I am so crazy pumped about this makeover, you guys!! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do, since, oh, um FOREVER, and I finally just went for it last weekend. We hadn’t had a Saturday morning at home with zero sports in months, so we took advantage of those precious couple hours before the weekend kicked into full gear – the hubs cut the grass and did long overdue mulching and yardwork…and I started staining our banister?! It’s funny – I didn’t even know I was going to do this project when I woke up that morning, and by 9:30, I had a brush in my hand and not even an hour later, I was all done! It was crazy quick and crazy painless – and CRAZY easy. I have no idea what took me so long…
Let me introduce you to this lil’ beauty right here:
It’s called General Finishes Java Gel Stain. I had to buy it online, because they don’t sell it around here. I’d read about it on the interwebs quite a few times – and even told clients about it when they wanted to redo their oak banisters. It had an awesome reputation as far as ease and application, and I was living with a RED banister over here. Ok, ok, maybe not red red, but red enough that I thought about stripping it down and restaining on a daily basis.
Here it is (er, was…)
Oh, but the mess and headache that would be stripping and staining a banister, right?! Ugh. You can understand why I was in no hurry to tackle that project…
Until I read about this gel stain stuff!
Barely any time and mess at all, and now I have THIS!
(Just ignore the hot mess in the family room and the paint samples on the wall and the skinny baseboards and crown molding – we actually have the trim in our laundry room waiting to redo alllll of that…it’s just that whole finding time issue…not enough hours in the day…and you know I don’t have the patience to wait and share this banister makeover until that’s all done! 😉
Now, we had some SHINY banisters. I was skeptical about this stuff, because I had heard it’s so amazing that you hardly have to do any prep and sanding – but as I said: SHINY. Lots of poly on here. But I just grabbed a piece of sandpaper (150 grit), and spent just a few minutes roughing it up.
Then I just wiped off the dust, and here’s where it gets tricky, friends:
I opened the can.
I stirred it.
I took out a small foam brush.
And I started painting.
Yes, you should prep your work space, yes, you should tape around your spindles, on the steps, etc, yes, you should wear gloves, yes, you should lay down dropcloths to protect your carpets and floors. You totally should. But sometimes I just get too excited and would rather clean up at the end that take the time to prep in the beginning;) But I also knew that our spindles needed a paint job something awful, so I didn’t care about getting stain on them. (You can see in this pic the nail holes that we never even filled!).
Here’s a close-up shot of my messy stain job and how I fixed it with a small flat brush (once the gel stain was dry):
Worked like a charm. Then I painted the rest of the spindles too, to freshen them up, but they were already white so it was no biggie.
IT. LOOKS. SO. GOOD.
I am blown away at how easy this was. If you give this a go – here are a few things to know: There’s a full day of dry time involved – so be careful about that. We all kept grabbing the banister out of habit;) You don’t realize how much you hold onto that thing until you’re not supposed to! It’s not like it’s super wet, but it does stay kinda tacky for about 24 hours. So maybe do it in the morning and spend the rest of the day elsewhere! Also, it’s stinky, so it’s great to do on a beautiful day when you can open up all the windows.
I only did one coat, and I had read a lot of blogs that needed two – but maybe it had to do with my darker stain to begin with. The ones I read about were a lot of light oak banisters. When you open it up, don’t expect to see a watery stain consistency – this stuff is thick – think chocolate pudding:) And a little goes a really long way. I bought a pint and barely made a dent in it. Really, the only thing I worried about was making sure there weren’t any major globs anywhere, that was about it. The rest was smooth sailing.
I didn’t put anything over it – just the gel stain and that was it. I’ll do a follow-up months from now to let you all know how it’s holding up, but this seems like it’ll hold up great…we shall see.
One more before and after shot, just ‘cuz…
Now if I could just find an easy, non-messy way to re-stain the floors a darker color….;)