Last week, we shared with you the new, large, porch swing we found for a great price (bonus! it’s an extra 10% off through the 4th with code OUTDOOR10)–the only problem being the wood was a little too orange for our taste. We polled our readers in this post and while the majority in the poll voted in favor of painting the swing black, almost everyone that commented made a strong point for staining it the same color as the front door–something we hadn’t originally thought of! We loved the idea so much–especially since if it didn’t look right, we could always paint over it–that we went for it.
We couldn’t be happier with the new, rich wood tone! And the process was relatively easy. No sanding. No priming. Heck, I even sprayed on a sealant. Here’s how we did it, but first–remember what it used to look like?
Orange city. With traditional stain, you would likely need to sand and apply a wood conditioner for the best results, but we used a gel stain for this application. Not only to avoid those things, but we wanted a very even looking result, and since it would be easiest to actually stain it while it was still hanging (no propping up required), a gel stain made a lot of sense since it is thick enough that it doesn’t run or drip–perfect for vertical surfaces.
I brought home the sample card of all of Minwax’s gel stain colors from the hardware store and found that their newest stain color, “Coffee” was the closest match to our front door. When you first open gel stain, it’s going to be pretty lumpy with thin liquid around the outside. Stir! Stir! Stir! Until it gets to be a uniform, creamy consistency.
Because the bench didn’t have a lacquer, or slick finish, there is no sanding required. But, if you want to try this on shiny cabinets, or your glossy stair banister–it wouldn’t hurt to go over a high gloss surface with a medium grit sandpaper first.
It’s the easiest product in the world to use, but if you’re working outside on a hot day, like we were–you do have to work pretty fast because it will dry on there quickly. I brushed it on evenly, and although the directions said to wait 3 minutes, I waited only 30 seconds-ish before wiping it off with an old towel. Repeat.
The results are instant and very rewarding. I love seeing the wood’s character shine through right away. One pleasant surprise was I didn’t bother to tape off the chains or screws and the stain easily wiped off of those–win!
After we were done staining the entire bench (we only did one coat), we let it sit a full 24 hours before applying a topcoat sealer. Although we had some of our favorite Polycrylic in the garage, the instructions said for outdoor use, it’s better to apply this Helmsman Spar Urethane. It protects against weather, sun damage, etc., and is made to go right over gel stain. They had a traditional brush on pint, but also a spray on version—and with all the cracks and crevices, I absolutely went for the spray on route. Three light, even coats about 10 minutes apart and it was done!
Even though the swing sits under a covered area, the two larger back cushion pillows are outdoor (they come in so many colors, and are so versatile–we have some in navy on the deck, too!) and I sprayed the tassel pillow with outdoor furnishings Scotchguard for protection, too!
By the looks of it, I’m not the only one that’s happy about the swing. :) Okay, the girls were out here non-stop even before we stained it–kids don’t really care about that kind of stuff–but truly, the swing has been such a great addition to the front of our home and now that it looks like it belongs there, I’m enjoying it even more.