Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

An Antique Mirror Restoration Made Simple

1. Before

While it may not look so bad from a distance, this 1950s maple mirror had originally been finished with lacquer, a popular finish for mid-century furniture. Unfortunately, this early version of lacquer tended to develop tiny cracks and blemishes over time. Fortunately for us, they don’t have to be stripped for the mirror to be saved and reused.

2. Scuff

I started by scuffing the old lacquer lightly with a synthetic pad, then wiping off the dust.

3. Lacquer

I then simply added a fresh coat of Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer, which adheres best to the old lacquer.

4. Wire

Quick Tip: Never trust old wire or hooks on a heavy mirror or work of art. Always be sure to screw in a new hook and use heavy-duty braided wire.

5. HeroBefore I could get it hung on the wall, Jasper decided to take a quick peek to see how he was looking that day. Both he and the mirror look pretty good!

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

Restore a Foggy or Cloudy Skylight

Opening

For years, the skylight in our bedroom has had a permanent foggy appearance. But aside from looking unsightly, there was no reason to undergo the expense of a new one. So when I spotted this large stained glass window in an antique shop, I got an idea.

NotchesThe window’s frame was falling apart, so I removed it and made a simple oak lap-joint frame, cutting the notches using a hand saw and a chisel before gluing them together.

Test While the glue dried, I applied three different Minwax® Wood Finish™ stains in different colors– Natural, Golden Pecan, and Golden Oak to a piece of scrap oak, then held it up against the skylight to see which would be the best match.

Can As it turns out, the Minwax “Golden Pecan” Wood Finish came very close.

Stain I applied my stain, let it soak in for a few minutes, then wiped off the excess stain before letting it dry.

Plugs Afterwards I drilled a shallow half-inch hole in each lap-joint for the screws that would secure the stain glass window to two strips of wood I installed inside the skylight. The wood buttons hide the screw heads and give the frame a bit of decoration.

Lacquer Frames like this one are ideal projects for Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer. Just a couple of thin coats provide all the protection the oak will need, and the lacquer dries in just a matter of minutes.

HeroWhile the antique stained glass window and my new frame didn’t fill the entire skylight, it certainly made it look much better, giving it some vintage character and a little extra color.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

This One’s For the Birds

Old Birdhouse

Everyone loves to watch birds, whether at a feeder or around a nesting box. Putting up nesting boxes is a good way to attract birds year round. But as you can see by this bluebird house of mine, it doesn’t take long for unprotected boards to begin to swell, crack and warp. Before long they simply fall apart.

Before

Last week, I picked up these two cedar bird houses at my local home improvement store. This time, however, I decided to protect the wood before I put them up.

Helmsman For the first bird house, I selected Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane, which has special “blockers” to ward off the damaging ultra-violet rays of the sun while also preventing moisture from soaking into the wood’s pores.

Teak Oil For the second, I chose Minwax® Helmsman® Teak Oil. Whereas Helmsman Spar Urethane dries on top of the wood, the Teak Oil is absorbed into the wood, where it dries and hardens. It also protects the wood from sunlight and moisture.

Teak App I prefer to pour the Teak Oil into a shallow container, then brush on a liberal coat, which the wood quickly absorbs. After it dries, I will apply a second coat the same way.

Bordhouse

I purposely did not seal the insides of the nesting boxes, as birds prefer raw, natural wood near their chicks. But protecting the outside with either Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane or Minwax® Helmsman® Teak Oil will ensure that any birdhouse will be around for a long time.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

Closet Makeover! with Not JUST a Housewife

By: Guest Blogger

Guest blogger Stacy Risenmay of Not JUST A Housewife is back with a fun project to help you get organized and liven up your storage space. Follow her tutorial on how to give your closet a stylish makeover.

My Saturdays have been spent doing other things rather than DIYing. But here and there I have been working on a project that I have been putting off for a year. I decided it was high time to get my office closet made over to match my new home office!

This is also my first Minwax® post of 2017. I am so excited to be teaming up with them again to bring you tons of projects this year.

If you want to see how my office closet was supposed to look like when people actually put things away when they were finished, you can see my original office closet post HERE.

This is what it looked like after 4 years of use. Pretty close to the same, but we did get lazy over time.
Before image of the closet before the makeover

Here is what it looks like now!

