Sadly, this is what it looked like for close to a year:
Then I sanded it one day in October since I had bought the stain and poly the day after I bought the bench almost a year ago:
Then I stained it and cried when my polyshade did not work as it promised to. So I sanded again and again and again. Then I called Dad, who politely reminded me no Hansen should ever be using a Polyshade for ANY peice of wood, and reverted to regular stain and polyurethane.
And while the stain dried, I made toilet-paper-roll wall art (idea found here: http://www.designspongeonline.com/2009/11/diy-project-toilet-paper-roll-wall-art.html).
Then one glorious day, almost a year after purchasing the bench and stain, a month after sanding and re-sanding and a week's worth of staining, it's done!
Look at that poly shine:Pillows were purchased at Pier 1 with coupons :D. Oh how we do love coupons!
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