DIY: Paint Ideas for Wood Chairs

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An old wooden chair is the perfect canvas for creative painting. Start with a chair you purchased from a secondhand shop or at garage sale, or just had sitting around the house, and within a few hours, you will have a brand new look to enhance your room. You can paint a chair with a solid coat of paint for a traditional look, distress and age a paint finish with crackle medium, or go wild and combine multiple bright colors and designs for a one-of-a-kind creation.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Tack rag
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Polyurethane spray
  • Crackle medium
  • Painter's tape
  • Paint pens

Traditional Chair

  • Sand any shiny surfaces, old paint or varnish, imperfections or rough areas off your chair. Wipe with a tack rag to remove dust and grit.

  • Turn the chair upside down, and begin by painting the legs and any support rods between them. Paint in smooth strokes that all go the same direction, and don't overload the brush with paint. You don't want drips or uneven coverage.

  • Set the chair upright, and continue by painting the top and edges of the seat, then the chair back, and finally the top strip. Use a smaller brush to reach between the slats of the chair back and to reach all surfaces of the design. Brush strokes should be even and all in the same direction.

  • Let the chair dry overnight, then spray with a heavy polyurethane protective top coat. Let that dry overnight.

Crackle Finish

  • Sand your chair to remove old finish, paint, imperfections or rough spots. Dust away grit and residue with a tack rag.

  • Paint the chair in the base color you have chosen. Follow the technique given in the Traditional Chair section above to achieve even coverage. Let the paint dry overnight.

  • Brush on crackle medium. The thicker the coat of crackle medium, the larger the final cracks will be, so apply with this in mind. Keep your application even, with brush strokes going in the same direction. Let the crackle medium dry for two hours.

  • Apply your top coat of paint, starting at the bottom of the chair and working your way up. Brush in even strokes, and don't paint the same area twice. The crackling effect will start right away, and continue to spread as paint dries. It isn't critical that coverage be perfect, as this is a distressed, aged look, so don't worry about missing small spots between wood supports or along edges.

  • Let the chair dry overnight, then spray with a heavy polyurethane protective top coat. Let the chair dry overnight before use.

Wild Color

  • Sand the chair to remove old varnish, paint, any imperfections or rough edges. Remove grit and dust with a tack rag.

  • Turn the chair upside down, and use painter's tape to cover the edges of the chair seat. Begin painting the chair's legs, using different colors of bright paint for each leg, and varying the colors of the support bars between them as desired. Work slowly and carefully to achieve even coverage.

  • Set the chair upright, and carefully remove painter's tape from seat edges. Tape off the chair's back to protect it as you paint the seat. Choose different bright colors as you paint the seat and edges of the chair. Avoid drips by loading the paintbrush evenly and scraping excess paint off on the edge of the can or tray.

  • Remove tape from the chair's back, and continue to use different bright colors as you paint the chair back, the top crossbar, and any supports between the chair's slats. Apply paint smoothly and carefully, with all brush strokes in the same direction.

  • Let the chair dry overnight, then use opaque acrylic paint pens to decorate your chair with dots, stripes, squiggles or any other design you desire. Let the chair dry overnight again, then spray with heavy polyurethane protective finish. Give the chair another 24 hours to dry thoroughly before use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Semi-gloss latex paint is easiest to wipe clean, and will provide excellent coverage for your chair.
  • Use good quality paint and brushes for your project for the best results.
  • Paint in a well ventilated area to avoid breathing paint fumes.

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References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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