Category Archives: Gel Stain

Make Your Own Magnetic Knife Rack

I love browsing through my local craft supply stores, where I picked up this unfinished pine plaque, along with some small magnets, for an idea a friend had eliven to me.

I measured out some equally spaced holes, then drilled down to the depth of the magnets, using a drill bit the same diameter as the magnets. (Tip:  if you want to avoid drilling, you can attach the magnets with glue.)

Since the pine lacked color, I decided to stain it using a new Minwax® Gel Stain color – “Coffee”, as it would help disguise the dark magnets while still allowing the grain to show. You can stain the wood either before or after drilling the holes.

After a coat of aerosol Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane had completely dried and cured, my magnetic knife rack was ready to mount on the wall in our kitchen. As you can see, the larger knives cover the magnets completely.

As another option, I took this old, worn cutting board, no longer suitable for kitchen use, and did the same thing to it, drilling the holes and inserting the magnets, making a unique knife rack for you or someone you need a special gift for.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


An Arts & Crafts Magazine Stand

It’s no secret in my family that my favorite style is Arts and Crafts, so when I saw a need for a stand to store our magazines and catalogs, I decided to make one in the Arts and Crafts/Mission Oak style from, what else? — oak, of course!

I started as I do every project: with a light sanding using #180-grit sandpaper. This not only removes minor nicks and scratches, but the sandpaper also opens up the pores of the wood so that they will accept our stain and finish.

While you can select any color of stain you like, I opted for Coffee in the  Minwax® Gel Stain line because it brought out the grain of the oak and matched the color we so often find on antique Arts and Crafts furniture. You simply rub on the Gel Stain, let it absorb into the pores for a few minutes, then wipe off any extra stain.

Whenever possible, I stain my boards before assembly, using protective rubber pads on my clamps to prevent them from leaving any dents in the wood.

After the glue had dried, I sealed the stain and protected the wood with two coats of clear  Polycrylic® Protective Finish in the semi-gloss sheen. I also could have opted for clear  Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane, but since it was too cold to open the garage doors while I was applying my finish, I elected to use the water-based Polycrylic, which has no fumes needing to be vented.

And here’s a quick finishing tip:  to duplicate an authentic vintage Arts and Crafts finish, gently rub out your final coat of dried finish with a fine synthetic pad dipped in  Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax in Special Dark. As soon as the wax begins to harden, buff it out with a clean, soft cloth for a finish so smooth your friends will assume it was done professionally.

Here is my completed magazine stand next to a vintage Arts and Crafts library table in my office. The combination of the Minwax® Gel Stain, Polycrylic® Protective Finish, and the Paste Finishing Wax really came together to give the new oak boards an authentic Arts and Crafts look.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Repurpose Wooden Crates with This Project

Wooden crates are very popular right now, both unfinished and vintage, for in addition to being inexpensive and sturdy, they are also versatile.

My latest project involved two unfinished crates, which I stained using Minwax® Gel Stain in the “Coffee” color. I selected gel stain because its thicker consistency helped me control the stain in and around the many slats in each crate.

I then picked up one of my latest favorite components:  a pre-glued, non-plywood, wide panel of pine boards. They save time and they save you from making a mess when gluing narrow boards together. They also stain much better than plywood.

I could have left it natural for a contrast to the crates, or stained it a different color, but this time I opted for a more traditional look. Once again, I reached for Minwax® Gel Stain in “Coffee” and finished the crates with two coats of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane for the protection.

By standing the two crates on end, I created a table tall enough to go against the back of a sofa or the end of a bed, and the crates provide great storage for magazines and books. But you could also do something a little different ….

Simply by turning the crates on their sides, I could create a lower coffee table to sit in front of a couch – and I still have the storage space inside each of the crates.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Add Color to Any Room with These Hanging Vases

Flowers are a great way to add color and brighten any room. There are many ways to display these beautiful petals. Here are two ways you can make creative hanging vases using scrap pieces of wood and other things you may have around in your workshop.

I never want to waste wood, including these pieces I salvaged from a couple of old pallets a friend gave me. But when my pile of wood began getting in the way, I knew I needed to come up with some projects to utilize them.

For one project, I cut two boards each about fifteen inches long, then attached an inexpensive radiator hose clamp to each one with a small screw.

Old, dry pallet wood always looks better under a clear finish, so after a light sanding to round the edges and remove any roughness, I brushed on a coat of water-based Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish. It dried in just minutes and brought out the beauty of the grain. (Tip:  the hose clamp gave me a way to hold the board without touching the wet finish.)

I then slipped a reproduction milk bottle into the clamp and tightened it with a small wrench. This same technique could work for antique medicine or soda bottles, small jars, wine or olive oil bottles, or whatever else you find.

Complete with a small picture frame hook on the back and some flowers — either real or artificial — my two pallet boards have quickly been transformed into wall art. I especially like the planned contrast between the shiny, industrial hose brackets and the vintage patina the clear Polycrylic finish brings out of the old pallet wood.

Another way I made a hanging vase is with a piece of oak I had on hand.  Since I wanted this project to be a specific color — “Coffee” in the Minwax® Gel Stain line — I selected this six-inch wide piece of oak, knowing it would absorb my stain more evenly than rough pallet wood. Any idea why I drilled two shallow holes for the 3/8-inch diameter dowels on the right?

I rubbed the Gel Stain into the pores of my oak board, then wiped off the excess stain going in the direction of the grain of the wood. Notice how the stain highlights the contrasting grain lines in the wood? After it dried, I protected the stain and the wood with two coats of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane.

As for my two holes and the dowels, they were precisely placed to allow me to slip the neck of this tall glass vase between them. The flared top rests securely atop the dowels, enabling me to lift it off to replace the flowers or add water without taking the board off the wall. As you can see, flowers and flower vases don’t always have to sit on tables — giving you a creative solution to those nasty water marks and white rings!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!