Category Archives: Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

Take Gardening Indoors and Create a Wall Garden with MyFixItUpLife

By: Guest Blogger

April is Minwax National Woodworking Month®! Download the Minwax National Woodworking Month® mail-in rebate form and you could save up to $17 on select Minwax® products. 

Guest Blogger Theresa of MyFixItUpLife is back with a great project allowing you to show off your green thumb inside your home. Follow her step-by-step instructions to learn how to create this gorgeous indoor wall garden to put your succulents on display.

Enjoying pretty little plants can be a year-round pleasure with a custom-stained pallet indoor wall garden.

1-measure-succulents-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtThe size of the succulents dictated the size of this indoor wall garden.

I’ve been a little obsessed with making projects from pallets and finding new ways to display succulents around my home. Those little bulbous plants are so perfect for a busy family lifestyle, as they don’t require much maintenance beyond watering. And they only like to be re-watered when their soil is dry.

As I was thinking about new excuses to incorporate succulents into my formal-farmhouse home decor, I landed on the idea of creating living wall art as an indoor wall garden. Vertical gardens can be any size and shape, which makes creating them so much fun. And a wall garden can be customized to the style of your home, just by changing the material, shape, and the stain color.

For this project, I immediately envisioned using a charming color that I’ve chosen before for our dining table makeover. I smile about the Antique Jade from the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain collection every time I sit down to eat. After months of use, the joy still hasn’t faded into the background, and I suspect it never will.

Supplies for the indoor wall garden.

Succulents. Before I started on this DIY project, I ordered a collection of succulents from Amazon in 2-inch pots. The two inches became the measurement that dictated the rest of the project.

Pallet wood. We have been building a variety of projects with pallets over the past few months, so I was lucky to have a collection of cut-offs in our wood pile. Finding a pallet can be easy or tough, depending on where you live. Typically your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore has pallets.

Stain. I chose Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain in Antique Jade, and used a synthetic brush to apply the stain.

Tools. For this project I used a cordless miter saw (an oscillating tool with clamps also would work), tape measure, impact driver, pencil, square, oscillating tool for sanding (sandpaper works fine, too), and all-purpose glue.

How-to for the indoor wall garden.

2-measure-pallet-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtThe first step to this project is measuring the pieces.

2d-measure-pallet-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtAfter marking each triangle, I checked the hypotenuse of the triangle.

3c-cut-pallet-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtCutting each triangle is fairly easy on a miter saw, but it isn’t the only saw that can cut the pieces.

5-layout-the-pieces-for-the-planter-boxes-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtAfter cutting each piece, I lined them up to check that I cut everything I needed.

6-create-the-backer-for-the-planter-from-pallet-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtThe next part is creating the backer for the wall garden. We have a collection of small pieces of pallet wood, so it was a patchwork project fitting them all together.It would be much easier with long boards.

7-sand-the-backer-and-pieces-of-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art

8-wipe-clean-pallet-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art

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12c-ready-for-stain-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art

IMG_2830The first step in staining involves some Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, which helps promote a uniform acceptance of stain. When working with pallet wood, I definitely recommend using a pre-stain. After the pre-stain is dry, which is about 15 minutes, lightly sand the finish before applying the stain.

13-first-dip-into-stain-antique-jade-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtThere’s something magical about opening a can of color. I chose Minwax® Based Wood Stain in Antique Jade. I always make sure to carefully dip the brush so not to get too much on the brush for the first few passes.

Screenshot-2017-02-22-11.36.50The Cottage collection from Minwax® has a really sweet color palette of charming colors, perfect for a farmhouse style home.

14b-brushing-on-stain-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtWhen staining wood, I like to go slow. Rushing a stain project can compromise a really good finish, and this stain will make the project last a very long time.

15-lining-inside-bottom-of-the-planter-boxes-for-water-sealing-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art-gorilla-glueI lined the bottom of each planter box with clear tape, so to add a bit of extra protection against water in the planter boxes.

IMG_2832-2The next step is sealing the stain with a protective finish. I recommend using Minwax® Polycrylic™ Protective Finish. It is ideal for sealing light-colored stains.

IMG_2271My little wall garden makes me very happy. The stain elevates the look from feeling like a rustic pallet into a sweet little wall art that warms up the room.

16f-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art-e1487787068146Filled with little succulents, the wall art is a little pop of bliss in my home. Enjoying succulents in a new way, I’m happy to have spent the afternoon creating this project for my family to enjoy year-round.

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MyFixitUpLife shares design inspiration, DIY tips, and behind-the-scenes interviews MyFixitUpLife’s husband-and-wife duo, Mark & Theresa, design, renovate, and share how-to tips to make your projects easier and more fun.

Create a Beautiful & Simple Magazine Rack with Just Two Board Pieces

We tend to keep our favorite magazines around for a while before recycling them. So when I saw a simple plan for a two-board magazine stand, I knew it was for us. I started by cutting a notch in the center that was equal to half the width of each 30” board. I then sanded each side smooth.

Since I was using pine, a wood that turns blotchy when stained, I gave it a liberal coat of Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, then waited fifteen minutes before staining.

I wanted a grayish color to blend with the couch in our family room, so selected Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Classic Gray,  and applied it with a foam brush, then wiped off all the excess stain before letting it dry.

For my clear finish, I selected the spray version of Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer, which dries in just a matter of minutes. After it did, I assembled my two-board magazine stand simply by slipping the two notches together. No nails, no screws, and no glue required!

The finished product compliments our couch perfectly, and gives me a handy way to display my magazines close by.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

How to Make a Giant DIY Chalkboard with Thrifty Décor Chick

By: Guest Blogger

Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick is back with another amazing DIY project. See how she created a giant chalkboard to create a school house look for the perfect space. 

Hey there! I’m still in beast mode as I work on finishing up the loft/craft room/office makeover. I’m determined to get it done by the end of the month and I think I’ll make it!

I got a TON done in the past few days. I’m excited to share the little DIY project I added above the cabinets.

Craft room before the chalkboard

I’ve always known what I wanted to put up there. A massive chalkboard. I knew it would be a fun place for organization but also would look great against the white background.

This was a fairly inexpensive project for the size and I’m loving how it turned out. I joined up with Minwax® as I do occasionally to share how I use their stains, which I used on this project as well.

The first thing you’ll need to do is get a SMOOTH board. This is important, obviously, as you’ll be writing on it. :) You can spend $50 on some nice smooth stuff but I didn’t want to spend that much, so I kept looking. You know I love the luan for the DIY shiplap look I’ve added in here, but it’s not smooth enough.

I ended up finding a higher grade luan/plywood that was $19 for the sheet. I had it cut down to the size I needed — this is how the smooth side looks.

Plywood used for the chalkboard

We held it up, made sure it was leveled and then nailed it in.

Close up of plywood being nailed in

You can paint before hanging or after, I prefer standing up to do it. I taped off the edges (although I was adding trim so it wasn’t really necessary) and did two coats of a dark paint as a primer (I don’t have any tinted primer right now) and then two coats of the chalkboard paint.

Finished painted chalkboard

I loved it right away! It was the perfect contrast against the planked walls and I love it with the sconces!

Here’s a tip that some don’t realize — you really need to “season” a chalkboard before using it. This will make it easier to erase the chalk down the road. I haven’t always done this and the chalk still wipes away with a wet rag, but if you are using a real eraser especially, I always suggest doing this.

You just take some chalk on it’s side and rub it over the whole board until it’s covered.

seasoning the chalkboard

Then wipe it away — if you want a real cloudy board you can use an eraser or dry rag. I use a wet one because I like how it looks after the fact. :)

Then it was time to stain my trim. I found a pretty chair rail to use — before I started staining I made sure to pre-stain with Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

pre-staining the chalkboard trim

I can’t express how much better your staining projects will turn out if you take the extra few minutes to use this. I used to be too impatient every time and some wood would turn out crazy blotchy. You just wipe it on with a foam brush and then let it dry. You can stain almost immediately.

I went with my favorite Minwax® Wood Finish™–dark walnut. It’s a classic, darker stain that is really brown — no red tones to it at all. I use these foam brushes (at a great price!) to apply all my stains.

Staining chalkboard trim

Be sure when staining to not let any part of it dry — so don’t stop one part and then start up again later. You need to keep what is called a “wet edge” while staining. With smaller projects like this it’s not hard to finish up, but if you are tackling something large, be sure you have time to focus on it.

Don’t worry if the piece looks a little iffy while you stain. See how uneven it looked while I was staining? Let it sit for a bit (I usually only let it sit for a minute or two, but the longer you wait the deeper the stain) and then wipe with a clean towel.

Wiping off stain

The more you wipe the more it will even out. If it’s still not right you can add more stain and do it all again.

I absolutely LOVE how it turned out. You know how much I love contrast (if you don’t know, I DO) and it looks lovely. The stained trim just makes the whole thing.

Chalkboard with trim

I was on a roll and got the cabinets painted too. They turned out great, I just have to do a few touch ups.

painted cabinets

I love love love the sconces with the chalkboard.

Chalkboard with sconces

I have a few ideas in mind for this — one is a permanent calendar I can write on each month. I also plan to dress it up with photos and other fun stuff to bring in more color.

Finished chalkboard with banner hanging

The whole space is very white right now (which I’m actually quite liking) BUT there will be plenty of color coming in with art, pillows and accessories. I picked up some bright knobs for the cabinets last night but I have to see them on before I decide on those.

These were two of the last big projects, whoot!! Some minor stuff is left to do and the desk and countertops, which a big element in here and also the most expensive. I’m just so happy that this room is so close to done and that I love it as much as I hoped I would.

Finished product

I’m loving the nod to a school house look the chalkboard creates — this room will be used for homework and projects, so it is fitting. :)

Just for kicks let’s look at how far this room has come. I’m dying to decorate this space but will hold off till the counters and desk are in. It’s so close!! This is going to be such a fun room. :)

Unfinished craft room

Sarah’s blog, Thrifty Decor Chick, features more great DIY projects that will help you have a lovely home without spending a ton of money. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more. 

