21 February 2012

Guest Room Project: Refinished Wine Crate

Yesterday I shared with you a teaser photo of the wine crate project I was working on for the guest room. As I mentioned before, this was inspired by the vintage storage crates that Shelley built over at House of Smiths.

I started my project with this wine crate. I snagged it from work a few years back. I had big plans and hopes for this wine crate, but never actually did anything with it.

I have heard from other bloggers that stain can be a daunting project. I honestly don't mind staining. The anniversary gift that I made for Jordan was my first time diving into stain and I honestly thought it was pretty simple. Smelly, but simple. You definitely want to do this in a well ventiliated room. I chose to tackle this part of the project the same day I painted the guest room while Lucy was being watched by my parents. Our basement smelled for a good day or two after staining.

To start, I selected a stain that wasn't as dark as the color I used for the anniversary gift. I wanted a warmer brown to offset the bright white walls and bedding in the guest room, but nothing too dark. I settled on "Jacobean". I also purchased a staining brush. You want to make sure that you use a brush made specifically for stain projects, not a sponge or regular paint brush. It will make it ten times easier to stain when you use the proper tools.

Lastly, I picked up some rope to use for the handles on the front of the crate. Something with some substance, but also that wasn't too thick that it couldn't easily go through the drilled holes.

When you are ready to stain, you definitely want to make sure you use wood that is properly prepped. Any wood that has a finish or gloss to it won't hold any stain. You can try sanding these down and may have luck if you can get all of the finish/gloss removed. The wine crate I had was pretty much a bare wood with no finish at all and that's the best way to go for a staining project.

I decided to first stain the underside of the lid in case I wasn't happy with the color or had any trouble in the beginning. Using a brush specifically made for staining projects, I generously applied the stain in large brush strokes to the entire surface of the wood, in the direction of the wood grain. After waiting a few minutes for the stain to set, I used and old rag to wipe the excess and rub the stain into the wood. Again, I made sure to wipe in the direction of the wood grain.

Once I was happy with how the stain looked, I repeated the process on the opposite side of the lid and the rest of the crate. I was sure to do one side at a time and allow adequate drying time between coats.

Note: I would highly suggest wearing gloves for a project like this. I did not and wound up with stain on my hands from handling the used rag. I quickly learned that wood stain does not easily come off hands. After scrubbing them with little to no results, I researched some home remedies and found that vegetable oil works. It was still a pain, but the veggie oil did the trick.

I also wanted the inside of the crate to match so that if the lid was off, the inside matched the outside. You do want to be careful to evenly apply the stain as thicker, uneven coats will result in dark spots. I like to start light and gradually add another full coat if I wish my color to be darker. I'll admit I have a few dark spots where I either put too much stain or had it on for too long. I don't mind and think it adds to the rustic look of the stained wood.

Once you the stain set overnight (or more like two weeks for me, oops..) the crate will be dry and ready to add the rope handles. I measured four inches in from each side and made the holes about 4 inches apart. Even though the handles are purely aesthetic, I wanted them to look legitimate and be wide enough to grab onto. I also made them slightly higher than center, again just for looks. After marking the spots for the holes, the last step was recruiting Jordan and his trusty drill. He drilled into the wine crate, making sure to make to carve the holes wide enough to fit the rope snug, but not so much that they were flimsy.

Last step is to tie the rope off in the inside of the crate.

I'm thrilled with how this wine crate came out. So much, that I'm actually waiting to get more crates from work to stain and add to the guest room (or somewhere else).

Side Note: Although I removed the wine bottle inserts from the crate, I did keep them in hope of reusing them elsewhere. Jordan and I are on the hunt for a large vintage card catalogue to put in the dining room to store our bottles of wine and bar/dining accessories. I would also like to build something to go on top using these inserts to display a few bottles.

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