Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall Decorating Project: The Magic of Stain

[This is a revised version of a couple of fall decorating posts I did last year, which I thought would be nice to repeat for this time of year]

One of my favorite fall decor items is gourds. A few years ago, I stopped at a yard sale at a farm in East Texas, and bought several dried gourds in various shapes and sizes. I took them home, wiped them off with damp paper towels, and then stained them with Minwax stain in several different finishes. I also used oil paints on some of them to add more color.

At that time, I wasn't blogging, so I didn't take a "before" picture, but here is the way they looked after I stained them.

The colors are perfect for fall, and I use them on my mantel with vines, berries, and leaves ...

I also have some on the bottom of my Welsh Dresser in our breakfast area ...

If you decide to try this project, be sure to select gourds with character ... that is, unusual shapes with lots of different colors and patterns. The more interesting they are in their natural state, the prettier they will be after they're stained.

The best thing about working with stain is that you really can't make a mistake. If one finish is too light, you can just go over it with a darker stain until the desired effect is achieved. Also, if the gourd has a lot of color and interesting patterns, you may want to just spray it with polyurethane to seal it and not stain it at all.

I use paper towels (be sure to wear gloves because the stains are oil-based), and just "dab or rub" the stains on the gourds.

Another great staining project is reviving outdoor concrete or resin decor that has faded. Like this little fellow who lives on a rock beside our waterfall.

Here he is after his revival ...
Doesn't he look happier?

Stain also works wonders on concrete urns or statuary. I have a pair of urns in my courtyard and, as you can see in the "before" picture below, the finish had faded and looked awful.

I stained the urns with Minwax Wood Stain in "Special Walnut," which gives them a rich "antiqued" look.

I usually do my urns about once a year, because the stain does fade after a while. This technique works on anything made of concrete or resin, like birdbaths, fountains, and statuary.


Tonja said...

I agree with you about the stain. It just seems to help anything it is used on! Have you ever tried shoe polish? It comes in that bottle with the applicator and is a little easier. Had not thought of trying on the concrete pieces. Good idea!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

This is very helpful, Janie. Thanks much! Your projects all look great, and the little frog is much happier! :-)



Beth at Aunties said...

I love how the stain adds such a rich element to the gourds. In fact to your beautiful urns and frog also. Thanks for all the helpful tips.
Your decor is beautiful.:)


Donna said...

Great idea! I have many dried gourds I have had for years. I am going to give it a try. And the planters I painted several of mine this year - I never thought of staining them.
Thanks for sharing.