Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Revamping the 1960's Furniture

After many months of searching for a "good deal" on an entry table, I finally gave up and just started looking for an ugly one that had potential. Bingo. From the mouth of Craigslist spewed this gem from the 1960's era of honey wood, accented with lime green, covered with a thick coat of polyurethane and I swear, smelled of Don Draper's smoke and whiskey. (Any Mad Men fans out there?)



 I actually sanded this one down to the bare wood, thinking I might go off on a limb and paint it red with black accents. But Java called to me like an old lover, so that's where I ended up...

2nd coat of Java Gel Stain

2nd Coat of Java Gel Stain
I used the "Sock method" to do the 1st and 2nd coats of gel stain. This gave the smooth coverage that the top and curves needed. On the 3rd and final coat, I used the sponge brush.



On the hardware, I spraypainted them with a black matte finish, and after drying, used a sandpaper block to distress all the edges to bring out the 60's gold bronze back to the surface, just a bit though. 

Also, I did NOT do a full coverage of the Java, I left some of the lighter wood showing underneath, so in person, this actually looks more of a mahogany stain. I played around with the sponge brush on the top to create something I thought turned out pretty cool. I made the edges more dark and blended it all towards the middle...

So it turned out really good, and I am pleased. I appreciate it a lot more than if I had just went to Hemisphere and purchased it looking like this already, that's for sure!

Here is a quick video of the Gel Staining process on this particular piece 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gel Staining Bathrooms and Custom Frame Mirrors

Hello all! Thank you for the continued support and amazing group of people you are. I have been blessed with fans from as far as Germany. Wow! I guess German builders use the same ugly stock cabinets as American builders too. Well, onto my recent Bathroom renovation. I kind of went on a Summer hiatus, mainly due to the fact my heathens were out of school and we like to sleep. But, I was recently contacted by a neighbor who was interested in learning to Gel Stain her Kitchen, and I got all excited to stain something. So that weekend, I started on my Master bath. It had been terribly overlooked since moving in, after all, no one ever goes in there but me and my husband. And you can tell by the "Before" pictures that, although I have OCD in some areas, my bathroom sink is NOT an area!

Here is the before...
Master Bath Before

Master Bath Before

I chose Java as the color (of course! It's my fave!) and Satin PolyAcrylic as top coat.

Master Bath After

Master Bath After
3 coats of Java, 2 coats of PolyAcrylic (Water based) As you can tell, I also painted my walls a FABULOUS Gray, by Behr (Home Depot) called "Anonymous". I also framed out the large, ugly, builders grade mirror to make it more custom looking. Instructions on how to do that, read below! But again, let's do a before & after shot! WOOHOO!

As far as "Tips" to share, I also did the Kids' upstairs bath and tried out a few things that people ask me, but I needed to do myself, to better have an educated answer.

1. I left the cabinet doors ON as I stained them. Some people want to skip this step, and I needed to give them the Pro's and Con's of doing this. Pro=Faster prep time, of course. Con=Messy on the hinges, no matter how OCD you are, you WILL get stain on them and this may be bad for any future resale value. Buyers don't like to see half-assed DIY jobs. Make it look professional, and just remove the doors. 

2. I did Not Sand at ALL. I noticed the stain didn't "take" in some places and that was frustrating.

3. I used the "Sock" method, not the sponge brush on. And about pulled my hair out!! I ended up doing the 4th Coat (YES FOURTH COAT!) with a sponge brush, and was highly satisfied with the last coat. So I will stick to my referral of Sponge Brushes for Cabinetry 100%.


1. Take Before pics of your project!
2. Measure mirror (JUST the mirror, NOT the outside wall area of the mirror) in width/length on all 4 sides.

3. Take measurements with you to your local Lumber yard/Home Improvement Store. Some places charge to cut exact pieces, just smile sweetly and bat your lashes! You will have a little left over on each side, because of the Casings, but you can trim it to fit later at home. There is NO NEED to buy more than what your mirror measures, no matter what the store employee suggests, since you will be gluing the pieces ONTO the mirror, and not around the perimeter.

