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Now, head back to your table. Grab that stain you bought from the Denton Home Depot, a pair of rubber gloves (trust me, you want the gloves), AND a clean rag. I am going to stress a cut up t-shirt. In my opinion, these make the PERFECT rags. They are smooth, and for the staining part, you do NOT want to use a towel material that will leave fuzz behind. If you don't have a t-shirt, go through the husband's drawer and find that one shirt you have been begging him to throw out. Now is your chance…because you need it. Now, don't shake that can of stain, I personally SLOWLY tip it over back and forth two or three times. You don't want to create bubbles by shaking it. Now, open the lid. There are two ways to do this. If you have a paintbrush of some kind or those sponge brushes, feel free to use it for this part. You don't have to; you can use the rag just as easily. What you want to do here is you want to cover the table with a layer of the stain. Don't be stingy with your stain. The point is to make sure it covers the surface, this doesn't need to be done neatly. The trick to this part…the longer you let this stain sit, the darker your wood will come out. So you get to determine the darkness. I usually leave my stain on for about four minutes. So by the time I finish covering it, I only wait about a minute, and I start back where I started (because it will take only a few minutes to apply this to the table). Here is where you take a new rag (t-shirt), and you work the stain. Take that rag and wipe that stain off. Here is where you want to make sure you go the same direction. You might need more than one cloth (depending on how thick you put that stain on). The point with this step is to wipe all the excess stain off. It will be much lighter now than what it looked before you started wiping, but here is where the beauty begins peeking through. See those grains? Oh so pretty. Wipe that table so that it looks dry at the touch. Now, this is where you learn about patience. Walk away. In a few hours, come back and take a peek. Do you like the color? Do you want it darker? If you want it darker, do the same thing all over again…leaving it on for the same amount of time (because you already have one layer, so doubling that will make it twice as dark). On my first table, I did two coats of stain. On the second table, I did one. Usually, one does it for me. When you get to where you are happy with the stain color, you need to wait at least 24 hours before you put that finish on. Well, you don't have to. You can probably wait a few hours, but I always wait until the next day. Part of my love for these projects is it has taught me patience like no other. Now, when you apply the finish, this you need to apply with a paint brush or a paint sponge. This needs to be brushed on evenly…this is your finish, so use one stroke from end to end…this is an art. Take your time, do it right. It might take you ten minutes. Make sure to go around all the edges too (because those drip marks will show). Sometimes when you hit the sides, you mess up the top stoke…you will get this down. I've done this so many times now, that I can do it in less than three minutes. Just be prepared, the first time will be slow because you need to learn the art of a single stroke from end to end without lifting the brush. Now…walk away for at least 24 hours. I don't care what the can says. On this part, wait 24 hours. DO IT. Come back the next day and do it again (the finish coat). I would not do any less than two coats of finish. On the first table project, I did three, on the second table project, I did four. The more layers of finish you have, the more protected your table will be. If you live with a bunch of hoodlums who don't know how to use a coaster, you need to do at least three, if not more. Each time you add a layer of finish, you are taking away a layer of roughness. It will get smoother the more layers you stick on. Look at this beautiful thing you created!! If you want to get creative, instead of using a stain on the legs, you can use a paint color. A popular one now is the gray chalk color…go for it. It's your table. Make it yours. Because I have a kid-free home, I don’t have to do layer over layer of finish. If you aren't so lucky? Pile that finish on!


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- Your Top North Texas Real Estate Agent - Brenda Debus




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