Category Archives: Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

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.

Two Tone Stained Telephone Table Makeover

By: Guest Blogger

Taryn of Design, Dining, and Diapers shares her experience at the Renegade Craft Fair in Seattle with Bruce Johnson. See how she created a beautiful and personalized telephone table with Minwax® Water Based Wood Stains.

If you’ve been following me for while, you know that I love working with wood stain. I’m a stain girl. I typically stain projects versus paint them. Just my preference. I love seeing the natural wood grains shine through and I love the rustic look you can get with stains. Anything from a rich Dark Walnut for a polished look, to a weathered gray for a more farmhouse look. Which is why you can find all shades of Minwax® stacked in my garage at all times.

A few weeks ago the team from Minwax® came to Seattle for the Renegade Craft Fair and I had a chance to hang out with them for a bit and chat with Bruce, the ultimate stain master. I learned so much from him and I can’t wait to try out all the new techniques I heard about. After they event they sent me home with this adorable “Telephone Table” to play around with. It started out as a natural wood and I used the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain to give it a personalized look.

Finished two tone telephone table

Minwax® recently launched their Made With Love campaign that’s all about giving a personalized look and feel to your pieces. Whether it’s refinishing a family heirloom, giving a personalized gift or making something meaningful for your home. I refinished this piece while keeping those things in mind. I wanted something personalized so I used tones that reflect my personal style and then added a personalized graphic to the top (keep scrolling).

Table with vintage bicycle knob

I switched out the basic wood knob and replaced it with a fun vintage bicycle drawer pull for an added touch of detail.

Close of table top

And here is where I personalized my piece. To some they are just number, but I actually used our area code to create a more industrial style for the “telephone table”. :)

Two tone telephone table finished

This piece was fun to create and I loved working with the water based stains. It was my first time using them so I thought I’d give a little tutorial on how I got this look.

Wood conditioner and sanding

 

Since the table was in pieces and hadn’t been put together yet, I laid all the pieces out first and worked on them before assembling the table. This gives everything a really great all-over stain. It started with the Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner and let it dry. After this dries you will want to gently sand the surface down with a higher grit sand paper. 220+ works great.

Wood stain colors

Minwax® has TONS of beautiful water based stains to choose from. They even have lots of vibrant colors. But since you all know me I only work with neutrals and was drawn to their Sea & Sky color palette. For this piece I used a combination of the Pure White and the Slate. Also, the Water Based Stains need to be mixed at the hardware store. So you will pick up the tint base and take it to the paint counter to be mixed.

Staining the telephone table

I love the subtle look of the pure white. It really gives it a nice white washed look. I did 3 coats on my piece. I brushed the stain on and then you can use a paper towel to wipe off any excess stain.

Stencil and Minwax Express Color

For the top of the piece and the drawer, I used the Slate color. I will say, I expected this color to look a lot more gray and it turned out to be a lighter brown in my opinion. Maybe if you used multiple coats it would darken it and pull those gray tones out a little more.

For the personalized touch, I used my Silhouette to create a quick stencil and then used Onyx over it. Here is tip, if you are wanting to put stencils over stain, the water based stains are the way to go. When working with oil based stains the adhesive has a hard time sticking, but with water based it worked perfect.

To finish the piece, give it a coat of Minwax® Wipe-On Poly. It sealed it beautifully.

Everyone seems to know Bruce from Minwax®, he is so incredibly knowledgeable and talented and it’s always great to chat with him. I heard him speak at a conference a few years ago and it was great to get some 1:1 time together to talk stain.

Bruce Johnson at the Renegade Fair

Bruce let me in on a big secret (ok not really a secret) about using Wipe On Poly over chalky paint. It gives it a beautiful finish and you don’t have to use all the elbow grease putting on wax.

Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths

They also just came out with Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloths. These are awesome! They look and feel just like a small container of baby wipes. They come with 8 wipes of stain and they would cover a small piece of furniture. For only $8.99 this is a great way to go if you need just a little bit of stain.

Wood conditioner sample

We also chatted about the importance of using a wood conditioner as it helps the stain and really brings those wood tones out.

Minwax Water-Based Wood Stain

And if you are interested in working with the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain, here is what they look like so you can spot them on the shelf.

Facebook Live at the Renegade Fair

Bruce and I also did a little Facebook Live session at the event, so click to view our chat!

What are your favorite ways to use stain?

Check out Taryn and Design, Dining, and Diapers for more DIY projects, home decor, seasonal and kid’s crafts and gluten-free recipes. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more. 

Creating a Vintage Rocking Chair Perfect for Any Kid’s Room

I love unfinished furniture, in part because I know that when it comes to pieces with lots and lots of parts, like this child’s rocker, I couldn’t make it for less money than it costs. But unfinished furniture does come with a few challenges.

First, there are the nail holes, which I filled using Minwax® Stainable Wood Filler. Once it dried and hardened, I sanded it flush with the wood using a medium grit sandpaper.

Also, the wood used in unfinished furniture generally tends to absorb stain unevenly, so after my first sanding I brushed on a coat of Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to reduce the blotchiness and streaking.

After the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner had dried, I sanded it lightly and applied my Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain, using Island Water to give me the blue color I wanted. I rubbed it in using a soft cloth, then immediately wiped off the excess stain, going in the direction of the grain of each piece.

Having raised two sons, I know how hard children are on furniture, so I decided I would make my new rocker look old. That way the latest nicks and scratches will look normal! Besides, I like the vintage look, so I lightly sanded off some of the stain on those parts that would typically get the most use over the course of several decades.

Brushing a finish on rungs and slats is time-consuming, so I opted for the aerosol version of  Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish in a semi-gloss sheen. I applied just two thins coats at first.

Then I let them dry and reached for my stencils. I had my choice of Minwax® Express Color™ Wiping Stain & Finish or Minwax® Gel Stain to lightly dab over my stencil using a natural sea sponge. This time I selected Onyx in the Express Color line, being careful not to apply too much stain, as it could then seep under the stencil. My tip: Dab lightly, let dry, dab lightly, let dry, repeat, repeat, repeat.

After I was done with my stenciling, I let it dry, then returned later to spray on three additional coats of Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish over the entire chair, including the stenciled letters. When I was all done I had a new, durable child’s rocking chair that looks as vintage as a more fragile antique.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce