Thursday, November 3, 2011

Poly-Stain DIY and Shelves for Madeline's Room

Remember that $12 remaining in "Madeline's room fund"?  I finally got around to spending it.  Well…adding a little to it, then spending that.

My #1 child (as in birth order) is my #1 pack-rat.  She collects everything and feels it all worthy of displaying.  Naturally, the last of the money for her room should be spent on shelving to display all this wonderful crap….err treasure.

I asked Zac if he could build a couple shelves for $12.  He said he could, but he was out-of-town for the week and I wasn't in the mood to wait.  A quick trip to IKEA's shelving department and I came home with the perfect solution for Maddie's "treasure storage".  They did cost $18, but that's what's nice about being in charge of the finances.  No one to answer to. :)

I started with two Ekby Tryggve shelves at $3 each and four Ekby Valter brackets at $3 a piece.  

My favorite method of staining is combining an oil-based polyurethane and a stain to make my own poly-stain in one.   (Water based poly also works, but I prefer the hardness and durability of oil).  Minwax sells a line of premixed poly-stains, but then you're limited to their colors.  Using a poly-stain saves on time and making your own allows the flexbility of creating your own custom colors.  (I mixed two stains together for this table here to achieve the desired color).

1.  I slowly mixed in ebony stain with the polyurethane until I reached my desired color depth.  There are many ways of applying poly-stain and mine happens to be wiping it on with a lint free rag.  Very simple, absolutely technique free.

2.  Lay out whatever it is you are staining.  I was using oil products, so I started at my kitchen counter just long enough to snap a few pictures and then moved to the back patio for better ventilation.

3.  Start wiping on your stain.  Start and one end and work your way to the other in long horizontal strokes.

4.  Then I stained my brackets.

If you're using this technique on something that is going to get a bit of wear and tear, you'll want to repeat the process.  Once you've reached the color depth you're looking for use only the poly so you don't end up with a darker color than you'd like.

Find your studs and install.

And style.

Madeline helped me style the shelves with things that are important to her and that she feels are display worthy.

I wanted the shelves to be low enough on the wall that she can easily reach her books from her bed for nightly reading time.

The last thing on the docket for Maddie's room is finishing up her gallery wall.  You can see the other posts on her room here, here and here.


  1. Hahahaha...I love it! My eldest is the same way! They look fabulous.

  2. Thanks for the staining tutorial. I find it kind of overwhelming, but this is a great guide!

  3. I am sure I could search your blog to find the answer, but where did you get her twin bed? I also love the 2 in your other little girls room.

  4. Marianne, I purchased her antique spindle bed from a friend for $25! My other girls' bed, I purchased at a secondhand furniture store.

  5. Very cute! I'm absolutely LOVING those curtains too btw! I'm new to your blog and will definitely be back!

  6. Love these shelves! Nicely styled :) The silhouette is the perfect touch.