Category Archives: Antiques

Finally! A beautiful nightstand makeover.

By: Minwax

Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick loves sharing simple, inexpensive ways to decorate your home. Check out her latest project using Minwax® products.

This post is sponsored by Minwax®. I only work with and share brands I know and love!

Hey there!! I’m SO excited about this project my friends! It’s been so very long since I’ve been able to focus on a DIY anything since my back injury. And this one has been such a long time coming — I finally finished this up with the help of Minwax®. I work with throughout the year and their stain made this project shine!

We’ve had these nightstands for years! Goodness. I mean…this is one of my biggest procrastinations ever. 🙂 Here’s a reminder of the Tarva dressers (from IKEA) I started with:

These are small dressers but were the perfect size for a nightstand as well. I really wanted something with storage. 👍 When I put them together years ago I cut down the legs with my saw. It makes them the perfect height for by the bed and I just prefer the shorter look.

I went back and forth on a look for these forEVER. Here’s a reminder of how they looked in our old master:

I replaced the wood knobs with random IKEA ones we already had — not sure why cause it didn’t do a whole lot to help it out. 😉

I always knew I’d use stain somehow and add some trim. The exact details I wasn’t sure of. But when we moved into this house it all fell into place. My inspiration is a project for our master I haven’t even started yet — I’ll share with you (hopefully) soon!

I wanted to use a deep blue color and a dark stain. I went back and forth on whether I should stain the front of the drawers or stain the trim and top. I decided on the latter mostly because the pine these are made of isn’t necessarily the best. Lots of knots I didn’t want to accentuate.

So I started painting with no primer. I’m a total rebel! I knew I was going to have to do multiple coats no matter what. After the first coat it’s important to do a light sanding to knock down the texture that pops up with paint:

You’ll have to do that with primer as well. No need to go crazy with it — just a light going over is fine. Wipe it down with a rag or tack cloth before moving on to your next coat! (This pretty blue is called Gale Force.)

What a difference another coat makes! The grain becomes less and less noticeable:

I started on the stain while I waited on the paint to dry. I wanted to go darker this time and went for an old favorite, Jacobean by Minwax:

It’s just a yummy color! I used it on our hardwoods in the old house and it’s a beautiful dark brown without any red tones.

I use gloves and a rag to stain. Makes it super easy to apply and I find it quicker than using a brush:

It really gets the stain into the wood too — you’re really rubbing it in.

I only do one coat of stain but if you want to deepen the color you can do one or two more. Do be sure to wait till it’s dry in between coats or you’ll have a gummy mess.

Make sure your stain is dry before starting the protective coat as well. I used their fast-drying semi-gloss polyurethane because I have absolutely zero patience. 😂 Never shake your poly — it will create bubbles and bubbles are the enemy of a beautiful, smooth finish. Always stir:

Staining is my favorite because it’s immediate gratification, but poly is a close second because it really brings out the beauty of the wood:

You want to smooth out that finish as much as possible. It’s helpful to use your light source and look at the item from the side to see what needs touching up. I find a few lighter coats work much better than one heavy-handed coat.

It already looked SO good! But I knew the final addition would make it even better. I used this inexpensive lattice wood trim I’ve shown you a million times to trim out each drawer front. I stained the pieces first and then cut them down to the correct size:

A nail gun makes for quick work (I used very short nails — make sure they won’t go through the back!) but you could absolutely use glue too!

You’re going to have a rough edge if you trim them out like I did. I could have mitered the edges but I’m still using my handheld saw and miter box. (You can (affiliate) get your own here!) I knew the mitered cuts would take little more finesse. Turns out our saw was lost in the move and I need to get that figured out with the movers.

I preferred to have my rough edges facing to the side of the drawers, so I did a long piece along the top and bottom. A bit of stain covered them right up!:

And then when dry, it was time to poly these as well. See how using the light helps?:

I’m absolutely THRILLED with how this came together! Gah! I love it!

The top of the dressers stained up much prettier than I thought it would!:

I’m impressed because we’ve been using these for years without any protection. I tried to stay on top of any spills and avoided leaving drinks on them, but still, I was surprised.

I used pine trim to match the top. Different woods will stain up differently and even the same will have small differences. Pine is definitely a more rustic look, so plan accordingly:

I got the hardware half off at Hobby Lobby weeks ago and just LOVE them on here! My whole plan for this space is kind of a rustic elegance design and the nightstands fit that perfectly:

The blue looks navy sometimes, sometimes a blue green. I like them both. 🙂

I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve been looking at the pine dressers for so long or what, but I’m smitten. They’re just so pretty and…finished. 😉

I still have to finish up my husband’s side though — so close to having these done after years! Sometimes it’s a good thing that I procrastinate. I didn’t have a great vision of what I wanted until we moved into this house.

I had the lamps — I thought I had returned them and went to the basement looking for something else and there they were! I must have known they’d work perfectly!:

Of course, like usual, one finished project starts a series of changes. I plan to change out the bedskirt eventually. It looked great with our old wall color but I don’t like it in here with the drapes and dresser color:

But that I can deal with!

