First sand the wood and remove any dust before staining. A clean, used pair of nylons or panty hose works well for applying stain to wood. The nylon provides an even coat and doesn't leave behind any lint. Wear rubber gloves, it's very difficult to wash stain off your hands without using a nasty chemical like mineral spirits and be sure to wear old clothes. It usually takes at least two coats to get a uniform look.
I used a off white throw rug and dyed it 3 different colors. I did strips in blue, brown and green. While doing this, I used a piece of wood that was natural to make my lines. I found out that the brown dye worked well for staining the wood. It turned out better than using a stain plus there where no fumes with it. I think this is a real cool find. The dye works wonderful and looks real nice.
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Here are questions related to Staining Wood Furniture.
I have a coffee table that I would like to match my TV stand. It would require me to go from light wood to mahogany. If I'm going darker, do I have to strip the stain away completely? Or can I strip off the varnish and apply a darker stain?