Not too long after we moved in here, I decided to stain our stair railings from the plain & boring oak that they were to something more rich & exciting. So, I bought some Polyshades by Minwax. Not sure how long this product has been out, but it is pretty neat in that it has stain & poly all in one step. You don't have to do a lot of prep work to change the color of something & the results are pretty amazing. Thought some of you might like to see this project. It was very easy to do & only took about 2 or 3 days working a couple hours at a time. I didn't tape off the spindles, but used a small cheap chipbrush that could be thrown away. Did I mention that I'm a lazy painter & hate cleaning brushes? Especially oil based paint brushes. So, you can buy these chipbrushes very inexpensively & throw them away without a lot of waste. I mixed 2 shades together: Bombay Mahogany & Royal Walnut. The Mahogany has a lot of red & I was trying to get more of a deep dark brown. It turned out a little more red than I wanted initially, but I'm still happy with the results. It's a whole lot better than the boring somewhat blonde oak color we had to begin with. Here's a pic of the railings before I started. Boring oak. Oak is not my favorite, especially this color. I have some old furniture pieces of oak that are rich & mellow, but the new oak in most houses today leaves a lot to be desired. No offense to any of you who love oak, it's just not my cup of tea.
You can see how they contrast with the floor. I wanted them to be darker than the hardwoods. This product is a little bit runny, so you do have to watch the drips as you are going along. I did one coat overall & then went back & added more where it was streaky. All in all, it turned out just the way I had planned & I'm very happy I did them. This color above on the railing is very accurate to how they look in person.
They aren't quite as orangey-red or streaky as this pic shows with the flash, but here's a closeup. I'd suggest you get small pints of any colors you are looking at & mix them until you get exactly the color you want. It doesn't take a lot of stain either, so small pints, not quarts will do this job easily. I'm working on a small side table that is not real wood, so I'll show you that one when it's finished. I do notice that the Bombay Mahogany really does go on darker & more saturated than some of the other colors, like the Royal Walnut I'm working with now. So, the best advice is to experiment with the colors before you get started. I do think if you wanted a darker brown shade that you could easily mix one of the darker ones in with the Mahogany to get the look you want.