Monthly Archives: April 2018

How to Build and Stain a New Tabletop

Hi! My name is Stacy Risenmay, and I’ll be showing you how to build a tabletop! This post is sponsored by Minwax, and you can find more of my work on my blog Not Just A Housewife.

My dining room has had a few different looks over the years. One thing that has stayed the same, however, has been the dining table. We love the table that was given to us by some friends when we lived in Vegas. It has beautiful legs and has fit well in our small dining nook. A year and a half or so ago I built a larger top that fit over the original top. It was so nice having a larger top but I didn’t like the edge coming down so far and I thought that the deep edge, plus the black, ended up making it feel bulky. This time when I built a new tabletop, I removed the original top all together and built a new top for the legs. It is easier than you might think to build a tabletop yourself!

Tabletop Before

I think I finally found the right combination of color and size for my new dining room tabletop. This is the perfect table for our little dining nook!

DIY Homemade Tabletop Stained with Minwax Weathered OakDIY Homemade Tabletop Stained with Minwax Weathered Oak

Tabletop After

White Dishware & Green Plant Decór for SpringtimeWhite Dishware & Green Plant Decór for Springtime


  • Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
  • Minwax Wood Stain
  • Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane
  • 1×4 Boards
  • 2×2 Boards
  • Pocket Screws


  • Purdy Ox Hair Brush
  • Kreg Jig
  • Screwdriver or Drill
  • 100-grit & 250-grit Sandpaper

How to Build the Tabletop

Step 1: Cut Boards

Cut the 1×4 boards to the length you want your table to be, taking into account that the 2×2 border will add three inches to the length and width. Cut as many as you need to get the width you want. Our dining nook is small, so our table ended up being 54 inches by 38 inches.

Step 2: Drill Holes

I drilled pocket holes and used pocket screws to join the 1×4 boards together. They also connected the 2×2 that went around the border.

Drilling Pocket Holes to attach Legs to DIY Tabletop

Step 3: I sanded the table with 100-grit sandpaper then finished off by hand sanding it with 250-grit. You need to make sure you finish with a fine grit sandpaper to eliminate the lines created by heavier grit sandpapers and sanders.

Stain the Tabletop

Step 4: Apply Wood Conditioner

Once it is sanded and the dust has been wiped off with a damp rag, apply a pre-stain wood conditioner. If you are going to use an oil-based stain, use an oil-based conditioner. If you want to use a water-based stain, there is a water-based conditioner as well. Follow the directions on the can and wait the appropriate time before applying the stain.

Step 5: Stain the Wood

Stain the wood with your choice of color. I wanted the tabletop to go with the reclaimed wood surrounding the giant chalkboard so I chose the Weathered Oak wood stain by Minwax. I have used it many times before and knew the stain color would be perfect! The more coats you put on, the darker the color. I ended up applying two coats. Soft applicators like the Purdy Ox Hair brush work best for applying stain.

Seal the Tabletop

Step 6: Apply Polyurethane

Once the wood stain has completely dried, it is time to brush on the polyurethane protective finish. Again, use a soft brush that is meant for oil-based polyurethane.

Applying Minwax Polyurethane with a Purdy Ox Hair Brush

Once the polyurethane has dried completely, sand it using a fine grit sandpaper. When wood gets stain and seal it can raise the grain and make it feel rough. Sanding it smoothens it and helps the second coat of polyurethane sealer to adhere. Sand in between each coat. A tabletop needs at least two coats, but three is best.

Sandpaper Used for DIY Tabletop

Applying Minwax Polyurethane with a Purdy Ox Hair Brush

Bonus: Stain your other furniture to match!

While I was at it, I also sanded down the top of my bench and stained it to match the table. The legs on the table and bench got a fresh coat of white paint. I love the whole look!

Springtime Tablescape Décor with White Dishware & Fresh GreenerySpringtime Tablescape Décor with White Dishware & Fresh Greenery

Decorating Your New DIY Tabletop

Springtime makes me think of gardening, so I picked up some potted herbs to keep in my kitchen until I can plant some in my garden. They made the perfect addition to the spring tablescape.

White walls, lots of greenery, and warm wood tones together is my favorite combination. The Weathered Oak color is perfect!

The large window lets in plenty of light. It is one of my most favorite sunny spots in the whole house.

I feel like I finally have my dining room where I want it to be, and it is bright and fresh!

Do you have a dining table that you love?

This post was sponsored by Minwax but all the ideas and opinions are all mine.

