DIY Ombre effect

Refinished Ombré Barstool

I refinished a barstool.

(Sort of.)

I only removed part of the old finish, so… I refinished part of a barstool..?

I somewhat refinished a barstool..?

I half-way re-did it..?

(I can keep going if you’d like…  I also like ellipses… )

Anyway, back to my talk about the barstool.

For quite a while, I have wanted to do an ombré effect using stain.

(I think this came from an earlier desire to “ombré” my hair, but please don’t repeat that.)

To pull off this look, I knew I would need something taller than a short end table.

I also wanted to do as little “removing of the old finish” as possible, so I needed something with a existing color that I could incorporate.

Enter, le barstool.

barstool before

Jumping right in, I sanded the seat portion down to the bare wood.  This is because I wanted it to really soak up the dark stain.

(No, I didn’t use any chemical strippers in case you’re wondering.  I avoid it at all costs when I can.  I’ll tell you all about it one day.  I have strong feelings about the goopiness.)

sand barstool

Moving down the legs, I removed MOST of the finish, lessening how much I removed as I went down.

(Does that make sense?  Because it looks confusing to me when I type it out.)

removing finish off a barstool

And because my name is Pauline, and I am addicted to Dremel, I used my Dremel Multi-Max.

Tight spaces, there be.  (Pirate voice.)

(Dremel didn’t ask me to say any of that.  I just really love my Dremels.  This Multi-Max was my very first tool purchase several years ago, and I’m pretty attached to it.  Like a pirate would be, I guess..?)

using a dremel multi max

I used Minwax Polyshades for this project, by the way, for two reasons:

1.  The polyurethane top coat is already in it, so there’s one less step,


B.  That very polyurethane that is in there, makes the stain “layer” easier, and it’s more forgivable.

(I promise, this is NOT a sponsored post.)

I used these two colors:

minwax stain

Next, I flipped it upside down.  I think I was worried the dark stain would go rogue on me and cover the whole stool, and if that happened, how was the lighter shade that was supposed to be in the middle show up?

staining stool legs

The next picture is a close up to show you how I used my 6 year old’s watercolor paint brush.

brush on stain

Turning the stool right-side up, I applied the darker stain to the seat.

NOTE:  Because there is both stain and polyurethane in this stuff, you need to stir it as you go.

minwax polyshades application

And then I moved down the legs… oops!

polyshades application

It’s okay!  I didn’t stress.

I just kept a rag and cup of mineral spirits within reach.

If it ran like the pic above, (see, it went rogue!) I dipped the rag and wiped upwards.

clean up stain

(That actually looks like I wiped downwards.)

This is why I said Polyshades is more forgiving.

Because of the polyurethane in the lighter shade I applied earlier,  the running from the darker shade didn’t penetrate the wood.

A few hours later when it was dry to the touch, I did another coat wherever needed.

second application of stain

See?  It layers great.  (I touched up on the legs in a few spots, with that little green brush from earlier.)

End result:

Ombré Stained barstool refinished


I really enjoyed this one, but I owe my 6 year old a new watercolor paintbrush.  He was NOT happy with me.

“Artists!” (eye roll)


Have a great day!


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