Thursday, May 1, 2014

My $40 Nightstands Makeover Using Black Stain

I'm so excited to finally say that my bedroom furniture re-do is finally finished!  It's my first big project that I did and I was so happy to see that it turned out pretty good!  

I wanted to update my bedroom ( which is still, and probably always will be, under construction).  But I didn't want to get rid of my furniture because I had bought it when I first got married and the quality of the wood, according to my husband, was very good.  And frankly, I didn't want to spend all this money to replace my furniture.  Especially when I can use that money for new decor and other projects!  (wink, wink Mr. Husband!)

I knew the color scheme I wanted in my bedroom, and I knew I wanted my furniture to be black.  But I didn't want to paint it because I wanted some of the natural wood grain to show.  So I decided to stain it.

So now, the only problem I have is not wanting to refinish, stain, or paint everything in my house.  Lord, help my husband!  He's going to go insane!

Be prepared:  this post is pic heavy!  :)

So this was one of my nightstands before:

This picture makes me cringe a little, not gonna lie.  It was scratched, had some little dents, and had residue from tape all over it from when we moved into our house.  By the way, I tried everything to get that off and NOTHING worked!  So I knew this furniture had to go!

Here's the main supplies I used:

  • Classic Black Satin stain by Minwax -$12
  • Pre-Stain wood conditioner by Minwax- $16
  • Elmer's Stainable Wood Filler -$4
  • Foam brushes- $2
  • 100 & 150 grit sandpaper- $6
  • Palm sander (already had)
  • Steel wool (already had)
  • Two nightstands ( um, really?)

The Pre-Stain conditioner by Minwax was a super important step when staining my nightstands.  Apparently the wood is pine and stain doesn't take very well to pine.  (Of course it doesn't!  Because that would have made my life a bit easier.)  So this conditioner actually helped the stain stick to the wood.   The stain I used is Polyshades by Minwax in the color Classic Black Satin.  I wanted to use PolyShades because I was pretty much killing two birds with one stone.  Stain and Polyurethane in one step.  I probably wouldn't use this stain again because it was more of a paint like consistency than an actual stain. I also needed wood filler to fill in a few dents, deep scratches, and I was getting rid of these deep lines on the sides of the drawers.  ( Look at the picture, you'll see what I'm talking about. )

First things first.  I removed all the drawers and hardware and started to sand the nightstands using 100 grit sandpaper and a hand sander.  This step was a little time consuming because I had to get the finish off the dressers, so it took some time and a whole lot of sand paper.  After all the finish was off, I went back in with 150 grit sandpaper to smooth it all out.

 All clean and sanded!

 Next step for me was filling in those lines that were on the side of the drawer.  I wanted a nice clean look to the drawers and I just didn't like that particular "detail" on the drawer so I filled it in with Wood Filler. I also wanted one knob in the middle of the drawer instead of two on each drawer.  So I filled in the holes where the knobs were by placing some painters tape inside the drawer over the hole and filling it in with the filler.  To fill in the lines, I just put some filler on my finger and filled it in.  Isn't that what the professionals do?

I let it dry over night and then sanded the whole drawer down with 100 grit sandpaper.  Making sure that the wood filler was nice and smooth.  Then again with 150 grit.  

 Making sure my nightstands were clear of any dust or dirt, I wiped everything down with a damp clean cloth.   Now came the scary part for me.  It was time to stain them!

 Now normally when you stain, you pretty much slop it on and wipe it off.  That's not the case with PolyShades.  It doesn't wipe off.  (  I learned THAT the hard way.)  So I had to make sure to get the stain on with even and long strokes, and to do really thin coats instead of one thick heavy coat.  Here it is with the first coat on...

YIKES! At this point I wanted to either cry, throw up, or just haul these things to the curb.  I wasn't sure which one I wanted to do.  But despite the regret and thinking I made a huge mistake and this was not going as planned, I let them dry over night and started on the next coat.  

In order for the next coat of stain to stick, I wiped down the drawers and nightstands with steel wool just to smooth everything out and rough up the surface a little bit.  

 It took three thin coats to cover everything completely.

Now it was time to work on the hardware.  Trying to get away with spending as little money as possible on this project, I decided to use the same hardware it came with.  ( I'll replace them eventually.)

I removed the silver middle piece from the knob, leaving only this ugly wood "shell".

 Now, a normal person probably would have sanded and hand stained this knob.  But lucky for you, I'm not considered "normal" so I did things a little different.  I inserted a long screw driver into the bottom and actually dipped the knobs into the stain.  I dipped them about half way, leaving the bottom unfinished.  I let the excess drip off and then I placed them on some wax paper to dry ( on the unfinished side).  When they were dry I turned them over and dipped the unfinished part into the stain and placed it back on some wax paper to let that side dry.  This process could mean one of two things.  I'm either pretty smart or pretty lazy.  Not sure.

 I think this worked perfectly because there was no brush marks, and it was perfectly smooth.

I let everything dry completely, had my handy hubby drill some new holes for the hardware, and it was finally done!  For around $40 I had "new" furniture.  The nightstand made me uber happy.  (And the price made the hubby happy!)

Now to get some new decor for these fabulous little nightstands and phase one of *bedroom re-model* will be finished!

Keep checking back for my dresser makeover.  I 'm hoping it won't be that long of a post, but I can't make any promises.


  1. awesome awesome thank you so much for posting this and with so much detail!!! :)

  2. Polyshades are great. Because you don't have to do any sanding, just a good wipe down with a product such as "TSP" found in the paint department. Then if you have to do any fill in, just sand after with a fine sand paper and wipe down again. Then apply polyshade in the color of your chose. The wood colors are really great also. They are great to cover up an old piece that is in bad shape or to simply to change the color of wood. I love your night stand. I've done 2 nightstands to change the wood color..

    1. Wow thanks so much for the tips! I'm pretty new to the furniture re-do world so I didn't even know you didn't have to sand when you use polyshades. I'll keep that all in mind! Thanks so much for stopping by Karen :)

  3. I am going to do this and followed everything step by step. Can I ask you this? Should I avoid sanding? My piece overall is in good condition, just want it to be a different color.

  4. I am going to do this, step by step. Let me ask you, do I need to sand as the above person indicated you don't have to. I have TSP and can wipe it down.

    1. You don't have to sand but if the furniture isn't in great condition (like gashes, scratches, or dents) or has a top shiny layer, you might just want to sand enough to get that glossy finish off so the stain has something to stick to. :)

  5. Thank you for the post, it was very helpful. I feel much more confident in my project. By the way, love the Martha Peace book on the nightstand ;)