4. Pick out your Crown Molding and Door Casings. I recommend this type of Crown Moulding that is 3.5" wide, and flat back surfaced. Color will not matter, either White or unfinished wood, it doesn't matter because you will be staining it. Price is per foot and is "generally" $.78 to $4 pf depending on your store and area.
3.5" Crown Moulding with flat back surface
5. Pick out your corner Casings. You will need 4 for 1 mirror, to close the gap between each strip of Crown Moulding. These are generally $1 each. You will want to make sure they measure the same as your crown moulding you have chosen in width. (See example in pic)

Top left corner piece is called a "Door Casing"

6. In the Caulk department, you will need 1 tube of PL530 by Loctite for Mirror, Marble & Granite.
7. When home, stain BOTH SIDES of your mouldings and casings, followed by Poly on front sides. It is important to stain the backside, or you will see an unfinished backside it in the mirror reflection!
8. Using your PL530, on the backside of your Casing pieces, apply glue/caulk and press to exact corner of your mirror and hold until you are confident it is drying and will not slide out of place (about 3-5 min)
9. Using a Miter Saw, trim your Moulding pieces until exact fit between your Casing pieces, which will already be glued in place onto mirror. When you are happy with the tight fit, apply the PL530 onto the back of your Moulding pieces, but not too close to the inner parts that will be closest to inside of your mirror, or you will see the glue/caulk in the reflection and it will bubble out and make a mess on the glass. Again, you will want to hold your glued piece in place until it is drying (3-5 minutes) and continue with next piece, etc. You may want to do some touch up gel stain in the places where the Miter Saw may have nicked the wood.
10. Take after pics and share!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Playing with Chalk...paint

I found out how to make my own Chalk paint, from my darling & creative sister-in-law. One tablespoon of grout for every cup of flat paint. Easy enough, I had both ingredients left over from past projects, one being the painting of my entire house, that I must show you (especially since it contains a BEFORE & AFTER picture, which by now everyone knows I love to post those). Here is the exterior before:
Eeek. I did NOT pick out that Plum/Purple/Tan color! 

 And there it is after...
(My dear ol dad hasn't finished my Cedar Shutters yet, but you can't rush a free contractor!)
Body: Oatmeal (Kelly Moore) darkened 50%, trim Behr "Decorator's White"

 OK, I got side-tracked again. None of the above had anything to do with Chalk Paint, but the leftover trim was how I made the chalk paint, so in a way, it's connected to my story. I went dumpster diving one day, you know, when you drive around on a Sunday in the neighborhood, looking for "garage sale leftovers" on the curb *haha* and found this sad, fugly table, propped up. It had wrought iron legs, but the top looked like hell. 

I actually set out gel staining it Java, and spray painted the legs with a Matte black spraypaint. It looked OK, nothing to blog about. Plus, the size of the table was more of a bistro type, and not very sturdy.

So my neighbor came over to admire it, and mentioned it would look better on a patio. So, I overhauled it, sanded down the poly and Gel Stain a bit and covered it with Chalk Paint (color is Decorator's White) and re-spray painted the legs.

I think it was meant to be a patio table ;) I did coat the chalk paint with Poly. It was easy to work with, but seemed to like plastic or rough surfaces better than sanded wood surfaces. Plus, it dries too fast and gets gunked up if you don't cap the lid between coats, which was frustrating, because I tend to get side-tracked between projects. I tried it on a cabinet door, since a lot of my friends were asking about White Kitchens. This was the outcome of that...