Staining a New Bench with Zevy Joy

By: Guest Blogger

Annie of Zevy Joy shows us how she stained a beautiful Shaker style bench using Minwax® products.  

Finished bench with flower bag

So you may remember last month when I shared about my visit to the Seattle Renegade Craft Fair and my time with Minwax® there. Inspired by the campaign for this project, I’ve partnered with Minwax® again for this post. I’m sharing how I used their stain to finish a beautiful Shaker style bench.

I had a great time trying their products out and really am so pleased with the final product. It was so much easier than I had ever thought staining would be and the color stain is right up my “decor” alley.

Here is what I used and the steps I followed to get this white stained bench…

Tools and Minwax products used for the project

Here is how I completed these simple steps, including the pre-staining process all the way to the final polycrylic finish.

Sanding wood

I made sure the wood was free of dirt, paint or stain. Once it was ready to start, I gave the unfinished piece a light sanding with my 220 grit sandpaper.

Wiping off sawdust from the wood

Next, I wiped the sawdust away with a clean lint-free cloth.

Conditioning the wood with Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

I then took the Minwax® Water-Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (after stirring) and used my synthetic brush to apply it in the direction of the grain. I let it sit for no more than 5 minutes and then I rubbed any extra off (making sure not to let any excess unsaturated conditioner sit and dry). Once the piece was coated, I let it dry for 15 -30 minutes.

I came back after the wait time and lightly re-sanded in the direction of the grain to smooth out any raised grain (from the conditioner). As before, I wiped away the dust with a lint-free cloth.

Staining the wood

Now came the fun! I carefully applied the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain in Pure White (making sure to carefully stir it before use). I used my synthetic brush to paint it on (always going in the direction of the grain) and then followed up with a lint-free cloth to smooth it out. I let it dry for 3 hours and then repeated the staining step once more with a second light coat and let it dry for another 3 hours. When I was done staining, I gave the stain a full 24 hours to set and dry. Then it was ready for the Polycrylic top coat.

Applying Polycrylic finish

I used my clean synthetic brush to apply the Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish (always stirring before use). This protective finish needed 2 hours to dry in between coats.

Sanding after the stain is applied

Once dry, I gently sanded with my 220 grit sandpaper (this ensures an even second/third coat) and repeated the steps. I applied a total of 3 coats with a 2 hour wait time and sanding in between. The final 3rd coat remained unsanded as it is the final finish.

And that is it! I let it dry for a full 24 hours before we put it in its’ new home.

A couple things I learned along the way…

  • To practice beforehand. I tried out the process on some small unfinished pieces so that I could play around with colors and dry times etc… I thought that this step was valuable as when I went to work on the bench, I felt confident with the products and how they were applied.
  • Move fluidly with the stain, to always follow the grain and swiftly. I would be aware of drips or unevenness before dry times so that they were easy to adjust.
  • If needed, I could re-stain spots that were lighter than others to make the stain consistent. I didn’t need to do this in very many places but it did work
  • Just to go for it ;)… I didn’t worry too much and I enjoyed it. That is an important part!

Close up of stains bench legs

Here is the final product and I couldn’t be happier. The protective finish gives it a smooth coat on top that just enhances the shine. And my favorite part about this stain is how it really lets the wood grain steal the show.

Close up of bench side view

Finished Bench

Even though I love painting, chalk paint and more; stain is a wonderful way to achieve color while allowing the wood to show through and give detail to the piece. Or more so, it allows the wood grain to shine.

Wood grain showing

As you can see above, this bench is white, but the pattern of the grain goes unhidden.

It has become such a lovely addition to our dining set and it will continue to grow with our family over the years

Close up of bench side view with bag

Getting to try this out really set the record straight, that stain truly is user friendly and colors available today are versatile. They range from traditional wood tones to coastal colors. More than anything, staining allowed me to make this piece special for our family and give it my own style.

As I was working on this piece of furniture it was during the thick of warm summer days, I had my music going and the smell of sanding wood instantly brought me back to childhood memories.

My dad was a carpenter and as a little girl, he would work many days/nights out in our backyard (in his workshop) with music on, sawdust everywhere… I was always so proud of how he worked so hard and used his hands to make beautiful things…

with-chandelier

White table and finished bench

This project really was nostalgic for me. It was a delight to finish something like this myself, be reminded of those childhood memories and of my daddy making things too. I saw my kiddos watch from afar and through the windows as I fondly worked on this bench. It now has a dear place in my heart and I am anxious for the memories we will make sitting on this bench together here at this table. A little stain, a lot of heart and more memories to come; this time around with this sweet family of my own.

You can also head over to LIKE Minwax® on Facebook for more woodworking/wood staining inspiration! You can also watch this inspiring video that shares the heart behind the whole idea of, “Made With Love. Finished with Minwax®.”

I hope this post shows you how easy it can be to stain and how user friendly these Minwax products are. All opinions are 100% my own and I was flattered at the opportunity to work with Minwax on this project.

In her blog, Zevy Joy, Annie shares her experiences living on a budget, dressing for less, and decorating with what she has. See he story one project, recipe, and room at a time. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest for more inspiration.