Monthly Archives: August 2016

A Great Time at the Renegade Craft Fair

Renegade Craft Fair Entrance

I undertook my first wood staining and finishing project back in high school, long before craft projects and water-based products had captured everyone’s attention. Events like the popular two-day Renegade Craft Fair held in Seattle simply did not exist, so it was exciting for me to come out and take part in such a lively event last month.

Bruce Johnson with a Minwax fan and a dog

Bruce Johnson with fans and a dog

Seattle and the Renegade Craft Fair are definitely dog-friendly places, and as someone who lives with two rescue dogs (Daisy and Jasper think they rescued me!), it was fun to observe the assortment of dogs and dog owners filing by our booth.

Minwax Booth at the Renegade Craft Fair

The Minwax® team came out to the Renegade Craft Fair to demonstrate how far our line of products had come in providing DIYers and crafters with stains that go far beyond traditional wood tone colors and finishes that dry in minutes, not hours.

Minwax Finishing Cloths

By far the most exciting product that everyone loved was Wood Finishing Cloths. Eight pre-moistened cloths containing both a water based stain and finish now come in a re-sealable plastic package rather than a traditional metal can.

Bruce Johnson using Minwax finishing cloths at the Renegade Craft Fair

Give me a piece of wood and an opportunity to share everything I know about staining and finishing, and I really get excited. We had questions ranging from how to restore a vintage wooden shaft golf club to how to clean and refresh dirty kitchen cabinets – without refinishing!

Bruce Johnson chatting with Fair goersSunday night came faster than we expected, as we were still fielding questions right up to when the crew arrived to start dismantling the Minwax® booth. And while I still had lots of questions about the traditional oil-based stains and finishes I had learned to use in high school, it was quite clear that the people at the Renegade Craft Fair were excited to try our new line of fast-drying water-based stains and finishes.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by


Coasters to Match Your Style Using Scraps

Not every reclaimed pallet wood project has to be a giant one, as I discovered when I was looking for ways to use up some some scrap pieces. After cutting them into 1.5-inch wide strips, I began playing around with different designs, gluing and tacking the strips to plywood squares with finish nails to make drink coasters and trivets to protect our coffee table.

I then added four more pieces to create a frame around each coaster. The frame hides the ends of the strips and the edges of the plywood underneath them.

A quick sanding with #120-grit sandpaper eliminated any roughness and rounded any sharp edges in preparation for a finish.

If you like a natural look, I suggest rubbing on two or three coats of  Minwax® Wipe-On Poly, which protects the wood and brings out the beauty of the grain, even on old pallet boards! (Notice the two nail heads I purposely left in the pallet boards?)

I also made a couple of larger trivets using scraps of new wood leftover from previous projects. Small projects like these are ideal for Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloths, which provide both a water-based stain and finish combined in a pre-moistened cloth. I selected “Maple” and simply rubbed it into the wood, then wiped off the excess before letting it dry. (PS – The gloves are included with each package of eight cloths!)

Naturally, I couldn’t resist testing the drink coaster in my workshop. Here you can see the contrast between the pallet wood (left) under a clear finish and the new wood (right) under a combination one-step stain and finish. Do you prefer one style over the other?

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Tips for Restoring & Protecting Furniture

No matter how careful we are, it always seems to happen:  a nick or a scratch suddenly appears on our furniture. We don’t have time for a complete refinishing, and getting out a can of stain just for a touch-up is inconvenient, so what’s a quick and easy solution?

This is when Minwax® Wood Finish™ Stain Markers are great to have around. These handy tubes of stain have a felt tip for easy application, so you just pick the color that matches your furniture, apply the stain, and wipe off any excess. It’s that easy.

In just a few minutes the stain is dry and the nick or scratch has nearly disappeared. Got time for one more tip?

The best way to preserve and protect an antique finish is with a coat of Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax, in either natural or special dark. Rub on, let it begin to dry, then buff with a soft cloth to a semi-gloss sheen – and you won’t have to worry about guests setting a glass on your family heirlooms.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!




The Easiest DIY Picture Frame Made With Love

This week’s guest blog is from Jen of City Farmhouse. Create your own picture frame by following her tutorial.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo

Family photos can bring life and meaning into a home, they can tell a story & make an ordinary space feel loved and appreciated. A few summers ago I had an amazing photographer friend of mine, Michele Kats, take photos of my family & I at the beach. It was a place I spent a lot of time as a child, as did my father and then my own boys when we moved back from Colorado. I felt so blessed leaving the session, before even knowing what they would look like. These memories continue to be a gift for us as we cherish looking at them each and every time. I have printed a few here & there but to be honest I have always wanted to do something bigger with them.

I am excited to be partnering with Minwax® on this post as part of their Made With Love campaign. Today I am going to show you how your family photos can become art & a beautiful focal point in any space, along with a really easy way to create a DIY frame. The fun thing about this project, I brought a beautiful memory that spans 3 generations into my home and did it all for under $50.

Let’s get started. You will need…

DIY Frame What You'll Need

  • 4 wood pieces cut to size – I bought 2- 5/8″ x 36″ poplar square rods and a 6 ft piece of pine screen door molding which I cut to size. For a 30″ x 30″ print I then had 4 lengths of wood that were all 31″ long, 2 poplar and 2 pine.
  • stain – I used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Early American & Driftwood
  • foam brush or cotton cloth
  • photo/print– Mine was 30″ x 30″ (from Nations Photo Lab)
  • box saw
  • measuring tape
  • nails – 3/4 x 18
  • pencil
  • sandpaper
  • jute
  • plastic gloves
  • drop cloth
  1. I cut 2 poplar pieces and 2 pine screen door molding pieces all to 31″. I wanted the frame to hang 1/2″ on either side of my print which was 30″. I used a box saw and some sand paper to smooth the edges.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo with Tools Needed

2. Time to stain. Be sure to use plastic gloves and have proper ventilation. I used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in the Driftwood color first, then after it was dry I used a cloth to layer on, very unevenly, the Early American color. This gave a weathered look.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Minwax Driftwood


  1. Lay your print on a flat surface face down. I did the bottom frame first. The square poplar piece is what will be visual from the front, so lay that under the bottom edge. I measured so both sides were even.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Measuring

  1. Once it was even I taped the print so it would stay in place. I then added the pine piece on top, this piece will not be visible from the front.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Using Tape

  1. I used thin nails to secure the back piece – the pine to the poplar piece. I used a total of 5 for the bottom and 5 for the top.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Use Small Nails To Secure

This is what it will look like from the front.Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-What It Looks Like From The Top

  1. You will do the same for the top and add jute for hanging. I measured 3″ from either side and tied a knot at the end.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Hanging it

Simple right?! Here is how it looks when you walk in my backdoor mudroom.

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Mudroom Vignette

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Summer Mudroom

Easy DIY Frame With Large Photo-Full View

The Easiest DIY Picture Frame. You can check out more beautiful Made With Love projects over at Not JUST a Housewife blog & Thrifty Décor Chick blog.

You can go HERE for more information and watch this BEAUTIFUL video.

Jen shares DIY projects and thrifty decorating solutions. Her design philosophy is that bringing style to your home doesn’t have to break the bank. Learn more about Jen and visit City Farmhouse. You Can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.