DIY Nightstand Makeover with Java Gel Stain

IMG_2877_1This week I tried a new product that I had been hearing so much about, Java Gel Stain from General Finishes. I was so excited to pick this up at Sweet Clover over the weekend and see what all the buzz was about, and I thought this ugly pair of nightstands that were sitting in my garage would be the perfect beginning project. IMG_2823_1Tommy picked these up. I wasn’t thrilled about them. I didn’t really see the potential, and I had to change out the hardware, which would require filling the existing and drilling new holes, so I kind of avoided tackling them. But I always like to try new products on small items, so I decided to try them out.

I started out by giving the top wood a light sanding. This gel stain can adhere to most surfaces without having to sand it down to the natural wood, which is always a plus to me. I hate sanding off the thick top coat on old pieces. The trade off with the light sanding is you don’t see the natural wood grain very well, if at all. Next time I use this stain I will most likely sand down to the natural wood to see how it works there. I put the first coat on, just brushing a light coating on with a sponge brush. I was pretty pleased with the results. IMG_2833_1I may have been able to pull off just one coat, but there were some pretty rough spots on the top that you could still see a difference in coverage. I decided to go with two.

While the top was drying, I started on filling the existing hardware holes. Or rather, Tommy started filling them in. I generally let him take those projects while I focus on the painting, because, well, I just don’t like doing it. We used a plastic wood, which dries quickly and paints over well. IMG_2836_1I also use a butter knife to spread it because I always loose the actually tool we should use. I have a stash of butter knives I use for everything from opening paint cans to screwdriver stand ins. They’re plentiful at thrift stores for pretty much nothing, so, I improvise with them often.

After Tommy filled the holes, he laid down on the couch and exclaimed, “Well, my work is done!”. Then he told me to take his picture for the blog. He can be a real ham sometimes. Also, don’t you love the bear pants? (We often spend the weekend in Deep Creek, MD with a group of friends in a cabin named “Bearadise”, so we kind of have a thing for bear related items. My best friend once gave me a bear toilet paper dispenser and I used it for nearly a year).IMG_2847_1After the plastic wood was dried, I sanded it down until it was flush and smooth with the rest of the drawer. Then I measured the center of the drawers and drilled new holes for my smaller, single bolt hardware. I don’t have any pictures of this because I did this alone and I couldn’t hold the drill and the camera at the same time. Sorry all, but yay! I used the drill all by myself and didn’t ruin the piece.

Then I finished the piece off with three coats of General Finishes Milk Paint Lamp Black. I didn’t distress it because not only did I want it to look more modern, I also had that ugly yellow finish underneath it, and didn’t want that to peep through. I sealed the piece with General Finishes Top Coat in Matte. Lamp Black is so touchy when I wax it, too much lint and streaking, I like to use a top coat on pieces done in Lamp Black now.

I think they turned out really cute! I was really happy with the ease of use and the final product with the General Finishes Java Gel Stain.IMG_2854_1IMG_2865_1And how cute is this hardware?! I think it adds just a little fun to the piece. IMG_2863_1I have a matching nightstand to complete the pair, which I will definitely get done soon as well and take them both to Sweet Clover for the special October 4th sale!


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