloves
  • Clear sealant
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About the Author

Shae Hazelton is a professional writer whose articles are published on various websites. Her topics of expertise include art history, auto repair, computer science, journalism, home economics, woodworking, financial management, medical pathology and creative crafts. Hazelton is working on her own novel and comic strip while she works as a part-time writer and full time Medical Coding student.