Achieving the Perfect Gray Wood Stain

Choosing the right shade of gray for your wood stain can be a tricky process but I do have a few tips to share with you that will help along the way.

The name of a stain color can be deceiving and the sample you see printed on a brochure or listed online can be very deceiving. Many "gray" or "charcoal" stains actually have a slight blue tint to them. I did not want mine to look blue so I had to do a bit of searching to find the right color.
It is best to look for your stain in store where you can see sample colors on actual pieces of wood. Please note that the wood you are starting with will affect the final color as well. For example, since I was working with un-treated un-painted white pine, which is a very porous wood, I needed to make sure to first apply a "pre-stain" to help prevent my actual stain from soaking in unevenly or blotchy.

Here I will share with you my list of supplies and how the process went.
I prepared my wood by lightly sanding with very fine sandpaper (depending on the condition of your wood you may need to do additional sanding). Wipe clean with damp cloth.

Using an old brush I applied the pre-stain following manufacturers directions. It went on clear and dried very quickly.

Almost immediately, I began brushing on the Cinder Stain (which was actually a stain and sealer in one) with a high quality stain brush.
Note: brush in the direction of your wood grain and keep a clean cloth (rag made from old white t-shirt is great) to wipe any runs or drips if necessary.

Multiple layers of stain will darken the final color. If you put your stain on too thickly it may be sticky, uneven and take longer to dry.    (patience & thin layers = better results)

*If your stain is not a stain and sealer in one you will likely want to finish with a clear protective top coat of polyeurothane, polycrylic, or finishing wax to protect your piece.

Clean your brushes right away and properly to make them last longer (with mineral spirits or paint thinner following manufacturers directions).

P.S. I love the GoJo soap for cleaning my hands  (helps to wear rubber gloves while staining too!)

Here are a few pics during & after the staining process.

Here again is the final piece! A gorgeous hand-crafted bed with the perfect gray stain.
I think I have found my new favorite stain color!

And the little boy this bed belongs to thought it was pretty cool so that made my day! His grandfather did an excellent job building it and I feel privileged that they asked me to do the stain work.

More Ways to Use Soda Can Roses.....for Teacher Gifts!

A friend of mine asked if I could make some pens with soda can roses on them and a couple of sets of soda can rose magnets that she could give as Teacher Gifts. I thought that was a great idea so I got a bunch of my supplies out to see what I could come up with for her.

Tip: this time on the roses I cut my circles out and lightly sanded them with sandpaper on both sides and spray painted them before cutting and quilling them into roses.

Pens: I used basic Bic pens with the roses hot glued to the top.
Tip: I also used the very end of the quilled rose to bend down slightly and wrap around the pen. I secured it with masking tape.
The entire pen is wrapped in coordinating  washi tape. Love this stuff! You can find all different colors and designs online or at local craft stores.

Magnet Sets: The roses are glued to strong round magnets with Weldbond glue. I thought it would be cute to use soup can lids as the holder for the magnet sets. I also drilled two small holes in the lid so that I could bend a small hanger out of craft wire to hang from jump rings for display. I love how it came out! I tied coordinating ribbon and jute rope around each hanger to finish.