Category Archives: Bedroom

Wood Finishing Tips for DIYers from Christina’s Adventures

By: Minwax

Guest Blogger Christina from Christina’s Adventures attended our Habitat for Humanity ReStore event and is here to pass along a few tips and tricks she picked up from the workshop. Follow along as this avid DIYer imparts some helpful guidance to get you started on your next wood finishing project.

This post is sponsored by Minwax®. As always, opinions are always 100% my own. 

I went to an event hosted by Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore and Minwax® a few weeks ago, and it was so much fun!  I met some friends, played around with some products, and truly learned just how little I know about staining & finishing wood.

I mean, I’ve been DIYing for years now – I wasn’t sure how much I would learn at this wood finishing workshop.  I was so wrong!

The workshop was taught by Bruce Johnson, who is a wealth of knowledge for all of the things that go into woodworking projects.

Thanks to his wisdom, I can give you a guide so you can feel confident to tackle your next DIY – whether you’re a beginner or have been doing this for years (like me!)

HOW TO STAIN WOOD:

PREPARING THE WOOD

  • Sand the wood – always “with the grain”
    • If you go against the gran of the wood, you’ll end up with scratch marks once you apply the stain.
    • You can sand with 120 grit sandpaper for a smooth finish
  • Use a wood conditioner like Minwax® Pre-Stain Conditioner
    • This one was new to me – and now I won’t do another project without it!
    • If you don’t condition the wood first, your stain will go on blotchy.

You can see the difference in how the wood looks once it’s conditioned (this photo has not been edited in any way):

APPLYING THE STAIN

  • Using the right tools is really important for the next two steps.
  • Oil based vs. water based
    • I personally like using an oil based stain, like Minwax® Wood Finish™, but there’s a variety of choices of colors between water based or oil based stains.
    • Oil based products give you a longer working time, while water based products dry quicker.
  • If you use a water based stain, like Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain, make sure you are using brushes with synthetic fibers.  Otherwise, the bristles will soak up the water and the brush will expand and lose it’s shape.
  • If you use oil based products, you can use a brush with natural fibers or a foam brush.
  • Never shake the stain!  It will get bubbles in it and can give you an uneven finish.
  • When applying the stain, make sure you go with the grain.  You can wipe off the excess stain after you put the first coat on (the longer you wait to wipe it, the more concentrated the stain color will be).

FINISHING OFF THE WOOD

  • Again, you can choose to use oil based products or water based products.  I personally love water based products for this part. Minwax® makes a number of great options in both varieties, such as Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane, which is oil based and Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish, which is water based.
  • It’s important to apply a finish coat – this will protect your wood from wear & tear, and it will also help lock the stain in and make it even more vibrant.
    • If you’re not a fan of the shiny finishes, you can get them in satin or matte!  Don’t let the high gloss finish scare you away if that’s not your style.
  • Polyurethane (which is oil based) will amber, or yellow, over time.  Polycrylic (which is water based) will always be clear and will not yellow.
    • Just remember – you’ll have a longer working time with Polyurethane than Polycrylic. If you’re confident in your ability to work quickly, then go with Polycrylic!
  • Let your stain dry overnight before applying your top coat.
  • When you’re applying your finish, you need the correct brush.  Again – synthetic brushes = water based products and natural brushes = oil based products.  Use a high quality brush for this portion of the project so you can get the smoothest finish possible
  • Do one thin coat, wait overnight, sand *lightly* with a fine sandpaper, and reapply the finish.  Repeat this process at least one more time before you can officially be finished.

CLEANING UP

  • I’m guilty of throwing my brushes in the refrigerator with a baggie over them at night…but I am sad to report that I was told that wasn’t a good idea.  Boooo!
  • Take the extra 5 minutes and thoroughly wash your brush out after every use.  If you’re using an oil based product, clean with mineral spirits.  If you’re using water based, you can clean with water.
  • Make sure to hold your brush down while cleaning – otherwise product will build up near the base of the brush and ruin the shape of your bristles.
  • You can use the little hole at the end of your handle as a hanger, so you can hang it to dry to keep the shape of the brush.
  • Did you know you could keep that little cover it comes in to protect your brush after use?  I always just threw it away – not anymore!

