Upcycle Project – Dining Chairs (Part 2)

In last weeks post I told you guys about my dining chair find and the idea I had for upcycling them, todays post is about prepping them and painting them.

I decided that I was going to paint the chairs in different colours and change the seat fabric to white instead of going with white chairs and coloured seats.  I wanted to match the colours of the chairs to storage boxes in my dining area – pink, blue, yellow and white, however, I thought that having one fully white chair may look a bit odd but I was not really sure what colour paint to choose instead.  I decided to head to B&Q and see what sort of colours they had and what stood out to me.  I chose B&Q Colours range and bought tester pots in Playful Pink, Buttercup Yellow, Tropez blue, and lastly, instead of white I chose Green Apple.

Before painting I needed to prep the chairs by removing the varnish from them so that the paint would adhere properly.  Unfortunately I learned this the hard way as all I did for the first chair I painted was to “rough up” the varnish rather than remove it completely, the paint didn’t take very well and still, in certain lights looks patchy now.  I decided to remove the seat to make the process of sanding a bit easier and managed to remove the seat from the chair frame fairly easily, all I needed to do was flip the chairs upside down and undo 5 screws then lift the seat off.  Once the seat was off I was able to start sanding the chair frame down.  I used an 80 grit sandpaper and sanded each chair back to the wood in the garden.  Sanding is a lot messier than I anticipated and after being covered with dust and having to wash so many clothes I figured it would be better to wear my overalls for the job!  I worked on one chair at a time so that the screws and seats didnt become muddled as I wasnt sure if all the screw holes would match up on each chair.

There are a few things I learned about sanding while undertaking this part of the project (aside from wearing overalls…) and one of them is to sweep up immediately after you have finished otherwise the fuzzy “helper” will go and lie in the dust you have created and get covered!  The other thing I learned was that sanding is a lot more time-consuming than you imagine!  I had expected to clear the varnish from one chair in around an hour… in reality it took more like 4 hours to remove all the varnish per chair.

Once the sanding was finished I was able to start painting.  I started with the yellow first as I was going to be using the same brush for all chairs and washing it out between colours.  Starting with the lightest colour first means that there is less likelihood of paint to be ruined through colour contamination should the brush not be cleaned thoroughly.

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Aside from the yellow chair needing several layers of paint and still being patchy now (due to the varnish not being stripped completely) I’m pretty happy with how the chair frames turned out and the paint colours I had chosen.  The paint is a matt finish and I used 3 tester pots per chair, did 2 to 3 coats per chair (the yellow chair took 5 pots and a lot more coats of paint) and they were fully dry by the following morning, touch dry within 20 minutes.

Next week I will be sharing the upholstering part of this project!

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