Hey all! Hope you had a lovely holiday weekend! We played and worked hard — and I finished up the DIY bathroom vanity that I shared with you last week.
I started the staining process (the shelf boards weren’t attached yet — I worked on those separately and then installed).
I work with Minwax occasionally to share how to bring stained wood projects into your home and I knew this one was going to be a great fit. I started with my go to, the pre-stain conditioner first:
It helps to prepare the wood for staining — it’s such a quick process it takes no time at all. I use a foam brush to apply:
You don’t even need to wipe it off, as long at you don’t brush it on too thick.
I immediately started staining after that step with my new favorite color, Provincial
It is such a pretty stain and doesn’t look nearly as red (at least on pine) in real life as it does in that photo above. It’s a nice in between brown tone.
I usually use a foam brush to apply the stain as well, but when you’re working with vertical surfaces that’s a little trickier. Applying with a rag is a bit messier (use gloves for sure), but I think goes on quicker. I did two coats on the top of the vanity:
If you use a brush to apply stain, you’ll need to wipe down any excess a few minutes after. When you use a rag you’re wiping off that extra stain as you go so you save a step.
Staining is such an easy DIY project and I LOVE the instant gratification it gives. 🙂 It’s so fun to see wood come alive when you work with stain. I always like to share a few staining tips with you that I think are important:
- You need to give yourself enough time to complete one surface at a time. If you start and stop (and let the stain dry) you will see where you left off. Always leave a “wet edge” as you work — meaning keep moving across the surface with the wet brush.
- It is important to let each coat dry well. If you add another coat too fast it will gunk up and take forever to dry. I usually only do one coat but you can add more for a deeper tone.
- Gloves are always recommended! Even if you don’t use a rag to apply you’ll need one to wipe off excess stain afterwards.
- If you can stain outside, great! If not, keep windows open or a fan running. And if you notice a weird smell coming from your dryer or oven after you stain, check out this post. 🙂
I did the top and then started the bottom part of the vanity…and the two pine pieces we used weren’t staining the same. I kind of figured this would happen because the 2x4s were a little rougher than the select pine I used for the rest of it. The 2×4’s were looking more red.
But I had a plan! It added about $50 to the cost of the vanity, but I’m still coming in at less than $250 for the whole thing so I’m thrilled.
I had some pine boards mitered down so we could wrap the legs. Here’s a reminder of how they looked:
Instead of the 2×4’s, those are now covered in the nicer wood to match the rest. I also changed the shelf a bit and I’ll show you that below. I didn’t want the cut ends of the shelf pieces showing because I knew they’d stain up so much darker than the rest. The cut sides always absorb more stain.
I grabbed a lawn trash bag and set up on the floor to condition and stain each board for the shelf individually:
Like I said, using a rag makes the process SO much faster than a foam brush. It’s just faster to wipe it on and you eliminate taking off the excess stain after.
I went ahead and installed the slats for the shelf when the stain dried and got ready for my next step. I wanted to use a polyurethane that would hold up to the water that will inevitably get all over the countertop. I chose the Helmsman indoor/outdoor urethane
I used when I refinished the potting bench
I did two coats over the whole vanity and will probably do one more to the top. Between a good poly and lots of caulk around the sinks, the wood counter should hold up fine.
You can use a fine grit sandpaper or steel wool in-between coats of poly, but I’ve found my new trick works just as well or better:
Yes, just paper bags! I shared that trick here
. It knocks down an rough spots but doesn’t create a cloudy look that sandpaper can sometimes create. It’s especially great for a final sanding after you’re done. Love it!
Here’s a look at the finished project! Well, minus the faucets and mirrors and other finishing touches:
Crossing my fingers the faucets will go in today! So much progress lately. 😁😁 I finally feel like we’re in the home stretch, even though there’s still a ton left to do.
I found the sinks here
— I thought they were a great deal! (I purchased these drain stoppers
to go with the sinks.) I LOVE how they look. I moved them up towards the front of the vanity a bit to make washing hands/face more comfortable:
Finding faucets in stock that are tall enough was a little more difficult. I’ll share my picks with you soon.
I only wrapped the front legs because you really won’t see the back ones when the baskets and stuff are sitting on the shelf:
You can see here how the slats now nestle behind the front piece. I love this — it streamlines it a bit more, and as I mentioned, the ends of the slats would have been much darker.
When I wrapped the legs I considered painting the vanity white for a hot second. I thought it would look good with white on the bottom and a stained top, and it would! But I’m so glad I went ahead with the stain. It really gives this room some warmth. I love stained wood in contrast with the dark tile and the white accents that will go throughout the room as well.
Here’s a before and after of the vanity and a peek at the shower tile that was finished up this morning:
Still have to grout the shower and then get hardware installed. I’m pretty sure we’ll have a fully functioning bathroom again by the end of this week. I usually jinx myself when I say those things out loud so we’ll see. I’m fully expecting a huge disaster now. 🙂
It will function, but as I mentioned, there are quite a few things left on the to do list. There will be two lights instead of one and I’ve got a fun background in mind for behind the mirrors. Then the wall treatment throughout most of the room, door trim, drywall finishing and repainting a couple walls and ceiling. I can’t wait to get to the decorating part!
This may be the last time I share the bathroom until I’m finished, but who knows. It won’t be completed for another couple of weeks so we’ll see. I am just SO thrilled it doesn’t look like this anymore! 🙂
It is coming together just as I envisioned and I couldn’t be happier!
Affiliate links included for your convenience!
This project was sponsored by Minwax but all experiences and opinions are my own. I only work with products and brands I know and love!