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Medium Warm Stain

July 27, 2012 |
posted by Ana White
Medium Warm Stain
Medium Warm Stain
Medium Warm Stain
Medium Warm Stain
Medium Warm Stain
Medium Warm Stain
Author Notes

We were not even done building my daughter’s loft bed when the girls started climbing on it.  

The excited joy in their voices as they climbed up and down the stairs, pretending the stair platform was a stage, brought me great joy too.  I knew they were going to love this bed.   

Originally, I had planned to paint the entire bed a bright color.  But after seeing how much use this bed would be getting, I knew paint would never hold up.  The platform is afterall a floor.  I’d be repainting the bed every single year.  Even with a good durable paint that could hold up longer, because paint is a solid color, I was fearful that it would show dirt and wear much more apparent than a wood stain. 

So we changed our strategy from a solid paint color, and decided to stain the bed.

There’s good reason wood floors are stained instead of painted.  Stain soaks deep into the wood, bonding with the wood itself.  There’s no enamel that can easily scrape up in chunks.  You can’t take a heat gun to stain and watch it peel off like a sticker.  

We wanted Grace’s room to have a camp like feeling.  And to go with that simple, rustic style, I knew the bed had to be a medium warm wood stain, reminiscent of years of use.  

We love the final result, knowing this bed will look just as beautiful in five or ten years as it does today.  So glad we went with the warm wood stain.  If you would like to stain your pine furniture a warm wood stain, follow along in this tutorial brought to you by the awesome folks over at Minwax, and I’ll show you how!

What You Will Need

Shopping List: 

120 Medium Grit Sandpaper
220 Fine Grit Sandpaper
Rags
Foam Applicator
Minwax Oil Based Pre Stain Wood Conditioner
Minwax Wood Finish in Golden Oak
Minwax Wood Finish Stain Brush
Minwax Water Based Polycrylic
Paint Thinner for Clean Brushes

Step 1

Preparing the Project

Give yourself a great start on your project by properly preparing it.  

Start with a medium grit sandpaper, sanding the entire project.  I used 120 grit in an orbital power sander, working in the direction of wood grain.

Follow the medium grit sandpaper with a fine sanding.  You can use a power sander here as well.

All that sanding is going to leave your project dusty.  Remove the dust with a soft bristled brush or a vacuum with a soft bristled brush.  Follow up by wiping down the project with a damp rag.

Step 2

Pre Stain Wood Conditioner

To avoid a blotchy stained finish, I highly recommend testing your stain on a scrap board from the project first.

From a scrap piece of wood leftover from the bed, I applied Minwax Oil Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to only half of the scrap.  Then I followed up by staining the entire board with Minwax Golden Oak Stain.  This wood is definitely going to need wood conditioner!

Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner is easy to use and inexpensive.  I used about half a quart sized can on this entire bed, and it took me another half an hour in finishing time to apply.  Definitely worth it for an even stain penetration and a beautiful result.  Minwax pre-stain is sort of like an insurance policy, it's guaranteed to give you even stain penetration so that you don't end up doing all the work and then being unhappy with your results because you didn't take the extra time to use pre-stain. 

Mix up the Minwax Oil Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.  Stir contents thoroughly before and occasionally during use.

Then begin applying in the direction of the wood grain.  I loved using a sponge applicator for fast easy application.  You can also use a brush, foam brush or staining pad to apply.

Allow the product to penetrate from 1-5 minutes, and then wipe off any excess. 

You’ll be able to tell what areas of the project have been treated with Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner because the wood will appear slightly deeper in hue, almost like it is slightly wet.  When the entire project is treated with wood conditioner, allow to dry for at least 30 minutes.

To prepare your project for stain, again, sand with 220 grit fine sandpaper.  This will help raise the grain of the wood to accept the stain evenly.  Follow up by removing any sanding residue.

Step 3

Applying Stain

These days, when you hear the word oak, you might think of your Mom’s old cabinets.  

