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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Gel Staining goddess is born.

First, let me begin by introducing myself. I am a gel staining Goddess. I sometimes answer to Mandi. Or mama. or not at all, if I am on Facebook. And my review for Java Gel Stain on is #3. Now that we've established my true identities and hierarchy to all mankind, I would like to say that blogs are for narcissistic people. And why yes, I DID just use to spell-check narcissistic. But, all my friends on Facebook have outvoted me on the decision for me to create a blog, so here it is. Read it or not, I don't care. It took me exactly 32 minutes to come up with a name for this weird public diary, since mamapajamas and isthisonetaken and isthisonetakendamnit and whatisablogspotanyway were all taken.

Now that we've established that I am also modest and humble to a fault, onward with the juicy details of my affair with Gel Staining.

My first project was the kitchen of my newly purchased home. Go big or go home is my motto. Do it or die. Sink or swim. Not really, it just happened to be THE. MOST. OUTDATED. GRANNY. KITCHEN. I'VE. EVER. SEEN. and it had to go.

Until I got the quote for a total kitchen makeover. Then I was like, ok let's be rational...$12,000 for new kitchen cabinetry is unrealistic, even for gotta-have-it-now Mandi. Then I priced Kitchen Refacing, which is basically buying all new cabinet doors and drawers and buying the matching paint for the frames. $1,650. OK, I thought, I can do that. Then I started using their measuring technique, threw the tape measure across the room after 4 minutes and muttered a few choice words. There had to be an easier way. So I started googling. Oh yeah, that's another name I answer to, Google Queen. Anyways, I set eyes on Gel Stain and it was love at first sight of those before and after pics. Did I have the yellow/orange 1997 era Oak Cabinets? YES! Did I want dark, sexy, smoldering Espresso Cabinets? YES, YES! Did I have a stay-at-home-mommy-budget? YES, YES, YES! Come to me, Gel Stain. So I ordered it (Here!) on obliged after 4 days, and there the can of Gel stain sat. Quietly. Eyeballing each other. All of a sudden I was scared to death to open pandora's box.

I had read all the reviews, seriously - all of them. Watched youtube, read the other excited, blabbering blogs. Looked at my sad, dismal honey-oak 1997 cabinets. I slowly unscrewed the doors and labeled them with my anal kitchen chart, laid out in my garage. Scared, unsure, wide eyed, kicking myself for being an overeager sheep. So, I re-read all the reviews, re-watched the videos, tried to pump myself up. Even called a contractor for a quote to do it. ($3500? uhhhh...) Then one day, after 3 weeks of looking at our exposed dishes and sippy cups (cabinet doors were still off) I started washing the frames with Dawn and water & again with just water. When my husband (the infamous Clay, who we will reintroduce after we discuss my gel affair here) came home, he "sanded" them for me, if that's what you want to call it, he more of less ran a sandpaper block over them once each and was done with the whole kitchen in 4 minutes. I rinsed with water again, to remove any sawdust with tack cloth. Starting with the "fake" wood sides, I tried to follow the man's sock and wipe away method. It looked like a toddler smeared dookie on it. So I used a sponge brush and went over it very very lightly, and evenly. Looked awesome.

I ended up buying the Economy sized bag of sponge brushes from Wal-Mart ($1.00 for like 12) and used those. Easier to get into the cracks, easier & less messy to apply, more even looking outcome. Plus, no wiping away, so that's one less step. Yipee! I thought it would take 3 coats like the other reviews suggested, to get the completely covered espresso look, but I guess since I am using a sponge brush and not wiping off, 2 coats were the magic trick for me. I do 1 coat 1 day, wait 24 hours or more, do a second coat, then flip over and repeat. Waiting for the doors to dry was the hardest part!

As I put everything back together, I realized I was quite like the Mouse in the kids book "If you give a Mouse a Cookie..." In other words, the laminate countertops had to go. So I started pricing Granite, and was lead to a local fabricator here in DFW area, from Craigslist *eek scary* but he turned out to be AWESOME and within my budget. After he installed them, I stepped back and realized I hated the backsplash. So that was next to go, again my Granite guy "hooked me up" with his cousin, and he installed the glass mosaic backsplash. (I did do the grout, but that's a whole 'nother story and I will never do that crap again. Even I know my limits!) THEN the lighting had to go, so back to Lowes I went. Oh and the kitchen sink. And faucet. Surprisingly, I am happy with black appliances over stainless steel, so they are staying put.

Here is the finished kitchen project.

A side-by-side before & after

After taking a short break from the Kitchen updating obsession, I have went on to Gel stain our front door, front and back. Which took a whopping 2 whole days. And whoever stained it before did a shitty job, I might add. The red stain had dried in dripping streaks. They should have used Gel stain. Seriously.

Then, as I walked around the house with my can of stain and an evil glint in my eye, I found my end tables were scratched up and didn't match the rest of our furniture *GASP!*

I also did our staircase banister, and went over it with a 220 grit sandpaper on the edges to "distress" it. Some love the look, others do not. I personally am in LERVE with it. (And true to form, once I did it, I had to take up the old flooring and add a nice plush carpeting...still giving that Mouse a cookie)

Here is a hideous, gaudy gold mirror I did as sanding required, and I did not use a poly to keep the rustic "wood" look

Currently, I am working on my eldest son's bedroom furniture and will update this page when it's complete with new hardware. Stay tuned! Or not!