If you’ve been following me for while, you know that I love working with wood stain. I’m a stain girl. I typically stain projects versus paint them. Just my preference. I love seeing the natural wood grains shine through and I love the rustic look you can get with stains. Anything from a rich Dark Walnut for a polished look, to a weathered gray for a more farmhouse look. Which is why you can find all shades of Minwax stacked in my garage at all times.
A few weeks ago the team from Minwax came to Seattle for the Renegade Craft Fair and I had a chance to hang out with them for a bit and chat with Bruce, the ultimate stain master. I learned so much from him and I can’t wait to try out all the new techniques I heard about. After they event they sent me home with this adorable “Telephone Table” to play around with. It started out as a natural wood and I used the Minwax Water Based Stains to give it a personalized look.
Minwax recently launched their Made With Love campaign that’s all about giving a personalized look and feel to your pieces. Whether it’s refinishing a family heirloom, giving a personalized gift or making something meaningful for your home. I refinished this piece while keeping those things in mind. I wanted something personalized so I used tones that reflect my personal style and then added a personalized graphic to the top (keep scrolling).
I switched out the basic wood knob and replaced it with a fun vintage bicycle drawer pull for an added touch of detail.
And here is where I personalized my piece. To some they are just number, but I actually used our area code to create a more industrial style for the “telephone table”. :)
This piece was fun to create and I loved working with the water based stains. It was my first time using them so I thought I’d give a little tutorial on how I got this look.
Since the table was in pieces and hadn’t been put together yet, I laid all the pieces out first and worked on them before assembling the table. This gives everything a really great all-over stain. It started with the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner and let it dry. After this dries you will want to gently sand the surface down with a higher grit sand paper. 220+ works great.
Minwax has TONS of beautiful water based stains to choose from. They even have lots of vibrant colors. But since you all know me I only work with neutrals and was drawn to their Sea & Sky color palette. For this piece I used a combination of the Pure White and the Slate. Also, the Water Based Stains need to be mixed at the hardware store. So you will pick up the tint base and take it to the paint counter to be mixed. I love the subtle look of the pure white. It really gives it a nice white washed look. I did 3 coats on my piece. I brushed the stain on and then you can use a paper towel to wipe off any excess stain.
For the top of the piece and the drawer, I used the Slate color. I will say, I expected this color to look a lot more gray and it turned out to be a lighter brown in my opinion. Maybe if you used multiple coats it would darken it and pull those gray tones out a little more.
For the personalized touch, I used my Silhouette to create a quick stencil and then used Onyx over it. Here is tip, if you are wanting to put stencils over stain, the water based stains are the way to go. When working with oil based stains the adhesive has a hard time sticking, but with water based it worked perfect.
To finish the piece, give it a coat of water-based wipe on poly. It sealed it beautifully.
Everyone seems to know Bruce from Minwax, he is so incredibly knowledgable and talented and it’s always great to chat with him. I heard him speak at a conference a few years ago and it was great to get some 1:1 time together to talk stain.
Bruce let me in on a big secret (ok not really a secret) about using Wipe On Poly over chalky paint. It gives it a beautiful finish and you don’t have to use all the elbow grease putting on wax.
They also just came out with Wood Finishing Cloths. These are awesome! They look and feel just like a small container of baby wipes. They comes with 8 wipes of stain and they would cover a small piece of furniture. For only $8.99 this is a great way to go if you need just a little bit of stain.
We also chatted about the importance of using a wood conditioner as it helps the stain and really brings those wood tones out.
And if you are interested in working with the water based stains, here is what they look like so you can spot them on the shelf.
Bruce and I also did a little Facebook Live session at the event, so click to view our chat!
What are your favorite ways to use stain?