DIY Wooden Chair Rehab

diy herringbone

DIY Herringbone Chair

You guys, it’s just about a miracle- I actually have a project to share with you today. I know, I know, it’s been a while. Let’s just go ahead and blame summertime for that and not my laziness.

Anyways- on with the show! I’ve got a sweet chair to show you.

The night of my bachlorette party we passed a busted up old chair on the sidewalk while we were walking to the train station. So obviously I grabbed it and put it in my trunk. I have a chair hoarding problem.

before collage

The chair was a hot mess- dinged, scratched, a little broken, and it stunk like cigarettes. But I loved the style of the seat. I had to have it. When I got home I sanded it like crazy then wiped it down with white vinegar (usually I use a cloth dampened with water, but white vinegar will get rid of the smoke smell and dry odorless). Once it was dry I repaired the broken seat slat with gorilla glue.

The seat wasn’t actually even attached to the base of the chair, which made things a bit easier for me. I placed the seat and the base next to each other and sprayed them both with two coats of Rustoleum spray primer, then I painted the base with 2 coats of City Nights by Clark + Kensington (Ace brand, leftover from the basement redo).

Then I took the seat inside to work some magic.

green white color

I didn’t measure out the herringbone pattern, I just eyeballed it. Basically I ripped strips of frog tape and reverse zig zagged them on the seat, using a letter opener to squish the tape into the spaces between the slats. This took patience. Once when it was all on there I used my finger to press down the tape strips one more time, just to make sure it was on good.

Once it was all taped up, I gave the chair 2 coats of City Nights and immediately removed the tape, again using the letter opener. When it was dry I did a little touch up work with an artist brush and some white paint- frog tape is awesome and usually doesn’t bleed, but there was just so much tape here I missed a few spots when I went over it with my finger.

diy herringbone chair

I am so pleased with how this chair turned out! As soon as all the paint was dry I sprayed it with 3 coats of acrylic sealer (ModPodge brand). I may still do a coat of polycrylic on the seat, just to make sure it’s protected.

blue white color

The home for this chair doesn’t exist yet, but it will! I’ve got big plans for the guest room and one day I’ll execute them… maybe sometime in the next year. haha!

herringbone chair

What do you think? Do you have any cool patterned chairs or painted furniture? Are you shocked I have, once again, not painted a piece of furniture white?

Paint Dipped High Chair

About a month or so ago my friends moved,

and in doing so cleaned house, so we took (among other things) a wooden high chair off their hands. It was super cute, but had a few dings and chips so it needed to be redone. And, hold on to your pants, I painted it a color other then white. I KNOW!

I love that it was blue, and I love the paint dipped look it already had, but it needed a little sprucing up.
I love that it was blue, and I love the paint dipped look it already had, but it needed a little sprucing up.

If I was a better DIY’er I totally would have stripped this down before painting it again, because it already had at least 4 layers of paint on it. But I’m not… so I just sanded the crap out of it. And I mean I sanded the crap out of it. I wanted it to be as smooth as possible. Then I wiped it down with a damp rag to get all the nonsense off.

When Ace Hardware was running it’s free paint Saturday promotion I picked up a quart of their paint + primer Clark + Kensington in “City Night.” I’ve never used a paint/primer before but it worked fantastic- two coats was perfect and we love the color.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already got a sneak peak or two:

Here we are at my work station… which is the kitchen table with a big ol’ piece of plastic on it… I gave this baby two coats. I painted the coats on separate days, but the first coat was dry after a few hours.

Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 5.28.01 PM

Then I used my Frog Tape to tape off under the second highest rung at the bottom and gave the bottom three coats of “Cantelope” by Behr (leftover from the guest room).


It’s new home is in the guest room, where the walls are also Behr Cantelope colored. I figure for the majority of the time, when my nephew is not here to use it, it can sort of serve as a mock end table for one side of the bed.

Once the weather get’s nicer (it is going to get nicer, right?) I’m going to give it a coat of spray sealer, but until then it’s not used much so it’ll be just fine as is.

A Pair of Captains Chairs & Spray Paint

I went with idea #214- Paint Almost Any Piece of Furniture. If you’re a regular around here you know furniture painting is my thing (my accent table, bureau, and chair are just a few of my favs).  So when I saw these two beauties for *free* on the side of the road I knew I had to make them mine:

before photo
A nearby high school was getting rid of a lot of old furniture, including these two captain’s chairs. They had pen and marker stains, chips, dents, and bruises… swoon.
I hand painted 2 coats of primer on each chair (and they probably could have used a 3rd too) with leftover primer from when we first moved in.
Once the primer was dry I sprayed them with Rustoleum spray paint in pure white with a satin finish- I had it leftover from when I redid another chair.
I gave the spray paint two-three days to cure up before taping off the rungs because I was nervous it would peel. Taping off the rungs was by far the most time consuming part of this project- about 45 minutes per chair. Once it was taped I added two coats of Behr Wheat Bread paint (which is the same color as my living room, so that was leftover as well). I added it with a regular paint brush, then once I removed the tape I went in with an art brush for touch ups.
After painting the rungs I gave it another 2 days to cure up before adding two coats of polycrylic to each chair (which was the only things I purchased for this project). Then I let THAT cure up for another few days before using the chairs. I was super nervous about knicks and scratches and peels which is why I overdid it on the drying time for each step.
What a difference a few coats of paint and some patience makes!
before and after
Ta da!

And just one more snap of the chairs in the room:


So there you go- an under $20 makeover that makes a huge impact! I encourage you when you’re painting to not just go with the obvious, add a little tweak to it (in my case, different colored rungs). I also encourage you to embrace the funk of DIY work- the chairs still have dents and bruises but that’s what gives them character and personality. I didn’t sand them perfectly smooth or stress that one has a front bar and the other doesn’t…I let them be in fit in with everything else in my home that’s been upcycled.

$25 Fabric Cushioned Rehab

Whew! Let’s get to the before and afters:

chair before

I bought this chair at the Habitat for Humanity Restore and it clearly needed a new seat cover, but was otherwise awesome. I Gorilla Glued the brace in the front because it was a little loose, wood puttied some knicks, sanded it down, then spray painted it to awesomeness.

Once it was sanded I lightly wiped it off with a damp cloth, spray two coats of Kilz spray primer, then lightly sanded and wiped again, then sprayed two coats of Rustoleum white spray paint (satin finish) and one heavy coat of Mod Podge acrylic sealer. Originally I was going to polycrylic the whole thing to protect it, but it’s not going to be in a high traffic area so the sealer should be fine.

chair now

In between coats, I redid the seat cover by cutting off the fabric  and first layer of cushion. I replaced the layer of cushion with quilt batting I had left over from my kitchen wall art, then reupholstered with my trusty staple gun. The fabric I got was super discounted- it’s outdoor fabric so it was 40% off because it is out of season, and there were only two yards left and since I bought both I got 50% off the second yard because it was the end of the roll. Both yards added up to just $9, and originally it would have been about $25.

Because this fabric has a distinct and straight pattern, before I went nuts with the staples I put one staple on each of the four sides and flipped it over to make sure it was lined up. To get the corners, I just folded it like a Christmas gift and kept it tight-tight-tight while I was stapling.

Let’s see a side by side:

chair before and after
I still maybe add a little something-something to the back, but for now I’m going to leave it sweet and simple.
diy herringbone
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