Staining & Hanging Floating Shelves: A National Woodworking Month Project

  • Tools Needed: Minwax True Black Wood Finish, Minwax Simply White Wood Finish, Minwax Stainable Wood Filler, Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish, wall brackets, drill, level, tape measure
  • Estimated Cost: 2″x18″x8″ poplar and birch wood ($15 per shelf), wall brackets ($5 per pair)
  • Estimated Work Time: 1 hour per shelf (excludes drying time)

April is National Woodworking Month, so I couldn’t think of a better time to try out a couple of new Minwax stain colors — True Black and Simply White — while also adding some more display space to our family room with four “floating” shelves.

New Simply White & True Black Wood Finishes from Minwax

Follow along with me as I piece together these unique shelves using the steps below.

1. Measure and cut wood slabs

I wanted our shelves to look “hefty,” but a heavy, two-inch slab of wood would pull the hidden wall brackets right off the wall. Instead, I created a hollow shelf by cutting and assembling, using glue and nails, a framework of 2-inch wide, lightweight pieces of poplar. Your width and length will be determined by the location on your wall, plus what looks best. Mine is 8″ deep and 18″ long.

Cut Wood Slabs for Floating Shelves

2. Assemble hollow shelves with internal supports

I then cut, glued, and nailed two pieces of quarter-inch birch plywood to the framework to create my first hollow shelf. The two internal supports are located where my wall brackets will be positioned (see Step 3).

Floating Shelves Framework

3. Drill holes for wall brackets

On the back side of each shelf I drilled two holes; the diameter and depth were determined by the size of the special wall brackets. You want to make sure each bracket hole is drilled into one of the internal framework pieces (see picture below).

Drilled Holes for Wall Brackets in Floating Shelves

4. Hide the unsightly edges

To hide the unsightly edges of the birch plywood top and bottom, I glued and nailed thin strips of poplar to the front and two sides.

• Use Thin Strips of Wood to Hide Unsightly Edges on Shelves

5. Fill shallow holes with Minwax Stainable Wood Filler

After countersinking the nails, I filled the shallow holes with Minwax Stainable Wood Filler. As soon as it dried, I sanded it flush with the wood.

Use Minwax Stainable Wood Filler to Fill Shallow Holes

6. Stain the shelves

I then stained two of the shelves with Minwax Simply White in the Wood Finish line of stains. After letting the stain soak into the wood for five minutes, I wiped off the excess stain with a clean cloth. I then repeated these steps using True Black Wood Finish Stain on shelves number three and four.

Pro-tip: You can also custom mix more than one Minwax wood stain to get the perfect color ideal for your space.

Staining Shelf with Minwax Simply White Wood Finish

7. Spray the shelves with Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish

Once dry, I sprayed three coats of Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish over all four shelves.

Spraying Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish

8. Level and measure placement for wall brackets designed for floating shelves

I next used a level and tape measure to determine the location of the special wall brackets designed for floating shelves, then secured them with screws. As you can see, each bracket is adjustable — and won’t be visible once the shelves are in place, hence the name “floating” shelves.

Measure and Hang Special Wall Brackets for Floating Shelves

9. Slide the hollow shelves onto the wall brackets

Then it was simply a matter of sliding each hollow “floating” shelf onto the wall brackets — and letting Leigh Ann know she could begin filling them up.

Black & White Stained Wood Alternating Floating Shelves

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Personalized Pallet Wall Art

If you’re at all like me, you’d rather give a personal gift you made than go shopping in the mall. I wanted to give my son Blake a special piece of wall art made in my workshop, so I started by securing four lengths of pallet boards with strips of wood on the back, then used a stencil to outline his initial on the top.

Cutting out the letter with my sabre saw weakened the four boards, so I carefully turned it over and attached three more boards between the two outside strips holding the four boards together. As you will next see, portions of these backer boards will be visible through the cutout letter “B.”

Artwork always looks better framed, so I created a two-part frame using scraps of pallet boards. First I glued and nailed four 2-inch strips flat against the original four front boards.

Next I cut four narrow strips to fit around the perimeter of the frame. In addition to simply looking good, these four framing strips hide the exposed edges of the front and back boards.

A light sanding smoothed out any roughness and softened the cut edges left by my saw blade.

As a final step, two coats of clear Minwax® Polycrylic Protective Finish sealed the wood and brought out the various natural colors of the pallet boards.

And even just temporarily propped up on a bench, Blake’s pallet wall art looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. And with the wood from a free pallet and the stencil leftover from an earlier project, the price made it look even that much better!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!