Using Java Gel on a Table Top

Using Java Gel on a Table Top

I heard all the hype about General Finishes Java Gel.
People kept saying it's the best thing since sliced bread. I had to try it. And now I'm in love. I fell hard and I fell fast.
I'm not the type of DIY'er that jumps in with both feet and throws caution to the wind. I walk around a project sometimes for weeks before I attempt it. I need to know exactly how and what – I don't want to mess my piece up. I won't proceed until I'm fairly sure how to do it and do it right.
So, to help you with your first attempt at using a new product, this new product, I'll give you a line by line tutorial that will allow you to jump in where I feared to tred. Then you won't have to dance around the can for weeks, or watch a dozen YouTubes.

The Table Top Before

Java Gel Table Top {Love My DIY Home}
1. Sand or strip your table top down to the bare wood if you want to see the grain through the stain. You can paint it over other finishes, but the beautifulness comes out when you stain bare wood. Be sure your table top is clean before you sand or it may glob up.
Painted Antique Table {Love My DIY Home}
2. Stir the Java Gel to make sure all the pigment is evenly distributed. It is a very thick gel.
Java Gel Table Top {Love My DIY Home}
3. Grab yourself a sponge brush and get it good and soaked with the Java Gel. Apply it just like paint. It has good open time, so you can work it to the point that it is evenly distributed. Once you have it covered well…

Brush the Java Gel till it Squeaks. from Val Frania on Vimeo.

4. Keep brushing until the sponge brush squeaks, letting you know it's drying. Use a very light hand, not pressing down with ANY pressure. Let it glide lightly over the wood over and over until the entire top is squeaking.
5. Let it dry on its own and recoat – same procedure each time. Two or three coats depending on the look you want.
Java Gel Table Top {Love My DIY Home}
6. Finish off with a topcoat. If you apply a water base topcoat, you must wait 72 hours. Otherwise, use an oil base. I have tried and liked Zar satin topcoat.
Java Gel Table Top {Love My DIY Home}
I forgot to wear gloves.
On the back of the table top, I tried using a staining pad to apply the Java Gel and it worked great. Java Gel is an oil stain. Always wear gloves or you'll have a mess all over your hands.  Or will you….? I did forget to use gloves so I got it all over my hands. But, I used Young Living Orange Essential Oil to get it off – and it worked perfectly. Any of the citrus works – I've used Lemon and Lime too.


Painted Antique Table {Love My DIY Home}


Java Gel Table Top {Love My DIY Home}
Java Gel Table Top {Love My DIY Home}
Java Gel. Try it. You'll like it.
I used Old Fashioned Milk Paint for this table along with the Java Gel. To see the tutorial on the table and my tips on using the Old Fashioned Milk Paint, check out: Side Table Given New Life – Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company.
If you like chalk paint for such projects, I have some recipes for you – a FREE PDF of 5 Homemade Chalky Paint Recipes. Click the picture below if you'd like it sent to you via email. It will also put you on my mailing list, but feel free to unsubscribe at any time:
Homemade Chalk Type Paint Recipes {Love My DIY Home}


Many thanks to DIY'ers who shared their experiences, expecially Christopher Casey on YouTube. It was after seeing his tutorial that I felt the confidence to jump in. I know. Silly. I like doing it correctly the first time. Welcome to my world.






Any of you live there with me?
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  1. What a beautiful makeover!  I really appreciate the detailed instructions–especially about the gel paint itself.  I would have been wondering if it was supposed to be that thick, so I'm glad you put that worry to rest.

    The milk paint gives the table a little character while the gel stain on top keeps part of the original character.  I love the fusion of old and new on this piece.  Great job, Val!

  2. Ohh, never have tried this but looks stunning! 

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