That photo above makes the dresser look really navy, but this one is the more true color. I am obsessed with it! It’s such a pretty blue:

Because you know I have to do it…here’s the before of this dresser:

And this is the after, with some paint, stain and beautiful hardware!:

YAY!! I’m not going to celebrate too much till I finish the other one — but YAY. 😉

If you have any questions about this project let me know! It feels so very good to get things done again after nearly six weeks!!

Restoring a Vintage Bookstand

I never stop looking for antiques that I can bring to life back in my workshop – hopefully with just a little effort. So, when I spotted this forgotten, expanding bookstand I knew it had to come home with me.

I start each project like this, by first carefully vacuuming off the dust and dirt using the soft bristle attachment on my shop vacuum.

Since the original finish was intact but dry, I decided all it needed was a coat of Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax. I opted for Minwax’s darker version of the Paste Finishing Wax, as it also disguises any nicks and scratches in the dark oak.

Once it began to harden, I buffed the Paste Finishing Wax with a soft cloth to bring out a protective sheen.

And while this method of restoration does not always result in a dramatic change, it always feels good to know that you have saved a vintage piece while preserving its original appearance – all in just a few minutes time!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

 

 

Made with Love: Rejuvenating My Kids’ Wood Wagon with My Fix It Up Life

Guest Bloggers Mark and Theresa of MyFixItUpLife are back with a fun project sure to pull on your heart strings. Follow along as the couples embrace the spirit of “Find. Finish. Love.” to revive an old wood wagon as a heart-felt gift for their kids. 

This wagon may not be the greatest woodworking project you’ll ever behold, but it’s made with love for my kids. Thing is, we never used it.MyFixitUpLife_Wagon_Made-With-LOve_Minwax1630-1-800x600

As with many intentions in life, we got busy. And it got stuffed in a forgotten corner; piled on with more forgotten stuff. Forgotten.

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But this wagon has a story. It’s dear to us. It’s wrapped up in how Theresa and I met and our first project together. Time to take life by the handle again and to start making new memories.

The wagon is made with wood that carpenters use to build shelter—spruce and fir mostly. You can get it anywhere and it’s usually a little, let’s say, lived in. It has all the dings and scrapes you’d expect a workmanlike hunk of wood to have.

What I enjoy about working with these kinds of woods is that their beauty is brought out by what you put into working and shaping and loving them.

And, this wagon looks slightly like a monster truck because I made it originally for Jack’s older sister when I lived closer to the beach. Its first lot in life was to be a beach wagon.

But we got busy.

And life happened.

Time to make some changes. Hello past, here comes tomorrow.

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Made with love, to us, sometimes means going back to the beginning. The spruce boards I made the original out of needed some serious sanding. Not a ton of fun, but we used three grits of paper (60, 100, 150) t0 bring the spruce boards back to vibrance. Also, sanding opens the grain of the wood, ideal for stain penetration.

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Before applying our coatings, we took extra care to get the dust off the wood. Compressed air is great for this. If you don’t have a compressor, using an old paint brush is great too. Follow up with some spray detergent and a damp rag (like you’d clean your kitchen counter).

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The neglected spruce deck boards on the wagon gulped in the Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, which we like to use as a base coat so the stain soaks in as evenly as possible.

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Since the wagon’s rails were coming apart, I re-made them from a Douglas fir 4×4, carpenter-grade. It has the tightest, straightest grain of the construction wood available at the home center.

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I love this gray, Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Classic Gray. When staining individual parts like this it pays to have a plan, because you have to stain all six sides at once. For these parts, we stained the front, the edges, then stood them up on the thin side and covered the remaining surfaces. It’s not perfect, but it works. Always check for streaks and runs (inevitable because: Gravity). Just strike them off with the brush.

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Since gravity  is always on, I use it to my advantage. Before using a stain—and this may not be in the Minwax® rule book—I tip cans upside for a few minutes before using them. To my mind, this lets the stain move uniformly through the can without me stirring it with a stick for longer than necessary. I still stir it with a stick. No shaking.

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Small parts can be frustrating to sand. When possible I use an inexpensive—and versatile; you can use a stationary sander for all kinds of stuff—bench-top sander.

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Applying this dark stain (it’s Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Ebony”) was like applying a liquid mirror. And while we could have gone with the more sort of obvious colors of childhood here, we wanted a look that was a little more furniture than toy.

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Using this stain required me to slow down and go to a quiet place. There’s a balance between how quickly you can apply it and how quickly the wood drinks it in off the brush’s ferrules (bristles). There’s something just a little perfect about the balance.

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The last coat is one of my favorite things for outdoor protection. Even though this wagon will spend most of its life indoors, it’ll see beach sand or rain or who knows what from time to time, so I locked in the color and locked out the weather with Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane.

Bring it Mother Nature.

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It pays to have a plan. Since I wanted to brush the urethane on the sides, I needed a place for them to dry where they’d barely contact anything so I made a little hanger. Is this perfect? No. But neither is life.

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Love is said to be perfect though. And that—we hope—is what both kids feel when they see, use and roll around with this project from my heart.

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From now through September 30th, take advantage of our Fall Home Celebration rebate and save up to $15 on select Minwax® products that make and keep your floors beautiful. These specially formulated products enhance the natural beauty of your floors and can help protect them so they look great for years to come.

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.

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.

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