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Minwax® Gel Stain

Minwax® Gel Stain

Minwax® Gel Stain is specifically designed to give you full control over the staining process and help you achieve beautiful results. The unique non-drip formula makes application easy and delivers uniform color even on hard-to-stain woods.

Product Details

Application Tool: brush, cloth or foam applicator
Location: interior or exterior* surfaces
(* must be top-coated with an exterior clear top-coat)
Recoat: 8-10 hours
Dry time: 24 hours
Cleanup: mineral spirits
Coverage: 200 sq. ft. per quart
Coats: 1-2 depending on the surface
Recommended Uses: woodwork, furniture, doors, molding, trim, cabinets, accessories


Q. What makes Minwax® Gel Stain different from traditional stains such as Minwax® Wood Finish™?

As its name implies, Gel Stain has a gelled consistency. The non-drip formula makes it an ideal choice for vertical surfaces. Because it is thick-bodied, it stays more toward the surface of the wood, allowing greater color control during application. In addition, Gel Stain can be applied to non-wood surfaces, including metal and fiberglass, to give them a beautiful wood appearance.

Q. Does Minwax® Gel Stain need to be top-coated?

For added beauty and protection, we recommend topcoating all interior projects with a protective clear finish such as Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane or Minwax® Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane. For exterior applications, use Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane.

Q. What's the best way to apply Gel Stain to a fiberglass door?

Fiberglass is non-porous and won't absorb the stain the way a wood surface does. So, it's best to apply Gel Stain with a bristle brush. Excess Stain should be evened out with the brush - not wiped away with a rag. See application instructions on this website.

Q. Should Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner be used with Gel Stain?

Yes. Some woods, such as pine and maple, tend to absorb stains unevenly. Before using Gel Stain, Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner should be applied to ensure even stain penetration.


WARNING! Removal of old paint by sanding, scraping or other means may generate dust or fumes that contain lead. Exposure to lead dust or fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children or pregnant women. Controlling exposure to lead or other hazardous substances requires the use of proper protective equipment such as a properly fitted respirator (NIOSH approved) and proper containment and cleanup. For more information, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (in US) or contact your local health authority.


Surface Preparation:

  • Surface must be dry, clean, and free of dirt, grease, glue, and any existing coatings before staining.
  • Sand the wood in the direction of the grain using a fine-grade sandpaper (#220) until smooth. Remove all sanding dust.
  • To help ensure uniform acceptance of stain color and beautiful results, pretreat the wood with Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner following label directions.

Product Preparation and Color Testing:

  • Stir Minwax® Gel Stain until creamy before and occasionally during use. Do not thin.
  • Always test stain on a scrape piece or hidden area of wood to verify desired color.

Stain Application:

  • Apply a liberal amount of stain evenly with a brush or clean cloth.
  • Wait 3 minutes and remove the excess stain with a clean cloth, wiping in the direction of the grain. Allow to dry 8-10 hours.
  • To darken the color, apply additional coats of Minwax® Gel Stain repeating directions for application of first coat. Allow the stain to dry 8 to 10 hours between coats. Do not sand between coats.

Clear Finish Application:


For ease of staining and finishing, it is recommended that you finish the door before installation.


  • Make sure the door surface is free of all dirt and foreign matter.
  • Stir Minwax® Gel Stain until creamy before use and occasionally during use.

Stain Application:

  • Using a high quality natural bristle brush, spread a thin, even coat over the entire surface, starting with the raised panel sections. Always make final brush strokes in the direction of the embossed grain. Areas of heavier coats should be evened out before moving to a new section.
  • Allow stain to dry approximately 6 to 8 hours.
  • To darken the color, apply additional coats by following the instructions above. Let the stain dry 6 to 8 hours between coats.

Clear Finish Application:

  • Be sure to apply a protective clear finish such as Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane for interior use or Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane for exterior applications.
  • Before applying a clear finish, test the stain for dryness by wiping a small hidden area with a rag moistened with mineral spirits. If the last coat of stain can be removed with mineral spirits, do not apply a protective clear finish. Wait until the stain is completely dry.
  • Allow the finish to dry at least 6 hours before installing or closing the door to avoid sticking.
  • For exterior applications, apply a coat of protective clear finish every 12-24 months to keep the door looking beautiful.


Surface Preparation:

  • You will need: a graining tool, clean, dry, lint-free cloths, and clean, dry synthetic brushes. (Practice with the graining tool on a piece of scrap following the instructions in Step 3 until you feel comfortable using it.)
  • Most metal doors come already primed, but usually not in the color you should be starting with.
  • Select an oil-based base coat tinted to match the light tone in the wood you're trying to create.
  • Apply a thin layer of the base coat paint to the entire door and allow it to dry thoroughly.
  • Then, mask all areas, such as glass, that you do not wish to stain and remove all hardware and doorknobs. Clean the surface with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits to remove all dust, grease and dirt.

Stain Application:

  • Plan to work on the door in separate vertical and horizontal sections. Mask off the horizontal sections as you work on the vertical sections. The vertical sections need to be masked off when working on the horizontal sections. Each section must be completely dry before either removing or applying masking tape.
  • Select a Minwax® Gel Stain color that corresponds to the darkest color of the wood grain you are trying to create.
  • Test stain on hidden area to verify desired color.
  • Apply a thin, even coat of Gel Stain to a section using a natural bristle brush or a soft, lint-free cloth.  Apply in the direction of the grain you intend to create.


  • While the Gel Stain is wet, use a graining tool to create a wood grain pattern.
  • Apply downward pressure while moving the graining tool across the section at a constant speed. Use a long, steady, non-stop stroke -- rocking the tool one rotation as you move from beginning to end. Keep the graining tool clean by wiping it often with a rag or paper towel between strokes.
  • Repeat the above steps section by section.
  • If you are not satisfied with any given attempt, either wipe the surface clean or re-brush the area and start over again. Wet or tacky Gel Stain can be removed easily with a rag moistened with mineral spirits.
  • To complete the graining process, wait until the first coat of Minwax® Gel Stain is completely dry (24-48 hours), then apply a second coat of Gel Stain with a natural bristle brush in the direction of the grain pattern created. Work section by section as you did before. There is no need to mask off any sections.
  • While the Gel Stain is wet, use a clean, dry synthetic brush to remove the excess stain and create a uniform look. Use long brush strokes in the direction of the grain and remove the Gel Stain from the brush as it begins to accumulate with paper towels or a rag. The amount of Gel Stain left on will determine the depth of color.

Helpful Hints: On metal doors, use masking tape to mask off areas where sections meet. Let the section dry to the touch before working on a section next to it. This will ensure a clean, straight edge where panels meet.

COVERAGE: Approximately 200 sq. ft. per quart.

CLEANUP: Use mineral spirits or paint thinner.


The colours shown are for reference purposes only. They have been reproduced using digital production techniques. Always test stain on a hidden area of the wood to verify desired colour.

Honey Maple
Honey Maple
Aged Oak
Aged Oak
Antique Maple
Antique Maple
Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood