Tag Archives: stain

Joining the Pallet Artwork Craze

One day I was re-organizing my office.

My former office I should say! This spring I switched jobs and am no longer working from home. It’s been a good change! Along with my new routine, my office needed a face-lift.


The office room is extremely awkward to decorate/furnish – one half )shown above) belongs to me and the other half belongs to my husband. The ceiling in my space is at an extreme slant, so it makes hanging any artwork difficult.

My favorite kinds of projects are working with pieces I already have.

First, it’s free.

Second, it helps clear out my “stuff” and gives random things I’ve been hanging on to a purpose.

Exhibit A:

Our kitchen island that we refurnished came with 2 shelves for under-cabinet storage. Since we put two stools there, we removed the shelves. It reminded me of all the pallet projects I’ve been seeing lately.

There is an endless list of pallet DIY projects these days in magazines, blogs and Pinterest- word art, headboards, couches, you-name-it!

While I was clearing out my office *ding ding ding*, I had an idea.

I decided to stain the kitchen island shelves Minwax Dark Walnut using this technique.

After they dried I hung them on each side of the window.

Then I popped some postcards/keepsakes/photographs in them by tucking the corners under the slats of wood.

I have a pet peeve about putting pushpin holes in things – probably because I rotate my artwork pretty frequently and every piece I have would be full of holes!

Plus, this way I can easily rotate what is on display.


I love the solidness that the dark stain brings to the room.

While we are talking about non-pushpin photo display projects, check out my DIY Inspiration Board from last summer.

I just added a few more strings and hung up a lot more photos using mini binder clips! It’s my secret technique for displaying photographs without ruining them.

I’m happy with my office refresh. Now if we can only remove that pesky carpet…

I already ripped up a corner to see what was underneath and all I found was crummy old flooring. Someday we’ll get there!

How do you like to display photos/momentos in your home?

I’m on (Kitchen) Island Time!

January beware! We are kickin’ kitchen booty and we are almost going to meet our goal of having the kitchen finished by the end of the month! (Knock on wood!)

In the process of kicking kitchen booty, I think I have lost approximately 12,857 brain cells. But it was all worth it.

Yes! We refinished our sideboard and kitchen island!

We purchased both pieces as raw furniture from the Mill Store.

We took the following steps to paint the bottoms:

  1. Break out the wood filler and fill any holes. (The island actually came with towel hooks on the side and 2 shelves installed in the bottom, but we want to put stools under the island so we took them all down. Hence all the holes.)
  2. Sand ‘er down with a fine grit sandpaper. I used 220 grit paper.
  3. Prime the furniture. I used regular primer on the sideboard and a few of the dark knots ended up showing through after a few months. I ended up going back and priming them with Killz primer.
  4. Paint the furniture. I used a small cabinet roller and our Valspar semi-gloss paint in Swiss Coffee to match all the trim in our house as well as our kitchen cabinet and pantry. I did four coats of paint letting it dry in-between coats.

Letting the stain sit.

We took the following steps to stain the tops:

1. Sand ‘er down one more time with a fine grit sandpaper.

2. Stain away! We had initially decided on Minwax Golden Pecan stain. This was the same color stain I used on my desk upstairs. I stained the top of the sideboard and we looked at it for a few days. Unfortunately, due to the different lighting and paint color in the kitchen the stain looked too orange. So we sanded ‘er down again. Getting most (but not all) of the stain off. I had given it 3 coats of stain, so we probably took off at least two coats. We picked out a secondary stain color, this time Minwax Special Walnut.

We then stained the Special Walnut stain on TOP of the Golden Pecan stain (we also stained a based layer of Golden Pecan stain on the island top to ensure they would match).

Once we knew we were happy with it we proceeded to give the tops each four coats of stain. We left some layers of stain on for as long as 30 minutes to get a dark and rich tone.

3. We lightly sanded with a fine grit steel wool sponge.

Post-Stain, Pre-Poly

4. Polyurethane time! We used Minwax Clear Poly in Satin finish.We applied four coats of poly, waiting 4 hours in between each coat and lightly sanding with a fine grit steel wool in-between coats.

Staining and Poly tips:

  • We used only the cheap foam brushes.
  • STIR both thoroughly. We used plastic spoons.
  • To wipe the stain I used a variety of clean, old socks and promptly threw them away.
  • Do NOT shake the poly. It will be full of bubbles and your finish will feel like sandpaper.
  • Wait the full 3-4 hours between coats of poly. Otherwise it will get gunky.
  • Make sure you have the airflow fully circulating. I wish we could have done this project in the summer with all the windows open. We left our microwave vent on all day to help get rid of the fumes.

We are in LOVE with how it turned out.

I love having the dual countertops and the contrast between the cool granite and the warm butcherblock.

I just ordered stools this week!

We love how they turned out and we love being able to finally use our island space!

Today we celebrated and we cooked and baked and ate! And I’m officially on island time. Woot!