But this stain, Minwax Wood Finish in Golden Oak color, is a beautiful, warm wood color, not at all brassy or yellowy.  I highly recommend it for use on this project, made of 2x4 and 2x6 lumber, but you should always test out stain colors on scraps of your wood before applying.  May I suggest purchasing the tiny stain cans as testers in a variety of colors?  

I am also using a 2.5” natural bristle stain brush, designed specifically for use with oil based stains.  Invest in the right brush for the right product for the best results and to keep your brushes lasting project after project.  If you were working with a water based stain, you should use a synthetic brush.  

You can also apply Minwax Wood Finish with a clean cloth.

Stir the stain before use and thoroughly throughout use.

Begin by applying the stain, working in the direction of wood grain.  Apply liberally.

Unlike paint, stain is easy to apply in little cracks. Can you imagine getting your paint brush in there?  You’d want to paint all the boards individually first, or you would be there all day!

Also unlike paint, stain will go right through a drop cloth.  What I do is place scrap plywood pieces underneath the dropcloth to soak up excess stain.

After about 15 minutes, wipe off excess stain, in the direction of the wood grain.  Don not allow the stain that has not penetrated the wood to dry on the wood surface.  If the stain appears too light, do not worry.  To darken the color, you can apply a second coat after 4-6 hours.  Do not sand between coats of stain.

When you are happy with the stain, allow to fully dry, at least 8 hours, before applying top coat. Dry times may be extended due to high humidity, low temperatures, or inadequate ventilation.

Step 4

Brush Clean Up

If you take care of your stain brushes, they will last and last.  

For Minwax Wood Finishes, I fill a small glass jar halfway with paint thinner and place the brush in the jar for a few minutes.  I use a fork to comb the brush in the paint thinner.  

Then I remove the brush from the paint thinner, wringing out as much paint thinner as possible.  The brush is then washed in hot soapy water and replaced in packaging.  

Step 5

Protecting Finish with Top Coat

To protect the beautiful wood finish, I decide on Minwax Polycrylic, my absolute favorite top coat ever .. Love it!  I love it so much because it goes on smooth and easy, the wood does not change colors after application, and it is very durable.  And did I mention it comes in spray cans?

With a clean finished project, I spray the project with Minwax Polycrylic, working in light even strokes, always aware of wind direction and overspray.  It’s better to apply a top coat in numerous, light coats, then one goopy, drippy coat.  So after the first coat, let your project dry for about 30 minutes.  Then lightly sand with super fine sandpaper, remove sanding residue, and add a second coat.  Three coats are recommended.

With the spray on polycrylic, it is easy to apply top coat in traditionally hard to reach areas like between slats and on the underside of the project.  

Allow the completed project to dry overnight before using.

Special thanks to Minwax for bringing you this stain tutorial today!

clips
brookifer86's picture

Beautiful!

I love how the stain turned out! And since you mentioned a color, but not wanting paint, I think it was the Shanty Sisters who experimented with using RIT dye to color wood without using paint. I think they definitely need to do a project and tutorial here!

posted by brookifer86 | on Fri, 2012-07-27 15:16
clips
Ana White's picture

Hi Busy Bee, I am so glad you

Hi Busy Bee, I am so glad you left this comment! The combination I used worked beautifully on the project, but after checking the can, you are right - it is recommended to use Oil Based Pre Stain Conditioner with Wood Finish. I will update the tutorial per your comment. Thank you so much for the catch! Ana

posted by Ana White | on Fri, 2012-07-27 18:15

love this! reminds of the

love this! reminds of the b-beds my dad made for my brothers! so very cool!

m ^..^

posted by {oc cottage} (not verified) | on Sat, 2012-07-28 15:27

Minwax makes water-based

Minwax makes water-based stains in most of the same colors, also, if you would rather use the water-based pre-stain conditioner :) You can use oil-based under water-based, but it is not recommended to go the other way around. If using water-based over oil-based, though (i.e. water-based poly over oil-based stain), it is recommended to let the oil-based layer fully cure for 3-4 days.