OK – phew.  I know that’s a lot of information!  It’s important to be informed, but it’s also OK to experiment and find your own special technique and style!

It’s easy for me to talk about Minwax® products, because they’re basically all I use!  Come take a peek at some of our past projects we’ve used Minwax® products for:

OUR BATHROOM COUNTER TOPS:

I used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Early American” with the “Satin” finish Minwax® Polycrylic™ on top of our butcher block counter tops in our bathroom (they’re cherry butcher block slabs):

WOOD WINDOW VALANCE:

I used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Early American” to stain these pine boards to make our *easy* window valances.  Now that I look back at these pictures…they look blotchy!  I totally should have used Minwax® Pre-Stain Conditioner first to give it a smoother stain application:

OPEN SHELVING PANTRY:

We used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Weathered Oak” on these shelves (pine boards from the hardware store) in our last house:

DIY WOOD FRAMED MIRROR:

One of my favorite easy DIY projects – again, we used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Early American” on these (look at the difference in tones between that pine wood and the butcher block – we used the same stain!) I love how they look, but remember: separate pieces of wood may take the stain differently, so it’s important to test a section first before you commit to a stain for your wood.

Make sure you head over to Minwax®’s Facebook page to “like” them and see lots of other tips & tricks that can help with all of your DIY projects!  You can also find a LOT more specific product information on Minwax.com – they’re a great resource!

This post and the event I attended where I learned all about how to stain wood are all part of Minwax®’s “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

They’re working with some amazing friends of mine – see any familiar faces in this group?Blogger Christina of Christina’s Adventures passion is to inspire your own adventure! Whether it’s painting a piece of furniture for the first time, getting the courage to tackle your first DIY house project, or even working on remodeling your own home. You can see more of her gorgeous DIY projects on her blog as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Pink Under-the-Bed Divided Toy Storage

By: Minwax

Guest Blogger Charlotte from At Charlotte’s House joined us for our Habitat for Humanity ReStore Workshop in Philadelphia. Follow along as she shares some helpful tips she learned at the event and watch as she puts them to practice building and staining this beautiful under-the-bed toy storage box in her daughter’s favorite color, PINK!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Minwax®, but all opinions and pink reveal are my own.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a fun event at the Philadelphia Restore hosted by Minwax®! Truthfully, I wasn’t sure of the specifics, but when I walked into the room and saw tables with wood and samples and brushes, I KNEW it was going to be a great afternoon! The experts at Minwax® gave us a crash course in all things wood staining, wood preserving, and furniture finishing. Guess what. This 5 year DIYer was doing all SORTS of things wrong when it came to my staining.

1. I wasn’t pretreating my wood. Which makes for a blotchy stain. No bueno. Use a wood conditioner, Minwax® Pre-Stain Conditioner.

2. I was cleaning my brushes wrong. Alll wrong. When you turn them upside down in the faucet? All that paint just gets shoved down into the nape of the bristles. Also no bueno. Just hold the bristles pointed down, and rinse/ flick until no more paint.

3. No idea about water based and oil based nuances. Oil based stains, like Minwax® Wood Finish™,have a much longer working time, but can smell a lot. Like a lot a lot! Water based stains, like Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain, will dry much faster which can be tricky, but they also come in amazing colors like, ahem… my pink toy tray!

4. Shaking my cans. Don’t do it, folks. Bubbles are bad. Always stir your stain.

5. Brush type. I typically grab the cheapest brush unless it’s one of my favorite angle brushes. Synthetic bristles should be used with water based paints and natural bristles should be reserved for oil based products… the water can cause natural bristles to swell and change their shape.

