Friday, June 19, 2015

How to Stain and Finish a Rustic Kitchen Island (IKEA GROLAND)

The IKEA GROLAND in all its naked birch glory

Counter space is a luxury in city apartments. In our kitchen, the dish rack has dibs on the only actual built-in countertop, which measures approximately one square foot. So, where do we prep and eat all the food we make? Enter IKEA GROLAND.

Since we aren't the handiest DIY-ers, we did some research and found this helpful blog post from The Inspired Room. The GROLAND is sold as unfinished, but we envisioned a more polished look. Staining the top a deeper brown preserved the rustic quality of the wood grain. We painted the legs and grid white to match our bar stools. The project took us only a couple of days, and we were ecstatic with the results.

All the Minwax products are the water based version, not oil based. Just keep them consistent.
1) Protect your floor with a big plastic tarp (sold next to the paint and brushes in hardware stores). Sand down all the surfaces with sandpaper (doesn't have to be super fine grit) and wipe off the dust with a rag.

2) Apply Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to the table top and edges according to the directions on the can. Wait 15 minutes and wipe off any excess with a rag.

3) Within two hours of applying the conditioner, apply Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain in Jacobean (or whatever color you want) according to the directions on the can. It's REALLY IMPORTANT to apply it in one direction to avoid streaks. Wait 20 minutes after applying and wipe off any excess with a rag. 

4) After four to six hours lightly sand the surface and apply a second coat of the stain. Let it dry overnight. 

The day after applying the stain

5) Apply Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish according to the directions on the can. Let dry 24 hours.

6) Apply mineral oil (IKEA sells it and calls it SKYDD) so the countertop is food safe.

7) Paint the legs and grid surface. A little sample can of white paint from a hardware store was plenty. The good thing about water-based paint is that it rubs off metal easily so you can paint with abandon (not worrying about getting it on the rails.) 

The grid was a bit tricky to cover because of the grooves, so the technique we used involved squishing the paintbrush into the creases rather than painting over them.  

We didn't apply finish to this part. It's supposed to look rustic, remember?

The finished product

The side where we have s-hooks holding up our scissors, vegetable peelers, Microplane, knife sharpener, can opener, bottle opener, measuring cups, metal spoons, spatulas, ladles, ricer, meat fork, whisks, mandoline, and pot holders

The side where the bar stools go. We haven't put up a knife rack yet, so our knives are all in that wooden bowl. Sharpening stones are in those dirty-looking boxes.

Side view of the extra GRUNDTAL rail we installed for kitchen towels

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