posted by Kendi (not verified) | on Sun, 2012-07-29 21:14

Post Finish Moving

Once you finish a big project like this bed, how would you recommend moving it into the house and bedrooms. Obviously, a project that size is bulky and will not fit through most doorways. Do you take it a part into sections and then rescrew? If so, have you noticed those joints being weaker than when you originally join them together for priming and painting? I am a novice at furniture building, and I really want to say thank you for inspiring people to build.

posted by EricV | on Mon, 2012-07-30 14:21

Love the stain color

When I redid my baseboards in my other house, we used regular 1x4 pine, routed the edge and stained it in this color. Cost us about the same as buying MDF baseboards, but we had the beautiful warm rich color of real wood! :) Thanks for the tutorial. I really enjoy reading them.

posted by Milca (not verified) | on Thu, 2012-08-02 08:25

Easy to make

I am so glad that I found your article because I needed a new bed for my boy. Your article and the description gives me all the information to make a bed similar to yours. Recently I bought a property fully furnished, with Flat Roofing but without furniture for children. Your project inspired me to make this type of furniture in the backyard.

posted by MarioG | on Fri, 2013-04-26 09:57

very good. But inks it is not

very good.
But inks it is not good for children's health
they stay ill

posted by andreia (not verified) | on Thu, 2012-10-18 09:33

Bench

Hi there. Super excited to build this table for my kitchen. You also mentioned that the plans for the bench is also available. Where can I get this plans?

posted by Anel (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-10-22 05:12

Great Primer on Staining

I really like your primer on staining, especially the use of photos. I have a can of the conditioner but seem to be in such a hurry I forget to use it. I will post a big reminder on all of my stain cans to use the conditioner first. I have one question. My Min-Wax conditioner says to stain before the conditioner dries. Is this necessary? On big projects you have to move with the speed of a speeding bullet to stay ahead of the drying conditioner.

Jake

posted by Jake | on Mon, 2012-10-22 06:22

Staining/painting in cold temperatures?

Hi! I am new to building furniture, and was hoping to start my first few projects next weekend. Questions on staining/painting in colder temperatures though:
My work-space will be in the garage, but living in Wisconsin and about to head into the coldest weeks of the year I am wondering how this will work.
Is it ok to stain/paint in 20-30 degree temperatures or will this significantly change how the finish turns out?
If so, would it not be ok to bring the items inside after sanding to stain or is it not as ventilated as it should be?
Unfortunately, we don't have a basement or mudroom living in a condo...
Wondering what you do in the cold Alaskan months?

posted by Hannah54321 (not verified) | on Tue, 2013-01-15 18:04

Staining/painting in cold temperatures?

Hi! I am new to building furniture, and was hoping to start my first few projects next weekend. LOVE your site/plans! Questions on staining/painting in colder temperatures though:
My work-space will be in the garage, but living in Wisconsin and about to head into the coldest weeks of the year I am wondering how this will work.
Is it ok to stain/paint in 20-30 degree temperatures or will this significantly change how the finish turns out?
If so, would it not be ok to bring the items inside after sanding to stain or is it not as ventilated as it should be?
Unfortunately, we don't have a basement or mudroom living in a condo...
Wondering what you do in the cold Alaskan months?

posted by Hannah54321 (not verified) | on Tue, 2013-01-15 18:07
clips
Jamaunzie's picture

Hi Hannah: We live in Iowa

Hi Hannah: We live in Iowa and we deal with cold temperatures in fact I built a play kitchen for my Granddaughter for Christmas and we painted it with a water base paint. I was running a two burner Propane heater in our Garage and it help keep the temperature around 40 with the outside temperature around 5. The paint was really hard to work with and it left streaks that were visible looking at it from an angle not to mention dry time. I also stained a couple of things and they came out really nice just a long dry time, Polyurethane is not as forgiving as Stain The Cold slowing down dry time along with damp air you take a risk of it turning cloudy and then as I found out it is back to the Sanding to bare wood and starting over so I stain and wait for warmer temps for final protection.

posted by Jamaunzie | on Tue, 2013-01-15 19:03

Loft Bed Plans?

I love the stain but I also love the bed! Do you have plans for this? I searched and did not see this bed listed...

posted by mrsmarycandice | on Sun, 2013-05-05 14:45

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