How do I get the gel stain to be a light wood? Also, I used it over white paint on a banister and it looks horrible. Do I prime it with an oil based paint?
1- Strip the wood to remove whatever is on it and stain with a light colored stain.
2- Use an oil-base satin paint with a light tan color. Now apply some stain and use wood graining tools and techniques to produce the desired wood grain. After the stain has completely dried apply a clear coat for protection.
When ever a stain is put over paint you have to produce the wood grain by hand. It also helps to use a neutral tan for the background color. Applying a gel stain over white paint never works.