I could go on, but five major staining mistakes seems like enough.

One of the products I fell head over heels in love with was the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain in “Perfectly Pink.” PINK! As you know, Eleanor’s room is a plethora of fuchsia and we had a bit of a toy situation going on. I decided to build her a simple storage bin for all her toys and stain it… yep… pink!

The tray itself is very simple. I used a 3/4″ 2×4 piece of sanded plywood and framed it out with some mitered 1x3s.

I mitered the corners of the 1x3s and lined them up to the edge of the plywood with wood glue and a brad nailer.

To split the tray into two halves, I glued/ nailed a 1×2 down the middle to act as a partition to help her divide her creations from all the different toy pieces.

I sanded and pretreated the wood to start. The pre stain wood conditioner helps prep the wood so that any stain applied will be a smooth even finish. Since the pink stain is a water based stain, I used Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

The wood frame of the tray is stained with the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain in “Perfectly Pink.” I brushed on the stain with a synthetic brush, and then wiped off any excess with a cotton rag. To finish, I went over the stain a day later with a flat finish Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish to help preserve the stain.

For the inside, I used some leftover white paint to keep the storage area crisp and clean. Casters and 2 lucite handles later… I’m in love.

Eleanor is actually VERY organized so I figured I’d give her a head start, and bought her some small plastic containers in which she can sort the various toy pieces. One corner at a time, folks… keeping this house quasi-organized!

One side of the tray is for the things that she builds and the other is for her spare pieces. I’m not sure whether it will be easier for her with or without the lids, but I love how pretty all the containers look with their rainbow toy pieces!

I was able to use three 1x3s at $3 each. The plywood is about $10. A pack of four casters was maybe $3 and each handle was about $4. I could have used simple grocery store containers, but instead I got these ones that were all about $3 a piece. Doing the math… that brings the whole project to about $50. I know that’s not super cheap, but… the alternative is a dresser or a file cabinet and this is just too perfect not to love!

You can see more great DIY projects from Charlotte on her blog: At Charlotte’s House. Her design style is fun, frugal, repurposed eclectic and she like colors and whimsy and brass and rattan. You can also follow her onFacebookInstagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

A Quick Fix For a Worn Floor

Daisy

I can’t blame Daisy alone for our worn bedroom floor. As you can see, we get a lot of sunlight and even some moisture around our exterior bedroom door. The door (not Daisy!) is on our list to be replaced, so I did not want to do a complete floor refinishing now. The wood did however, need something to make it look better — and to provide it with some real protection.

Cleaner

Instead of stripping, sanding, and refinishing the oak boards, I opted for an easier and faster route. First, I swept up the dirt (along with a few dog hairs), then cleaned the floor with Minwax® Hardwood Floor Cleaner.

Reviver

Within minutes, the floor was dry, so I then squirted on the water-based clear finish called Minwax® Hardwood Floor Reviver. Unlike polishes that quickly evaporate, Hardwood Floor Reviver is an actual floor finish that dries, hardens and provides a thin layer of protection.

Mop

My mop quickly spread an even coat of Reviver across the floor. As you can see, the difference is amazing.

Hero

Since Minwax® Hardwood Floor Reviver is water-based, I did not have to worry about any fumes. And it dried so fast that Daisy never even realized what I had done before coming back to take her afternoon nap.

From now through September 30th, take advantage of the Minwax® Fall Home Celebration rebate and save up to $15 on select Minwax® products that make and keep your floors beautiful! These specially formulated products enhance the natural beauty of your floors and can help protect them so they look great for years to come.

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

 

Herringbone Wood Headboard with Jenni from I SPY DIY

Minwax® has partnered with Jenni Radosevich of I SPY DIY. Her mantra is “spot style you love, and do-it-yourself.” See how she created this incredible herringbone headboard in no time at all.

