Category Archives: Picture Frames

Tips For Cleaning Pictures

When I went to move this framed photograph of my grandfather, Myron Hickok, who taught all of his grandchildren how to ride, I realized how dirty it had become. When I reached for my glass cleaner, I remembered some sage advice: never spray glass cleaner directly onto the glass picture frame. First, the cleaner will seep behind the glass and ruin the picture or artwork. Second, the solvents in the glass cleaner can damage the finish on your frame. Instead, spray the cleaner onto a soft cloth, then rub the glass. And use the much safer Minwax® Wood Cabinet Cleaner to remove the dirt and grime on the wooden frame.

Until next time,

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A Polyshades Picture Frame

Every father loves a phone call from his son, but last week’s call from Eric out in Salt Lake City made me feel especially proud. Seems he is going to a friend’s wedding next month, but rather than pick something from the bridal registry, he bought them an original print — and asked me if I would make them a handcrafted frame. Suddenly nothing else seemed so important. I quickly cut, glued, and sanded the frame, then followed his request for a black stain and finish ….

Within a few minutes my can of Minwax® PolyShades® had given me both the black stain and a durable polyurethane finish, letting just enough of the natural grain of the wood show. The key to PolyShades®: a high quality, natural bristle brush, light strokes, and thin coats.

For more information on PolyShades® and a demonstration, watch the latest ‘Just Ask Bruce‘ video

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Custom Mixing Stains

Not long ago a friend made me some unfinished oak picture frames, which I carefully set aside in my garage work area until I had time to stain and finish them the exact color I wanted. I planned to display three of them over an antique Arts and Crafts china cabinet in my office, so I needed the stain color to be a near-perfect match. That, as it turned out, wasn’t as simple as I had hoped. I solved this by custom mixing my own stain. If you’re interested in learning how I did this, just take a look below.

I first tried a few different Minwax® Wood Finish™ stains straight from the can, but some were too light — and others were too dark. In order to get the color ‘just right,’ as Goldilocks would say, I decided to create my own color of stain.

I had already done some custom mixing, so I knew the first rule is the most important:  Measure, measure, measure! One time, many years ago, I got in a hurry and didn’t bother writing down my formula. So, of course, when I needed more of my “special concoction,” I could never quite duplicate it!

I began by combining six ounces of Minwax® Wood Finish™ “Ebony” with, one tablespoon at a time, Minwax® Wood Finish™ “Sedona Red.” As I progressed, I tested each combination on a piece of oak, and took detailed notes.

After a few tries I was close, but needed a little more “Sedona Red” to balance the dark tints of “Ebony.” I continued to add one tablespoon at a time and kept a record of each attempt until I had achieved the color I wanted.

The final stain color isn’t just determined by the dyes and pigments inside the stain mixture. It’s also affected by how long we allow the stain to soak into the wood before we wipe off all of the excess liquid. I applied my special formula to a long oak board, then every few minutes wiped off a different test area until I found the perfect amount of time (6 minutes) to get the color that matched my china cabinet.

The final step in my testing was to see what the dried stain looked like under a coat of finish. For this I used an aerosol can of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane to apply a quick coat of clear finish. I liked what I saw, and knew I could now use my special formula on the frames my friend had made for me.

As you can see, the finished frames look great over my Arts and Crafts china cabinet. And with the precise formula now written down and filed away for future reference, I’ll be able to duplicate my special custom stain anytime I need it in the future.

And for a full list of Minwax® stain colors check out their Color Guide.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Lights ! Cameras !! Action !!!

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes for one of those popular do-it-yourself segments we all enjoy watching? I recently was asked to appear alongside Diana Pierce, co-anchor of KARE-11 in Minneapolis, where I shared some tips for turning garage sale discards into something unique and useful for your home. If you’d like a glimpse behind the curtain, just take a peek here.

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