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If you want to redo or give a face-lift to aged kitchen cabinets, here's an inexpensive way to do it. It does require your time and effort. Try mixing two wood stains together to about the color of wood your kitchen cabinets were originally or if you prefer you can change the wood color altogether. You can also take two darker wood stains and mix them together opposite of the first mixture of stains to use in giving more emphasis to grooves or cut pattern decoration in wood panels so it stands out.
Sand off the old worn finish using a medium and then a fine sandpaper and wipe off saw dust with new paint brush. Then use a clean t-shirt to remove the remaining debris from the panels. Next, wear medical gloves and wrap a small pieces of tee shirt material around you index finger. Squeeze off excess stain from cloth and apply carefully the darker stain first to areas of emphasis, if desired. Next apply the lighter stain mixture to the remainder of the cabinet panels. You may need to reapply until you get the depth of stain coloring you want.
Once it's dry, with brush thin coat with satin polyurethane for protective cover. You may need to do several coats allowing to dry after each application.
It's best to remove cabinet doors from hinges and lay flat while doing all processes. You will be pleased with the results and your cabinets will have that new look again w/o replacing. If mixing stains, stay with the same brand for best results.
Proven fact, painting over or replacing cabinets when they look bad is not the only answer to solving one's dilemma. You can even change the color stains if you don't like the original.
I did this to an old trailer my relative moved into which desperately needed a face-lift in the kitchen. Unfortunately, my camera would not take a decent picture in the room as it was too dark to show the end results well enough.
By Myrna from Ohio
You're right. There are lots of ways to do it, depending on the condition. I love stain, but find it harder than painting so I like to go the painting route. Either way, it's a "new" kitchen.