I'm such a fan of stripes. Have you seen my house? Both my guest room and my daughter's nursery are striped. Sometimes I go a little too crazy, but not when it comes to staining stripes on wood- you really can't go wrong. It's such an awesome look, and somehow it's both subtle and dramatic. Go figure.
So here's how to do it. First, take a sanding block to your surface and sand. My table was already fairly bare of previous stain so it didn't take long to get to the point of being ready to stain. Next step, wipe off all the dust. I used a damp paper towel in this case. Sometimes I use tac cloth when it's a really dusty job.
Once I got all the sanding dust off, I started taping off my stripes. I got lucky with this table, and didn't have to do any measuring. I just laid the first piece of tape down length-wise following the edge of the table as a guide. Then I placed a few pieces of tape down next to it to give me the perfect width to space my next stripe. No measuring. Simple.
Next, place your second stripe down making sure you're exactly on the edge of the template tape. Make sure you press down the edge of the tape really well to prevent the stain from leaking under. Remove the little guideline tape and your ready to stain.
I used an old rag, dipped it in ever-so-slightly, and rubbed with the grain. You don't want too much stain too fast or else it might seep under the tape lines. Go light, and then layer. Afterwards you can buff off excess with a clean side of the rag. I only work in small sections so I can pull up the tape and fix the lines with my finger if some stain happens to run under the tape. If you catch it quick enough before it dries, it's a much easier problem to fix.
Repeat till you're finish and voila, stained stripes. You can oil the whole thing with some furniture oil, and that'll make the natural stripes that you didn't stain really pop! Next, step back and enjoy your beautiful stained/striped table, or dresser, or floor...the possibilities are endless!