Spring has sprung and I have been bitten by the DIY bug once again! It is a beautiful day in Minneapolis when I am writing this post. All of our windows are open and the cross breezes are flowing through the house.
Today, we are talking about stain. Not the gross icky stains on the carpet or the ketchup stain on your favorite t-shirt. We are talking wood stain. Stain is one of those DIY products that can transform something from blah to WOW. Learning to work with stain is pretty easy. The only watch words are brush with the grain and always use less and add more coats. It is one of those things that is hard to undo so it is good to go slow.
Today we are specifically talking about re-staining our house numbers. They look super sweet now that they are done but they were rough around the edges when I started. This project is totally like when you paint your ceiling. You don’t realize your ceiling is dirty and not white until you give it a nice fresh coat of white.
-Stain – I like Minwax Dark Walnut. This is the best color for a great vintage vibe medium to dark color. We have used this on a bunch of projects including the string art that Ben made me
-Paint brush that you don’t mind throwing away – these are cheap tiny brushes I had from another project from Michaels
-Wood plank or anything else you are staining
We put up these house numbers when we first moved in. I stained the board first and then added the house numbers to the board. Now, 4 years later they need a refresh. I think the stain lasted so long because we have deep eaves on our house and no water or sun really finds its way onto the house.
First, I took the paper towel and wiped down the house numbers and all around the wood plank. There were a few cobwebs and dirt and misc stuff that was stuck around the area. If there were imperfections in the wood or previous stain that was uneven I would have sanded it down to get a smooth base. One of the most important things with stain is that the wood surface needs to free of dust. If you sand, make sure to wipe everything clean before you start staining.
I then taped off the edges around the board with painter’s tape. If you haven’t ever used this tape before I highly suggest you run to your local hardware store and buy a roll…or 5. It is very versatile and comes in multiple thicknesses. It is sticky but not too sticky so it works on any surface as a temporary guide or mask. When I taped off the wood plank I slid the tape behind the wood a little so that if there were any drips or smudges you wouldn’t be able to see them if I messed up a little.
Next, I started with the small brush and added small amounts to the tight areas of the board. In a normal situation I would brush on stain, wait a little, then wipe the excess stain off of the wood. I wasn’t able to wipe a lot of stain off of these small areas so I took my time and worked in small batches while wiping the excess stain off of the brush to not make drip lines with the stain.
When I got to the large portion of the wood I switched to the sponge brush to cover more area. The sponge brush allows for even strokes in the bigger area. The sponge brush holds a ton of stain so less is more when it comes to these. I dipped my brush in once and almost covered the remaining open plank area and used the sponge brush to get the edges of the wood that I had taped off.
I covered the wood completely then let it dry for a few minutes. Then I touched up any miscellaneous areas that looked like they weren’t holding the stain very well. I waited about an hour and then went back and touched up any edges. When the stain dried I wiped off the address numbers. The stain doesn’t dry onto them so they are easily wiped clean. I worked in small batches and still got stain all over the sides of the house numbers. Oops. I removed the tape pretty quickly to make sure there weren’t any drips on the tape or areas that would affect the drying of the stain.
Logically I know we shouldn’t love inanimate objects but this stain is awesome and very versatile. We have used it in a few places and the results are modern and midcentury all at the same time. If you wipe the stain off and don’t let it soak all of the way into the wood it takes on a warm light walnut look. If you don’t wipe it off and let the stain soak into the wood it becomes a dark deep walnut color with a hint of black.
There you have it. Good as new re-stained house numbers! Step 1 of the front door update! Stay tuned for the next steps!