I started the project a few months ago, but couldn't release it until now to correspond with when the Country Living issue was released. I've been bursting at the seams, but now I can tell all!
Minwax asked me to use a newer product line of theirs called Express Color. I had never used that particular product line before, so it took a little bit to familiarize myself with the product. It's always smart to sample your product first on some scraps before applying it to your piece. They liked some of my other projects that I had done, like my Stained Tree Side Table and my Fuschia Framed Chalkboard, and decided they wanted to mesh the two projects together. They also wanted to showcase a few different shades of their Express Color line. So here's what the finished product looked like...
You will need...
-Sandpaper (Fine grit)
-Paint Brush or Foam Brush
-Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
-Edge-Lock Painter's Tape
-Cutting Mat (for use with Exacto Knife)
-Hard Plastic Scraper
-Minwax® Express Color™ - Mahogany
-Minwax® Express Color™ - Pecan
-Minwax® Express Color™ - Emerald
-Minwax® Express Clear™ - High Gloss
-Cotton Cloth (for Express Color application)
-Sandpaper (Fine grit)
-High Quality Paint Brush
-Krylon Chalkboard Paint
For Attaching Boards to Frames:
-Short Wood Screws
Select your piece to stain.
You can choose an existing piece that you'd like to refurbish, or build a piece from scratch. For this project, I chose to purchase the lumber and have the frames built for me at a local art shop. I had something very specific in mind for this project. They had to be flat and wide enough to accommodate a taped design and the right type of wood to accept stain well. And, since we were under a deadline, I couldn't wait for one to show up at my usual local thrift shop. So I decided to have them made. This was after a lot of toiling, reading numerous blogs, and watching numerous YouTube videos on how to make a frame. I had never built anything before and decided that this was not the time for experimenting. I had finally found some lumber I thought would work at Lowe's (after a lot of searching). I actually used oak door jamb legs. They already had a more finished look to them than the regular wood in the lumber section (although I'm sure those would've worked just fine). They were also a bit cheaper and lighter weight (since I would be shipping them, and also a bit easier to hang on a wall being lighter weight). I took the wood into National Art Shop, my local art shop, and they had them made for me in no time at a nominal price.
Tip: Things to consider when selecting your piece to stain: the type of wood (hardwoods like oak stain better than softer woods like pine); the surface of the piece (in order to tape off a design to stain, the surface will need to be relatively smooth); and the quality of the wood (you'll want to select a solid wood piece, not laminate or particle board).
Sand your piece.
Treat the wood.
Cut your tape pieces.
Apply your cut tape to shape your design.
Seal those edges!
Wearing plastic/rubber gloves, use a clean cotton cloth to apply your choice of Minwax Express Color. For the tree frame, I used Mahogany for the background, then Pecan for the inside of the tree (applied later). I used solid Emerald for the other frame.
Tip: I unscrew the cap of the Express Color tube to have more control over the flow.
Tip: Apply more coats for a richer and more even color.
Tip: Stain dries quickly, so apply evenly.
...and 4 coats of Emerald on the other.
Reveal your masterpiece!
Fill in for a two-toned product.
For the blackboards...
1. Sand a thin piece of wood (I used oak).
2. Paint two coats of primer followed by at least two coats of blackboard paint. (I used Krylon Chalkboard Paint by Sherwin Williams and had great results.)
3. Follow the instructions on the back of the paint can to condition the board with chalk after it is dried.
Tip: Cut your piece of wood an inch larger than the inside of the frame on each side to have plenty of room to attach it to the frame.