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The concept of the herringbone pattern is pretty simple, but I thought there might be some challenges turning it into a headboard. I was beyond happy when this project ended up being easier and way less time consuming than I thought; and turned out even better then I hoped! The guys at the hardware store were skeptical when I showed them the inspiration pic and told them I planned on finishing it in a day. But all the cutting/staining/gluing only took about three hours. Then, I let the glue set over night and spent around two hours the next day adding the frame and poly coats. I made the accent color using Minwax® Water-Based Wood Stain in ‘Pearl Gray”, but you can switch it up to match the decor in your bedroom. All the supplies cost $150 dollars, which is pretty darn good for a custom headboard!

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What you’ll need: 
Plywood 4 x 8ft. 1/3 in. thick – for a queen bed cut to 70 in. x 48 in.
7/8in X 3in – 8FT Cedar Boards (18 boards)
7/8in X 2in -8FT Cedar Board (4 boards)
1 Quart Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain – Pearl Gray
1 Quart Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain – White Wash Pickling 
Minwax® Polycrylic™ Protective Finish 
Wood Glue (3 bottles)
2 inch wood screws
Paint brush
Clamps
Drill
Miter saw
Circular saw

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I did a bit of guesstimating at the hardware store and bought 18 – 8 ft. pieces of 3 in. cedar. After factoring in a few bad cuts, I had the perfect amount of wood. If you did some more math, you could probably save some money with 12 ft. pieces, but math hurts my brain…
Now time to blast your music and start cutting! Using your miter saw, cut the cedar to 18 in. pieces. After cutting each board down, I laid the pieces on the plywood backing. Place the pieces to create 90 degree angles (butt joints), that repeat to create a vertical herringbone pattern. Once I got to the ends, I cut smaller pieces making sure that all of the plywood backing was covered.

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Once all of the pieces were in place, I picked out every third one, brushed it lightly with the Pearl Gray, then set it back into place. Then, I picked out some random ones to stain white. I also flipped some of the raw cedar to show the rough side, and others to show the smooth side, to get a lot of different colors and texture. Doing it this way went a lot faster then I thought, and lets you really make sure you’re getting that unplanned, yet perfect, look!

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I experimented with ‘Slate’ and ‘Pearl Gray’ stain. I planned to use both, but ended up just using the ‘Pearl Gray’ and ‘White Wash Pickling’ because I did not want the headboard to look too busy. The ‘Slate’ is gorgeous though, and I can’t wait to use it on another project!

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On some of the white washed pieces, I used a super thin layer on the rough side of the cedar, and I LOVE how the wood peeked through. On other pieces, I added a second coat so they would be whiter.

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Once your stain is dry to the touch, you can start gluing down the pieces. My brother-in-law came up with the brilliant idea of using his nail gun to secure a zig-zag down the middle as a guideline. Then I worked my way out on both sides, making sure the pattern stayed straight and covered the plywood.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a pic of the next step because I was holding down the wood while my Bro-in-law used a circular saw to cut off all the wood that hung over the plywood; but clamped down a piece of wood along the edge and then ran the circular saw along it to make a straight cut. Next, I created the frame by measuring each side and making 45 degree miter cuts. I did this by making a 45 degree cut on one side, then lined the short end up to one corner, marked the other corner, then cut. I clamped the frame pieces to the headboard and drilled in 2 in. wood screws around the perimeter to secure the frame.

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The final step was adding a Polycrylic™ Protective Finish, which was a game changer. It brought out all the beautiful colors of the cedar! Make sure to brush it on, in the direction of grain, then let dry completely.

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Securing the newly completed headboard to the wall was a two woman job. We propped it on top of the bed frame to get the right height; then using a stud finder, we then drilled eight screws through the headboard and into the studs to make sure it would stay put on the wall, and voila!

Can’t wait to see your version!

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For more of Jenni’s DIY projects. Check out her blog I SPY DIY and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.