I'm starting out small. Whenever I try something new I start with a small project. So let's start out with your every day unfinished wood spoons. I go to the Dollar Store, Family, Dollar, you know what I'm talking about and buy a package maybe 6 at a time for under $3.00.
This is the only stain I use... the key word is GEL!!!! It works so much better than the real liquidy kind. It isn't as messy and a little goes a long way.
Next step is paint. I just pour a little acrylic paint (the kind in the squeeze bottle) on to a paper plate and get busy painting. I use acrylic on small projects, but use regular latex on big projects. If you'll notice I use a really cheap shower curtain under all my painting projects. It's large enough to hold a big project but can be folded for small ones. I only painted it with one coat of paint.
This is the other one. This mustard is sooooo bright. EEEKKKK I bought it awhile back and I figure I better use it up. lol
Wait for your paint to dry completely. Then get fine grit sandpaper and lightly sand the spoon. Lightly because you just want some of the paint to sand off if you stained your piece first. If you didn't stain it first sand it until you can see the natural color of the spoon underneath in different places.
Next step is re-staining. I always use rubber gloves when I stain. Wood stain does not come off of your hands with soap and water. I always save all of my holey socks or lone socks for staining purposes. I don't like using paper towels because they fall apart.
Take a small section of your sock and dip it in the stain. You don't need a lot. Rub the stain all over the spoon. If you think you have too much in one area no problem. Just re-rub over the spot either with the stained section or use a clean section of the sock. This stain will seal in the color. I do not polyurethane my items unless they need to be wiped down occasionally.
The final step is optional. I like to use a a furniture wax as the final coat on my items. It basically just gives them a soft smooth finish. You can find it at most hardware or home improvement stores.
Make sure the stain is completely dry. Then take another sock and rub it in the paste then on your spoon. Let it dry and you are finished. So here they are all finished. :-)