Friday, October 6, 2017

Fall in Love with Faux Effects' Stain & Seal

It's in the air: cooler weather, the leaves are changing and the holiday season is just around the corner. Fall is my favorite time of the year so it's perfect that the October Product of the Month is also a personal favorite: Stain & Seal!

Faux Effects Pickling White Stain & Seal. You need this for rustic modern cabinets!
Anyone that has ever seen my hands in public (even at some formal events) knows that I use Stain & Seal a lot. It also shows how well it grips! Stain & Seal is not only my go-to for cabinets and furniture but it's my preferred colorant for glazing walls, even big ones. But more on that later.

Is Stain & Seal a Gel Stain?  That is probably the number one question I get about it.  When you think about gel stain it's in the name-the material is full-bodied like a gelatin.  Imagine spreading cream cheese on a bagel-it covers the bagel well (and cleanly) but doesn't sink in.  Traditional oil stains are more like heated butter. They soak into the bagel and spread out but you will see the doughy surface.  Does that make sense? I hope so because now I'm hungry....

Stain & Seal is thick bodied like the gel stain but has stronger bonding properties and it seals-remember it's in the name. This means you can layer more color on top of it without lifting the under-stain. This comes in handy when you 're creating a finish with depth and need to get the project done. You still need to topcoat (the 2nd most asked question) to hold up to cleaning and to enhance the color work.

Here I'm using Faux Effects Stain & Seal to refresh antique Pecan wood for a table top. I removed water rings and the Stain & Seal blended in the sanded areas and worn finish beautifully!

Stain & Seal contains high quality well-grounded pigments in a unique water-based formula.  It is non-hazardous, non-flammable, and soap & water clean up.  It is rated for interior use only because the highly reflective color has limited UV resistance in direct sunlight. For exterior use  Faux Effects has Transoxide colors and Faux Crème Color Concentrates for outside surface projects.

It comes in gallons & quarts.  The most popular colors are American Walnut, Van Dyke Brown and Rich Brown but there is a shade for every project. Just look at these colors:

See, this is why I wear it like nail polish!

Let's take a closer look at the colors.  These are the blacks to the rich browns....

moving into the pines and red based tones....

and a golden yellow brown followed by the most versatile colors you didn't know you needed. Trust me on this! But if you don't, check my next blog post because I'm going to show how much you will use Colonial Green, Williamsburg Blue and Pickling White.

And something unique in the market, a range of metallic stains....

You know when a client says at the end of a glazed cream cabinet job, "I think the glaze looks a little dark?" Guess what? You can thin Pearl Stain & Seal, brush it over your FE topcoat and wipe it off. The bit of metallic works like a highlighter-imagine putting Vaseline on a lens to make you look younger (don't ask how I know about that one). The finish looks brighter which makes it look lighter. This trick works like a charm.

Cream Cabinet with Faux Effects Pearl Stain & Seal

And there is a Tint Base so you can get all creative and make your own stain colors using Faux Effects Faux Crème Colors or Faux Color.

And guess what? You can make that thick cream cheese into a thinner butter because Stain & Seal mixes with a several glaze mediums.  My preference is FX Thinner which is a water based resin medium for staining.  FX Thinner is used to thin the color concentration of Stain & Seal and it dries to a very hard low sheen finish.  It's the "dries hard" part that I really like because I want to get my layers on as quickly and safely as possibly. I don't want to lift previous layers.

FX Thinner will also prepare raw wood and then you may mix it with Stain & Seal for color (I like a 3 parts FX Thinner to 1 part Stain & Seal mix).

Custom stained island in warm browns by Surfaces Fine Paint using Faux Effects Stain & Seal

Want to freshen up faded stains or cabinets that have turned orange? You may mix FX Thinner and Stain & Sealer for color correction.
Iced Latte finish by Surfaces Fine Paint over old oak using Faux Effects Stain & Seal

When I want to wood grain, I like something a little thicker to hold the shapes created by the specialty brushes and tools. But I  also need to have open time to work large wood doors or panels. This is when I use Aquacreme with my Stain & Seal! I start with the same 3:1 ratio.

