I spent an entire weekend sanding a desk I purchased off craigs list. I decided to stain it "dark walnut." I must have put too many layers of stain on the top of the desk because it looks black. How do I lightened the stain? Do I have to sand the entire desk again and start over? Since I only purchased the piece for $20.00 should I just forget about staining and paint the desk? Is it even possible to paint the desk white since the stain is so dark?
Stain will soak into the wood and if excess stain was not wiped off it will get to much color to it and sometimes gummy. I have heard of bleaching the wood but I have never tried it so I cant give any suggestions as to that process. You would need to sand the piece down TOTALLY, get back to bare wood if you want a lighter stain. I would think that this might be more work than you are wanting to put into a Craig's list find. To cover the stain with paint you will need to prime it first with an oil based primer. It would not hurt to give it a quick light sand and clean the dust prior to the primer. Once that is dry you can paint most any product as your final finish (I would do two coats of the final finish). For added protection you could put a clear coat on that if you choose to.
I am so sorry for you, I know the amount of work that goes into sanding down a piece of furniture. Maybe it was telling you I rather be a painted desk to begin with, lol.
Fantasy Walls and Windows