Have a chair that needs a facelift? Wondering what to do with it? Here are a few simple and easy steps to rejuvenate that chair. This particular set of chairs I purchased at an antique shop a few years back for $25 each. I fell in love with the cane back and all the beautiful wood curves….It is amazing the character and life that a few coats of paint can add to an old, worn-out chair!
The chair on the right has only has two coats paint on it. The chair on the left is completed with two additional layers of metallic paint and light distressing.
For the base paint, I used Clark + Kensington’s “Winter Chill -5064” color, which I purchased at my local Ace Hardware store. It was my first time using it, and was very impressed with its quality and coverage. It makes for easy living when your paint already has primer built into it :) To apply the paint to a clean dry surface, I did use our little home sprayer I bought from Amazon for about $30. I have used it on several projects and absolutely love it. The ratio of paint to water I use (for this sprayer) is three parts paint, one part water. That being said, I think this particular chair would have turned out just as well by hand brushing the paint on.
Basic supplies needed: 220-320 grit sandpaper, silver craft paint, metallic gold paint, clear polyurethane, and three clean lint-free rags (one for each of the different products above). Optional: tack cloth to clean off sanding dust
Let me break down the steps I used after base paint is applied. First, I spent several minutes sanding the paint where the paint had ran or looked rough. Wipe thoroughly with a tack cloth or rag afterward. Using a soft lint free rag, I loosely applied the silver craft paint by rubbing the entire chair, but not thoroughly, meaning I didn’t want to cover every bit of the base paint. After letting it dry for a few hours, I then applied the water based gold metallic paint with a soft rag, using the same method, except covering even less of the painted surface. I would say I spent just about 20-30 minutes on each of these last two steps.
After all three layers of paint were on, I let the chair dry for two days, although one day may have been adequate drying time. Next, I did light hand distressing with sand paper. I confess, I used 400 grit sandpaper because that is what I had. I had to press harder than I normally would have. Definitely take the time (that I didn’t) to get 220 or 320 grit. The process will go more smoothly and be less laborious :) This distressing step (it wasn’t *that* distressing actually – haha, that is 5:00 am humor), probably took 30 minutes. Lastly, I used a soft lint free rag to apply a clear coat of polyurethane. Voila, the painting process is complete!
Confession time – I actually tried to reupholster this chair myself. That would have made for a funny YouTube video; well, maybe not funny, just kinda sad. After a few frustrating attempts, I called a local upholstery store I have used before, Durkin Upholstery. They do an amazing job and their prices are excellent, and they provide very fast turnaround. If you are fortunate enough to live around Portland, Oregon, I highly recommend them. Otherwise, talk to your friends to find their equivalent in your area (outstanding work at an affordable price).
So if you love to go antiquing or search out a good chair bargain at Yard Sales like I do you, or you already have a chair you want to redo, this might be just the perfect DIY to rejuvenate that gently loved piece of furniture, turning it from “okay” to “fabulous!” in just a few steps. Happy painting, and may your chair be beautiful by design!