Faux Zebra Wood using Faux Effects Aquacreme and Faux Effects Stain & Seal

Faux Burl Wood using Faux Effects Aquacreme and Faux Effects Stain & Seal

And just when you thought you were really getting your money's worth, you may use Stain & Seal to tint Duraseal which is the Faux Effects Sanding Sealer. I use this mix when I need to create a more opaque base on old stained wood or raw wood that needs to be conditioned and color corrected. And I still want to see some grain.

Look at this poor sweet dresser.....

 And after with Duraseal mixed with American Walnut and Pickling White (see, I told you that you need it)

Pale grey pickled dresser with Faux Effects Duraseal and Faux Effects Stain & Seal

Pale grey pickled dresser with Faux Effects Duraseal and Faux Effects Stain & Seal

Have you been getting lots of requests for Restoration type finishes? Me too! These finishes highlight the grain and are most often found on White Oak.  If you've seen the pieces in person, you will notice that the surface feels waxy.  The best way I've found to re-create these looks is with Faux Effects Finishing Paste 
Car siding used for a ceiling colored with Faux Effects Finishing Paste and Faux Effects Stain & Seal. Project done by Surfaces Fine Paint.

White Oak custom finished by Surfaces Fine Paint with Faux Effects Finishing Paint and Faux Effects Stain & Seal

And don't forget-IT'S WATER-BASED! Water is your friend.  You can wet the surface first to create a slick area for movement. Or you may spritz with water to remove stain. I always keep a damp cloth handy to wipe off stain on purpose or to remove boo-boos.  Big walls? No problem.  I just spray the surface with water and brush in my FX Thinner and Stain & Seal Mix. Then I remove with a damp cloth.

Faux Effects Stain & Seal over plaster. Brushed on and removed with a damp cloth.
Why Stain & Seal for walls?  The colors are rich-it would take me 3 colorants to get the tone of American Walnut Stain & Seal if I needed to make it from scratch.  The bite and thickness allows it to settle in textured finishes. Don't worry about it moving...just use water.

Faux Effects Palette Deco Pearl, Faux Effects RS Sandstone, Faux Effects Sandstone with flake glazed with Faux Effects American Walnut Stain & Seal.  Modern light plaster finish with sparkle! 

Stain & Seal has always been an good deal. Non metallic colors are $18.93 quart and $60.77 a gallon. Metallic stains are $28.63 a quart and $79.54 a gallon. It goes a loooong way.

Want to try some colors or create samples? You can purchase Stain & Seal in sample sizes of 2oz or 16oz pots!  This size is great for Crafters or Canvas Artists. 

Want to try them all? You can get a Stain & Seal kit with all the colors and metallics for $134.

Now that your mind is spinning about all the uses for Stain & Seal (and I haven't even shared recipes, yet) October is your lucky month:

That's right! 20% off the month of October. For more information you may visit your favorite local Faux Effects Distributor! And check back here for a weekly post on more ways you may use Stain & Seal. With so many uses there is a lot to share....and ways to Fall in Love.



  1. Thanks, great info... I'm a big stain and seal user but have always mixed it with Aquacreme however sometimes that drags alittle and doesn't move very smoothly over the many cabinets we have done...I must experiment with other additives from FE. One trick we've learned is if your ss/aquacreme job didn't come out quite right on a door or drawer and it has already dried you can use a Mr. Clean magic eraser. It works wonders! you probably already knew that LOL! But again thanks...I have subscribed with my emailaddress.

    1. Thanks for the helpful hint! I use Aquacreme for finishes that I shape but mostly use FX Thinner with my Stain & Seal. Many people like Faux Crème Clear. I add a little Blending Solvent when using this mix

  2. Another stellar post from you! Thank you so much for this. Filing it away for future reference. Love the Pearl tip. Looking forward to more Stain & Seal posts.

    I use Stain & Seal A LOT and the FX Thinner trick I learned in one of your classes has been put to good use many times.

    (Vaseline, huh. :D )

  3. Great information. Thanks. Now when is that class?

    1. Thanks for the read. I will teaching cabinets at FE Dallas on December 6-7th.

  4. Can S&S be used on wood countertops? Wasn’t sure because of food safe issues. Thanks!