It took 4 coats to cover the honey oak wood.  I would highly recommend a Semi Gloss Poly over the Chalk paint for kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

$6 flower pot from Dollar General Before

After, with 2 coats Chalk Paint
Also a plastic flower pot

After, 2 coats Chalk Paint

I have an array of god awful, butt ugly frames, gold, lime green, you name it, I probably have it. Anyways, I have had them stacked in my garage wondering what to do with them. Gel Stain or Chalk Paint? So I tried both. I have to say, I like the white color of the old frames than the Java color, for sure. I have ordered a White Gel Stain, and will be using and reviewing that next week on a couple of those frames. For now, this is what the Chalk Paint looks like on the frames. I have not distressed with Wax yet, but plan to.

Ugly frame #4325 Before
Pretty frame #4325 After Chalk Paint :)
Not the same frame as below after, but same color and texture.

After. I think I may distress these in Gray.

The moral to my story...I like Chalk paint, on frames and plastics. Not too keen on how it is on large pieces of furniture, but maybe I am doing it wrong or not fast enough. I am really excited to play with the White Gel Stain that is coming this weekend! 

OK that's all I got. Now get off the computer, and go make something pretty! xo

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Gel Stained Bedroom Furniture, Lighting Fixtures & Coffee Table

OK I am back...sorry for the long wait for my son's bedroom furniture being posted. I get side-tracked easily (re-decorating my bedroom, painting and hey! I got a real customer I am gel-staining her table for. Oh, and I found a kitchen table on the side of the road I fixed up. And spray painted my garden Arbor a cool teal color. More of that later) 

Back to the furniture. Here is the before: (GAW I love before and after pics!) 

EEK! Blonde Wood!

Sorry for the mess. I forget to take proper before pics

This was before sanding, it was just a very pale pink/blonde wood.

Before and 1 coat

Tada! After

(Hardware purchased at Target)

 Again, side by side before & afters

So I usually do only 2 coats, sometimes 1 coat of Java Gel Stain. However, on these light colored pieces, I had to do 3 coats each, and 2 coats of poly, since my son is 15 years old and I wanted to add more protection on the surfaces. Again, I bought the hardware at Target for like $29 and it was a 10pc set of Brushed Nickle door pulls, to give it more of a masculine look. 

Then I was bored. I found a coffee table online for $10. It was shaky, had gum and cat hairs all over it and looked like a few kids and dog had all cut their teeth on it. Either that, or the people raised a houseful of hungry Beavers. Regardless, it was a nice coffee table underneath the misuse, and the glass inserts were in great condition.

Here is the before:
 I would like to emphasis the beaver bites, so I am enlarging the picture for you

 Sanded down the scratches & bites, reinforced the screws and 2 coats of Java and 1 coat of Poly, and here it is. Looks brand new.

At a recent workshop, I was showing the ladies how you can Gel Stain anything, other than wood. So I brought an old lighting fixture (I call them "Boob Lights" because, well, you get it)

It is a Nickle Brushed fixutre, matched no other lighting fixtures in my house.

After! It matches now :)

Now on this application, I used my trusty sponge brush, and "patted" the gel stain on, to give it a hammered-effect. I did 1 coat of "patting", and no poly. I can imagine any Gold lighting fixture would look even better than the nickle.

On to the horrid, lonely end table. This poor thing has survived every kid I have. In fact, as I was sanding it, I had to sand off my own children's bite marks, 3 pieces of gum and the word "Poop" written in ink, on top. (not normally necessary to sand raw wood, but in this case of sheer neglect and rebellion of time-out, it was)

Before (obviously)

I wasn't sure how it would turn out, since this wood was so porous. So I started by using a "regular" stain, in the Walnut color.
The drawer took the real stain good, but I wasn't pleased how it didn't cover it

The real Walnut stain looked like someone poured green pea soup on top. Or, as my naughty child had predicted in writing "Poop".

Then I said to heck with it, and covered it with Java Gel Stain. It coated it really nicely (no surprise!) and hid all the imperfections that I couldn't sand away.

It's not the most gorgeous piece I have ever stained, but considering how it looked when I started it, I would give it a 1 thumbs up and keep it, after all.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at these pictures, and as always, if you decide to order the Java Gel Stain, I highly recommend you get that and the poly I use is PolyAcrylic Water Based