First, we did three rounds of sanding the table down to get rid of the smooth finish and scrape away some of the blonde color. I would recommend sandpaper that is 100, 150 and 220 thickness.
Once that was done, we wiped all the sawdust off the table and made sure it was ready for staining.
When staining, you'll want to apply a coat of stain and then wipe it off after 3-5 minutes, depending on how dark you want your color to be. I would recommend using old t-shirts or a very soft cloth to wipe off the coats of stain...a towel is too rough and leaves marks and prints in the stain.
(Sorry for the mess in these pictures!)
We did about three coats of stain before putting on the polyurethane.
Don't panic if it doesn't look professional at first, the color really has to sink into the wood and dry overnight before it starts to look like a natural dark wood color.
Overall this was a fun and pretty easy DIY project and a very good way to save money on furniture. Up next we will be painting an old cabinet with drawers to hopefully put in our hallway in our new apt.
Hope everyone had a fun weekend!