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!!!

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