Category Archives: Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

Wood Finishing Tips for DIYers from Christina’s Adventures

By: Minwax

Guest Blogger Christina from Christina’s Adventures attended our Habitat for Humanity ReStore event and is here to pass along a few tips and tricks she picked up from the workshop. Follow along as this avid DIYer imparts some helpful guidance to get you started on your next wood finishing project.

This post is sponsored by Minwax®. As always, opinions are always 100% my own. 

I went to an event hosted by Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore and Minwax® a few weeks ago, and it was so much fun!  I met some friends, played around with some products, and truly learned just how little I know about staining & finishing wood.

I mean, I’ve been DIYing for years now – I wasn’t sure how much I would learn at this wood finishing workshop.  I was so wrong!

The workshop was taught by Bruce Johnson, who is a wealth of knowledge for all of the things that go into woodworking projects.

Thanks to his wisdom, I can give you a guide so you can feel confident to tackle your next DIY – whether you’re a beginner or have been doing this for years (like me!)

HOW TO STAIN WOOD:

PREPARING THE WOOD

  • Sand the wood – always “with the grain”
    • If you go against the gran of the wood, you’ll end up with scratch marks once you apply the stain.
    • You can sand with 120 grit sandpaper for a smooth finish
  • Use a wood conditioner like Minwax® Pre-Stain Conditioner
    • This one was new to me – and now I won’t do another project without it!
    • If you don’t condition the wood first, your stain will go on blotchy.

You can see the difference in how the wood looks once it’s conditioned (this photo has not been edited in any way):

APPLYING THE STAIN

  • Using the right tools is really important for the next two steps.
  • Oil based vs. water based
    • I personally like using an oil based stain, like Minwax® Wood Finish™, but there’s a variety of choices of colors between water based or oil based stains.
    • Oil based products give you a longer working time, while water based products dry quicker.
  • If you use a water based stain, like Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain, make sure you are using brushes with synthetic fibers.  Otherwise, the bristles will soak up the water and the brush will expand and lose it’s shape.
  • If you use oil based products, you can use a brush with natural fibers or a foam brush.
  • Never shake the stain!  It will get bubbles in it and can give you an uneven finish.
  • When applying the stain, make sure you go with the grain.  You can wipe off the excess stain after you put the first coat on (the longer you wait to wipe it, the more concentrated the stain color will be).

FINISHING OFF THE WOOD

  • Again, you can choose to use oil based products or water based products.  I personally love water based products for this part. Minwax® makes a number of great options in both varieties, such as Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane, which is oil based and Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish, which is water based.
  • It’s important to apply a finish coat – this will protect your wood from wear & tear, and it will also help lock the stain in and make it even more vibrant.
    • If you’re not a fan of the shiny finishes, you can get them in satin or matte!  Don’t let the high gloss finish scare you away if that’s not your style.
  • Polyurethane (which is oil based) will amber, or yellow, over time.  Polycrylic (which is water based) will always be clear and will not yellow.
    • Just remember – you’ll have a longer working time with Polyurethane than Polycrylic. If you’re confident in your ability to work quickly, then go with Polycrylic!
  • Let your stain dry overnight before applying your top coat.
  • When you’re applying your finish, you need the correct brush.  Again – synthetic brushes = water based products and natural brushes = oil based products.  Use a high quality brush for this portion of the project so you can get the smoothest finish possible
  • Do one thin coat, wait overnight, sand *lightly* with a fine sandpaper, and reapply the finish.  Repeat this process at least one more time before you can officially be finished.

CLEANING UP

  • I’m guilty of throwing my brushes in the refrigerator with a baggie over them at night…but I am sad to report that I was told that wasn’t a good idea.  Boooo!
  • Take the extra 5 minutes and thoroughly wash your brush out after every use.  If you’re using an oil based product, clean with mineral spirits.  If you’re using water based, you can clean with water.
  • Make sure to hold your brush down while cleaning – otherwise product will build up near the base of the brush and ruin the shape of your bristles.
  • You can use the little hole at the end of your handle as a hanger, so you can hang it to dry to keep the shape of the brush.
  • Did you know you could keep that little cover it comes in to protect your brush after use?  I always just threw it away – not anymore!

OK – phew.  I know that’s a lot of information!  It’s important to be informed, but it’s also OK to experiment and find your own special technique and style!

It’s easy for me to talk about Minwax® products, because they’re basically all I use!  Come take a peek at some of our past projects we’ve used Minwax® products for:

OUR BATHROOM COUNTER TOPS:

I used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Early American” with the “Satin” finish Minwax® Polycrylic™ on top of our butcher block counter tops in our bathroom (they’re cherry butcher block slabs):

WOOD WINDOW VALANCE:

I used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Early American” to stain these pine boards to make our *easy* window valances.  Now that I look back at these pictures…they look blotchy!  I totally should have used Minwax® Pre-Stain Conditioner first to give it a smoother stain application:

OPEN SHELVING PANTRY:

We used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Weathered Oak” on these shelves (pine boards from the hardware store) in our last house:

DIY WOOD FRAMED MIRROR:

One of my favorite easy DIY projects – again, we used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Early American” on these (look at the difference in tones between that pine wood and the butcher block – we used the same stain!) I love how they look, but remember: separate pieces of wood may take the stain differently, so it’s important to test a section first before you commit to a stain for your wood.

Make sure you head over to Minwax®’s Facebook page to “like” them and see lots of other tips & tricks that can help with all of your DIY projects!  You can also find a LOT more specific product information on Minwax.com – they’re a great resource!

This post and the event I attended where I learned all about how to stain wood are all part of Minwax®’s “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.

They’re working with some amazing friends of mine – see any familiar faces in this group?Blogger Christina of Christina’s Adventures passion is to inspire your own adventure! Whether it’s painting a piece of furniture for the first time, getting the courage to tackle your first DIY house project, or even working on remodeling your own home. You can see more of her gorgeous DIY projects on her blog as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

A Festive Holiday Card Display

This time of the year we always look forward to receiving holiday cards, pictures and notes from friends and family. I decided this would be a great opportunity to make a simple, colorful display board for them. You can make yours from a piece of plywood or individual boards (as I did) and cut it whatever size fits your wall. Either way, I always start with a coat of Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to help the wood absorb my stain evenly.

I then used two Minwax® Water Based Wood Stains, “Green Tea” and “Crimson,” to brighten my boards.

To hold the three boards together, I simply glued and nailed two scrap pieces of wood across the back.

Two coats of Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish really made the colors pop, and will protect the wood against sticky fingers!

After it dried, I used my staple gun and some green string to wrap the boards in preparation for the cards.

As a finishing touch, I added a stencil of the word “Home” that I found in my local craft store. You could also use adhesive letters to create any number of words, such as “Happy Holidays.” Then you can either slip the cards over the string or hold them in place with miniature clothes pins or paper clips for a festive way to display your holiday cards.

Until next time,

Make this a hand-made holiday!

Bruce

5 Staining Tips Every DIYer Should Know with City Farmhouse

By: Minwax

Guest Blogger Jen of City Farmhouse is back to share some wood finishing tips she learned at our Habitat for Humanity ReStore workshop. Follow along as she walks you through 5 helpful tips you should know before starting your next DIY wood finishing project. 

This is a sponsored post by Minwax®.

     

Here are  5 staining tips every DIYer should know…

     So before staining, it’s important to use an oil based wood conditioner like Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, if you’ll be using an oil based stain, or MInwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, if staining with a water based stain.

     

     

  

     

  Minwax® Polyshades® It’s both a stain and protective finish in one product.   

 

      

  

DIY Floating Bench

 

Live Edge Bench

 

DIY Modern Rustic Beam

 

Driftwood Sculptures

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 FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

Six Things Every Refinisher Needs

It doesn’t matter whether you’re getting ready to start a new project or you want to encourage someone to take up wood finishing and refinishing. Having these essential items on hand makes getting off to a good start a breeze.

Dropcloth

A drop-cloth is critical for catching spills and splatters. The only mistake is getting one too small. I always start with no less than a 6’ x 9’. I find the all-plastic drop-cloths to be awkward to use, so I opt for the style with canvas on one side and plastic on the other.

GlovesSold in boxes of 100, disposable gloves are essential for protecting your skin against stains and finishes. Always have a box sitting on your workbench so you have no excuse for not putting them on.

SandpaperMost projects require more than one grit of sandpaper. Be sure to pick up an assortment pack with: #100 grit for rounding edges and removing deep scratches, #120 grit for smoothing the wood, #150 or #180 grit for final wood sanding and #220 grit for sanding between your first and second coat of finish.

Brushes In the same manner, most projects require more than one type of brush. A foam brush or an inexpensive bristle brush are fine for applying Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner or any Minwax® stain, but you will want a higher quality bristle brush when it comes time to lay down a smooth coat of clear protective finish.

Cloths Kitchen paper towels are too thin and quickly fall part when used to apply a stain or finish, so pick up a roll or box of heavy-duty paper towels designed for use in your workshop.

FinishesMinwax® wood stains come in so many different colors that you should pick out the stain you want depending on each particular project. But since every stain needs to have a clear protective finish applied after it dries, go ahead and get a can of each of these to have on hand. For water-based stains, apply water-based Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish. For oil-based stains, use oil-based Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane.

Until next time,

“If you wait until you have enough time, it won’t ever get done.”

Bruce

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.