Bookshelf Makeover with Minwax

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me by Minwax, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

When I moved earlier this year, there were several book shelves left in the home that I was able to keep there for my own use.  My previous home had a very large built-in bookshelf, so I was going to need to find something to replace that.  These bookshelves were just what I needed.  Only problem….they were awful looking…beat up and ugly.  Thankfully to the people at Minwax, I was able make these bookshelves in to something usable and actually decent looking.

Minwax before

I decided that I was going to eventually put them in my bedroom and so I wanted to stain them to match the darker laminate flooring that is there.  But before any of the staining could happen I needed to get these shelves into staining shape.

The first thing I had to do was remove any of the old paint, stain, polyurethane, whatever was on these old things.  Truth be told, I had no idea what was on them.  There was bare particle board pieces, trim that seemed to have polyurethane on it and goodness knows what else.  I needed to get it down to the bare bones.  

The first step was to use the Minwax Paint & Varnish Remover.  You definitely need rubber gloves for this and a very well ventilated area.  This stuff does not smell good.  But I can say that it definitely did the job.  I was able to remove most of whatever was on those shelves on the first try.  Be sure to have a ton of drop clothes down thru this whole process, it does get messy.

Once I got it down to the bare wood and because I really had no idea what kind of wood it was made of (there were several different types), I decided that I would be smart to use the Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to prep the wood.  This is a very watery consistency and dripped quite a bit, so was glad I had everything protected and had lots of rags and paper towels on hand.

Once that had dried, I was ready to start staining.  One thing I learned very quickly is that I needed a lot and I mean, a lot of patience wit this project.  It wasn’t like I could continue from one step to the next without having to wait hours or even overnight for each step to dry.  I was happy to see that the stain color that I chose was going to match well with my floors.

After 2 coats, I had reached the color that I wanted.  I probably could have done a 3 coat but I was afraid it would go too dark and be too overpowering in the room.  Once that had dried, with was time to apply the polyurethane and seal in the stain and finish up the project.

I wanted the shelves not to have too glossy of a finish to them, so only 2 coats was needed to give it the look I wanted again.  Again, I had to play the waiting game to make sure they were completely dry to put them back into place and start using them.  I was really pleased with how they came out.  Definitely a huge improvement from what we started with.

I may have complained a little (ok, a lot) about the waiting, it was only because I have no patience and the end product was well worth the wait.  And the products were very easy to work with, did exactly what they claimed they would do which is a huge plus in my eyes.  I don’t have a lot to spend on decorating my home, so when I take on a project such as this, I want to ensure it does what it says it will.

The only problem with this whole project was that by the time I had finished these shelves, I only had them in my room for about a day before we reconfigured my living room/office area and they ended up being used there and now house my office supplies and one is dedicated solely showcasing my son’s Lego creations.


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