Monday, May 21, 2012

Wood Project Step #1 and #2 - Cut and Stain

Last Friday I gave you a glimpse of how exciting my Friday was! I stained wood and made a cake.

My original thought was to be as cheap as I could be using would pallets I got for free.

However, my vision for my project required more wood and actual good pieces of wood. The pallets were very hard to take apart. I ended up having to cut them apart.

So, for Mother's Day,  I requested pieces of wood. My cheap project then started to cost money.

We saved money on wood by buying whitewood. It is a soft wood that is easy to stain.

Since new wood looks new and pallet wood is weathered, I had to find a way to make my newly purchased wood look like it had been outside for years. The whole reason I wanted to use pallet wood is because of the variation in color and the grey look.

A popular method I researched had two steps: Tea and Vinegar.

First things first, I sanded the wood. I only sanded one side, and I did not sand the ends. Sanding the ends would have made it difficult for the wood to but up next to each other like I wanted.

The first part is to make tea like you were to drink it. Paint it onto the wood and let it dry. I used Earl Grey tea, but I'm not a tea drinker so my assumption is a stronger tea would have done better.

The tea stain wasn't obvious when it dried, but that was okay. It's needed for the next step to react.

The next step of the staining process involved steel wool and white vinegar.

In a mason jar, you tear up the steel wool into pieces, then pour enough vinegar to cover it. I forgot to peel apart the steel wool, but it still did fine. And you have to make sure you use real steel wool, not the generic stuff.

You let the steel wool/vinegar mixture sit for at least 24 hours. Then paint it onto the tea stained wood.

After 15 minutes of drying
That's what the wood looked like after 15 minutes. It was still not the color I wanted, so I let the steel wool/vinegar mixture sit for another 12 hours. Painted a test strip and let it sit for another 24 hours. I also did a double coat to see if applying it over a previously treated area did anything. You can see my test board below.

70 hrs...                     36 hrs...                   2nd coat... 24 hours
This is the timing of how long the vinegar mixture sat in a jar.

The far color on the left was closest to the color I was trying to achieve. So, I proceeded to cut my wood to its final measurements and then painted.

I painted all the wood with my new mixture and was not feeling happy. You should be able to get your final coloration within 30 minutes. Every piece of wood was turning a different color; which is great! But some of the colors were ugly.

I liked how the wood looked best at night time. And as the boards sat longer, they started to turn orange. It was an orange that kind of dusted off. I had read that the longer you let the steel wool mixture sit, it had the chance of rusting the wool and would be on your wood. I think this was what was happening. Thank goodness it rubbed off a little.

I went back to the drawing board and remembered I read that I could use craft paint or latex paint watered down to create a new color on my wood. I mixed white, grey and brown and watered it down. I painted some boards and immediately felt happier.

It was scary to see the color go on, but I knew it would dry different. I had faith!

Some boards painted with dark mixture

I did not paint all the boards. Just trying to paint the boards that were the most orange or had an orange stripe down the middle. This made sure that the variation in color between boards was still there. This paint mixture created a very dark stain. I LOVED the color, but it was not my vision. I kept it anyway.

The next day I made a new paint mixture that had more white in it to give me that grey-weathered look. I watered it down and painted the lighter stained boards. It immediately gave the me affect I was looking for. I don't know whether it was all the steps combined or if I could have done that final step and got the color I wanted; but however I got there, it worked!!

Top board painted with white mixture

I was a much happier camper now that my wood no longer looked new. I know I could have distressed it more with hammering it and banging chains on it, but I was okay with it not having dings.

This was a process, but I'm happy with the results. I took the long route because I was being picky with the coloring, but I knew the color needed to go with the room that would be its new home, so my perfection-side of my personality kicked in.

See how pretty it goes with the carpet and wall color? I'm a happy girl. Happy Mother's Day to me!!

I'm not yet revealing what the project is that I am creating with the wood. You'll just have to stay tuned!

Check here: for the revealed project!

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