Jun 1, 2012

Mantel Madness: Part 1

You saw the mantel that Steve made me here.  It's still eighteen kinds of awesome.

But I am so excited to take this baby to the next level.  It's stain time, yo.

The hubs kindly removed the mantel from its place of honor on the wall and propped it up on sawhorses for me in the garage.  So sweet.

In the nude.

I love doing this kind of stuff.  It makes me feel like I actually have some artistic talent.  It's nice to shake the cobwebs off the right side of my brain.

The only supplies I needed to buy were some cheap foam brushes.  I got two sizes from Hobby Lobby, $1.33 a package.  Almost broke the bank with that purchase.  Except that my mother-in-law refused to let me pay for them.  So technically, these babies were free for me.  Wasn't that nice of her?  I think she may have ulterior motives in feeding my desire to paint the world... not that I mind!

An excuse to visit Hobby Lobby!

First thing's first.  You don't want to be staining naked wood without some preparations.

Less blurry in real life.

Pre-stain is ridiculously easy.  Just make sure you're sanded and dust-free, then break out a clean foam brush and go to town.  You don't really have to worry about it streaking, because it's clear.  The hardest part is making sure that you've covered all of your surface area, because it's clear.  After 15 minutes of drying time, I broke out the friend we used on our Restoration Hardware knockoff end table- Minwax Dark Walnut.


A new foam brush (this time a nice small one to make sure I could get stain into all the little details) and I started in on the dark walnut.  I tried to apply as thick of a coat as I could without getting drippy, and let it dry for a full 15 minutes before wiping the excess up with a clean, dry rag.  Here's how she looks after the first coat.

Our mantel just got back from two weeks in Cabo.

Immediately afterward, I got cracking on the second coat.  I used the same technique, and even applied a couple of coats to areas where the stain wasn't taking as well.  Add another 15 minutes of dry time and then wiping with a new rag, and here's how she looked.

Showing off its dark side.

Yayyyy!!!  Super happy with how this step of the mantel transformation went.  I'm not sure why the detail shot below looks so light.  She is definitely a richer, deeper, blacker brown in person.

Man, I need a better camera.

So the mantel has been hanging out in our garage, de-stinkifying and waiting for me to get on with phase two: dry-brushing.  If all turns out well, our mantel will look like something you had found in your great-grandmother's attic- a timeworn heirloom.  Hopefully I'll be ready to share pics before the weekend is over!

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