When I drove up to the thrift store a few weeks ago I was stunned to see this great chair sitting outside by the dumpster in the rain! I quickly threw it in the back and then headed inside to see what was so great that they were throwing beautiful things like this away! It was an old chair, dark brown, with 5 fun bars across the top, and I knew I could put it to good use. (It didn't occur to me to get a before picture until after I had already started in on painting the seat, sorry!)
Anyway, I knew exactly where I wanted to use it, as an accent in my light blue kitchen, so I bought a several-shades-darker blue (Tranquil Aqua by Sherwin Williams), and went to work painting it. This was my first time re-finishing a piece of furniture, so I thought I would share a few tips from my trial and error experience.
#1. Sand it first. Don't skip this step, even if you are impatient. If you skip this step and then try to sand the already painted furniture, you will end up just making scratch marks in the paint and it looks terrible. (Sorry no picture, but it looks bad and is really annoying!)
#2. Before you start painting, decide whether or not you want the furniture to be completely painted and lightly aged, or lightly painted and heavily aged. I discovered that it is much easier to put on another light coat of paint if you want more coverage than to sand off paint that was put on too heavily. (It may be easy if you have an electric sander, but I don't.)
I realized this after I had put this heavy coat of paint on the seat. This is when I noticed that the seat was completely flat, and really looked so with this kind of paint job. So I heavily sanded the spots that would be naturally worn if this chair had been used for years: around the edge, the "leg spots," and a bit of a butt spot.
#3. Try the "dry brush" method of painting first. Get a little bit of paint on the end of your brush, dip off the excess onto a paper plate or the paint can lid, and then lightly brush it across the surface of your furniture. If you don't like the look, it is easy to sand off for a more worn look, and it's easy to paint a second coat for more coverage. (Again, that thing about not too much paint in the beginning, have I stressed that enough yet? Can you tell that the sandpaper and I spent a lot of time with this chair?!)
#4. Lightly paint over the details. Leave the cracks and crevices unpainted.
#5. Sand the edges just enough to let the wood show through. Or sand a little more to show a little more of the wood.
You can even make it seem like sanding is fun enough to abandon Sesame Street over.
#6. Apply wood stain liberally.
Be aware that if you use a lot of stain (like this) then it will change the color of the paint in addition to highlighting the exposed wood. I let the stain sit here for just a few seconds before wiping it off, but the places with more exposed wood (like the seat), I let it sit for a few minutes until it really seeped into the wood.
(See the difference between the horizontal post and the back leg of the chair? It changed the blue to a bit of a brownish aqua color.)
#7. Allow to dry completely. Repeat any steps as necessary. Seal as desired.
#8. Experiment with various decor, use as photo prop for flowers, remain undecided about decor and post pictures anyway. :)
Once I had the blue paint on my chair, I realized that I didn't just want a blue accent, but the combination of a lot of dark brown and the blue, which is why I went with the VERY distressed look. But I also wanted to see how just a little bit of distressing would look with the same colors, so I pulled out this cloche I made a few months ago.
I lightly sanded along some of the sharp edges and a bit around the circle to give it some depth. I used a q tip to apply some stain just to the sanded parts and then quickly wiped it off so that it didn't get onto the paint to change the color.
I had been tentatively planning on painting numbers on each of the spokes on the back of the chair, but decided that the very distressed finish was enough detail for now. So I put a 3 on the cloche instead, and I think it was a perfect touch.
This is no Miss Mustard Seed tutorial, in fact, I wish I had read some of her painting tutorials before I dove into this painting project, but I was just so excited about the chair and had the prettiest blue paint already picked out...
I hope you learned a little tidbit if you haven't done any painting like this before and would like to try it out. And for you seasoned painters out there, please let me know what I have missed! This may have been my first furniture painting project, but it certainly won't be my last.
I'm linking to these amazing parties, and the CSI Project!