Monday, January 28, 2013

DIY Gel Stain Cabinet Makeover


I have been so envious of this project for the past few months.  I've seen tutorials and before/after photos floating around on the internet and kept thinking, "I'd love to do that!"  Finally, my husband and I decided to go for it.  We were thrilled with the results!

First... let's talk about some realistic expectations.
1.  This project will not be finished in one weekend.  It will take two weekends of your time.  While this is primarily drying time, don't expect to have your bathroom back in a few days.
2.  The costs do add up for this project.  Expecting that you don't have any of the materials, you will be spending about $75.00.
3.  You will need to order materials online.  The gel stain and polyacrylic I purchased are usually not available locally.  I purchased them for $30.00 (total) on {see link below}.  I do not recommend substituting these materials.  Their results are uniquely amazing.

Alright, now that we have those important details out of the way, let me say...
Do not be afraid of this project.  I cannot stress enough how easy it was to get these crazy great results.  Just have a little patience.

Now for the fun stuff....

General Finishes Java Gel Stain (pint)
General Finishes Polyacrylic Top Coat (pint)
Vinyl Gloves {10 pack... only $1.50 at Home Depot}
Men's Socks {2 pairs}
Foam Brushes {2 is good, three is better}
Floor Covering
Painter's Tape
Screw Driver
Sander and/or Sand Sponge {This CAN be done without an electric sander!}
Microfiber Cloth
Painter's Pyramids {Optional}

Gel Stain


1.  Empty out your entire vanity.  Again, remember that you will be losing your bathroom for a little over a week, so make sure items are easily accessible.

2.  Take a moment to really clean out your drawers, counter tops and floor around the cabinets.  You will want to focus on eliminating any dust and hair in the area.  Check out that awesome purple eye shadow I found in my makeup drawer.  Sadly, it's from the previous owner... eeeewww.

3.  Lay down your floor covering and tape off your area.  You may chose to use craft paper.  I chose to use leftover, heavy-duty wrapping paper.  Take the time do this meticulously.  It will pay off in the end.

 4.  If your design allows, remove drawer fronts.  If it does not, use painter's tape to protect sides of drawers.  I recommend doing two rows of tape.  While staining, your fingers can go a little rouge and get stain everywhere.  Better safe than sorry.

 5.  Remove doors from hinges.

 6.  Sand down all your surfaces.  Again, this CAN be done without an electric sander - it will just take a little more time.
When sanding, don't go crazy.  You just need to buff up the surface, not sand all the way through.  Don't spend too much time on each piece, but don't forget the edges.  Every single square inch needs to be sanded - the gel stain will not adhere if you don't.
Again, take the time to do it right.  It will pay off in the end.

 7.  Wipe down all your sanded surfaces with a microfiber cloth.  Remove ALL dust!

8.  Time to gear up!   Vinyl glove first, followed by a men's sock.  Why a men's sock?  They are longer and will therefore protect your arm and stay on!  It's possible to use women's socks though.  We don't discriminate.

 9.  Set up your doors on painter's pyramids if you so choose.  This will allow you to do both sides at one time.  We used them for the first round and then never again.  It was just easier to have them on the ground, but it's entirely up to you.

 10.  Time to get going!!!  So exciting!!!  First things first, turn on the bathroom fan.  These fumes will getcha!
Now here's the deal... it doesn't take much gel stain to make a high impact.  When staining, just dip your sock in the stain.  You only need a small dollop per drawer and about a tablespoon or so per side of a door.
The trick is even, thin coats.  Avoid leaving clumps of gel anywhere.  Gently rub with the grain, make it even and take a deep breath.  It's not going to look like much at first, but it'll get there.  I promise.
 Now, this is what it looks like at Coat #1.  Take a deep breath.  This is normal.
 Let dry for 8 hours. I'm not kidding.  Give it 8 hours.   When you come back, you'll see why.

**You may consider setting up a small fan.  It helps with drying as well as ventilation.

 11.  Apply Coat #2.  Here's what our looked like afterwards.
 Let dry for 24 hours.

12.  Apply Coat #3.  This is the time for serious touch-up.  I used a foam brush to get into cracks and hard-to-reach places.  Pay special attention to doors, along the edges of those fake drawer fronts and along the wall.
 Let dry 12 hours.

13.  Finally, apply Coat #4.  Last chance for touch- up.  Is everything even?  Do you have any gaps?  Pay special attention to the edges of the doors and drawers.  Ours had really deep grains and need a little extra love.
 Let dry for 5 days.

14.  After 5 days, your gel stain will be really set.  Do one final look over for touch-ups.  Ready?  Grab pair of socks #2, suit up and dig in.  Apply the polyacrylic using the same method as the stain.  You will notice you need much less to cover your pieces because it is water based.  Apply a thin, even coat and avoid leaving any clumps.  These are easily identified as the area will be cloudy instead of clear.
 Allow to dry for 6 hours.  After fully dry, repeat.  Two coats should do it!

Wow!  Check out those beauties!!!

Give it a shot and definitely let me know how it goes!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Free Printable Moving Labels

In a perfect world, a move would be smooth, organized, inexpensive and pleasant.  Unfortunately, we all know that moving holds its own tricks and trips.  To help ease the pain, please help yourself to these {free} printable moving labels.  I mean, at least your boxes will end up in the correct rooms!

Simply print these beauties and stick on your boxes.  The labels are color coded by room and I have also created a "Contents" label so you can mark exactly what is in the box.

For best results, print using Avery 1 1/3" x 4" White Easy Peel Address Labels (product number 8162).

Putting the boxes into storage?  Place package tape over the top of the labels to keep them in place, clean and perfect.  It's okay to be a little OCD.  :)

Oh yes, there are 30 different labels to choose from.   Have fun!  Did I miss a room?  Just post a comment and I'll be happy to add it!

Happy Moving!

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