The peacock blue walls were pretty but didn’t match my new office so I painted the walls and shelves black. I kept the trim and ceiling white.

Office-closet

I think my favorite thing is the new pegboard with actual pegs instead of metal hooks. I’m going to show you how I made it today :)

I didn’t change a lot of the functionality of the office because it has worked for 4 years and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The one thing that didn’t work for us was having every single little thing hanging on the pegboard. My boys (and even me sometimes!) didn’t take the time to carefully hang up the screwdrivers and pliers after each use. They would get tossed in a random box instead. I decided to hang things that were too big for the pegboard boxes and things like paint brushes that would get their bristles messed up if tossed in a box.

There is a box for tape measures, a box for box cutters and other sharp tools (the highest one), and one for screwdrivers, pliers, allen wrenches, and other small hand tools.

office-closet-makeover

I added pegs to the baskets so they can be moved around too.

office-closet-pegboard

Since the closet is in the corner of a tiny room, we opted to keep the door off so it would be less awkward. Because of that, the closet needs to not only match but needs to be organized and nice to look at. I even added a couple of snake plants :)

tool-closet-in-office

To make the pegboard, I bought a 2 foot by 4-foot piece of 1/4″ plywood. I originally was going to make the holes 2 inches apart so I measured it and marked it off that way. After looking at how close together they would be, I opted to only mark every other corner to make them 4 inches apart. If I ever decide I need more holes, it will be easy to add them :)

I used a 1/2″ drill bit to drill out the holes.

TIPS:

  • Choose a bit that has a point so it won’t slip.
  • Go slowly so it doesn’t rip the plywood and splinter around the hole.

If you do have some that splinter, don’t panic. Use a stainable wood putty that closely matches the stain you are going to use to patch it up.

measure-for-holes

I wanted the pegboard, the small boxes for the pegboard, and the larger storage boxes to all be the same color as the IKEA baskets. The baskets have a weathered wood tone that I love. I have used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Weather Oak many times (I love it!) and knew it was more on the grey side. You can see my bench I made a few months ago to see the stain color. I decided to add a little bit of another stain to brown it up a bit. I chose “Provincial” but “Early American” would also work. I added one tablespoon to one quart of Weather Oak.

Make sure to test out any stain on a scrap piece of wood (the same type of wood you will be using for your project) to make sure it is the color you want. This goes for any color, not just custom mixes.

stain-wood-for-pegboard-and-boxes

minwax-weather-oak

Once the pegboard was done and stained and I had built simple boxes, I needed to measure and mark where the holes needed to go for the pegs. Do not drill all the way through. Drill slowly and keep checking as you go. Use wood glue to secure the pegs to the back of the boxes.

drill-holes-for-pegs

Just like my crate I made for my corner shelves, I cut out vinyl to make a custom stencil for the bigger storage boxes. The one that says “Tools” will hold all of the smaller miscellaneous tools like laser levels and pipe cutters.

DIY-closet-organized

With crafting or DIY, there are so many little items. It is so nice to have so many bins and baskets to hold them all and keep them from being a jumbled mess. Now I just hope the boys put things back where they go after they use them!

tool-closet-makeover

I wanted to add a sign to the top of the pegboard and thought this quote seemed appropriate. I just used scrap wood from the garage, a little paint, and another custom stencil.

closet-after

build-your-dreams-sign

The part of the closet that you can’t see from straight on is actually the biggest part. This closet is over the stairs so it is angled. The top shelf is almost 5 feet deep. The second shelf is over 3 feet deep and the bottom shelf is about 2 feet deep. I keep the things I use frequently towards the front and things I rarely use get put in labeled boxes in the back so it is easier to pull and slide them out when needed.

HR-tool-closet-organized

I didn’t want the slanted space under the bottom shelf to be wasted so I got some empty paint cans (you can buy new empty ones at Home Depot) and used small hooks to hang them from the underside of the shelf.

DIY-supplies-in-paint-cans

I am really happy with how it turned out! It was quite the chore to empty, paint, build, and fill it back up but it was worth it!

office-closet-makeover

Stacy Risenmay is a DIY enthusiast. In her blog, Not Just a Housewife, she shares her adventures of fixing up her 1938 cottage. She believes that whether it’s big or small, everyone should love their space. Learn more about Stacy and visit: http://www.notjustahousewife.net/about. You can also follow Stacy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram