Category Archives: Wood Finish Stain

How to Stain Unfinished Oak Cabinets

Tools Needed:

  • Minwax Wood Finish
  • Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane
  • Natural bristle brush
  • Drop cloth
  • Disposable gloves
  • Dish pan

Unfinished oak cabinets before staining

I spend a lot of time in my garage workshop, and I also spend a lot of my time looking for bargains, so when these unfinished oak cabinets went on sale, I bought them to go with some cherry cabinets left from our recent kitchen remodeling.

1. Apply wood stain to the surface
Preparing to apply Minwax wood finish to oak cabinets

While I knew from experience that I could never make my oak and cherry cabinets look identical, as they have totally different grain lines, I also knew that the right Minwax Wood Finish, such as Red Chestnut, would come close. And to make sure that it wouldn’t ruin my floor if I accidentally knocked over my can of stain, I placed my can of stain in an old plastic dish pan.

Using foam brush to apply cabinet stain

2. Remove excess stain

Brushing stain on a vertical surface can be messy, which is why I also used a drop cloth — and wore disposable gloves — but ….

Removing excess stain will reveal the finished look of the cabinets

… when I wiped off the excess stain a few minutes later, the color really brought out the beauty of the oak grain.

3. Apply a clear, protective finish

Apply a coat of fast-drying polyurethane to seal in cabinet stain

Stain provides color, but not the protection these garage cabinets would need, so I reached for a trusted finish:  Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane. Two coats brushed on with a natural bristle brush gave both my stain and the wood itself the protection they need.

How the Finished Cabinets Look After Staining

And while the oak cabinets still look a little different than the cherry cabinets, the combination of Minwax Wood Finish stain and Fast-Drying Polyurethane made me happy — and the cabinets take away any excuse I might have had for not keeping my workshop organized.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


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!


A Portable Make-Up Station

Mobility is always important, even when it comes to putting on make-up. Rather than having to always work in front of a large wall mirror, I decided to devise a portable make-up center to make things a little easier when Leigh Ann is on the go. I spotted this 18″ unfinished pine table top at a craft store, cut it in half and glued the two halves together to make a thicker base.

I then drilled some 1″ holes into (but not through!) the base to hold tubes of make-up, as well as a slightly angled slot across the back to hold a small mirror.

I like pine because it is inexpensive and lightweight, but when stained it tends to turn blotchy, so after a light sanding with #150-grit sandpaper, I brushed on a coat of Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

Fifteen minutes later, I returned and applied a coat of Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Classic Gray,” let it soak in for about five minutes, then wiped off the excess stain.

After it dried, I opted to spray on a few coats of Minwax® Polycrylic™ Protective Finish to lock in my stain, add a pleasing sheen and give it some protection.

Then it was just a matter of setting it on our bathroom counter and letting Leigh Ann decide which make-up to add to the make up station.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!