We have had our kitchen chairs since the hubs and I got married. They were handed down to us by my in-laws’ friends. A year after using them, I bought fabric and “reupholstered” them–just stapling the new fabric over the old.
That was 6 years ago. Now we have 2 kids–the chairs are super icky and gross. It’s embarrassing to show you photos so I will show you one taken last summer when they weren’t as bad. Boo’s chair with the booster seat attached is particularly yucky. Yikes. I was going to undertake this project last summer, then summer passed, but then I had a lightbulb moment when I realized that it is always sunny here and I can paint in the middle of winter!
I sometimes wish we could buy new chairs, but these ones are still really comfy and sturdy so the kids won’t teeter off them. So I did some Internet research to find out how to paint over them and then I chose the most relaxing shade of pale minty aqua that made me happy.
I also decided on laminate fabric that is easy to clean and definitely easy on the eyes. I love this print by Jessica Jones’ line, Outside Oslo, Tulip in Dawn. I purchased the fabric here.
This was a time-consuming project–the painting was definitely a process. The first step was to take the chairs into the garage and remove all the gunky parts stuck on the chairs. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser worked really well for this. I was lucky enough to have Froo as an assistant. I didn’t have any rubber gloves for her small hands so she wore a pair of disposable kitchen gloves. After using various cleaning products, Froo & I hosed the chairs down and let them dry in the sun. I looked the chairs over and decided that they didn’t need any sanding prior to spray painting the primer.
Then I stacked each chair onto little water bottle and milk jug caps with newspaper underneath. This helped with painting all the way to the bottom of the legs without having the newspaper stick to the paint.
I sprayed each chair with primer. I had no idea how much I would need so I only bought one can. It turns out that you need quite a bit–almost one can per chair–so I had to buy another 3 cans. I had the chairs near the open garage door, but spray primer releases a lot of particles into the air and covered the entire garage floor with a layer of paint dust. I should have worn a mask, I had hardened white paint boogers at the end of the day. Ewww…
Then I painted the first layer of paint. I used a slanted 1 1/2″ inch nylon brush and found that the coverage was nicer when I painted the legs with a sideways left-to-right motion, rather than an up-and-down motion. I also learned that it’s a slooooow process–there are no shortcuts. I tried to get a huge glob of paint and swish it around with my brush, but that took more time and effort to spread the paint evenly without dripping. It’s more effective to use thin layers of paint and slowly cover a tiny area at a time.
The paint is water-based and dries to a hard shellac finish so it requires 16 hours to cure between coats and 3+ days to fully cure before using. The second coat of paint–I am loving this colour!
After 2 coats of paint and 3 days of drying, I added a layer of clear topcoat. I used a sponge brush and let the chairs dry for another day. The chairs look a different shade of aqua in different lighting.
Now for the seats: I pinned this as reference to reupholster the chairs but I didn’t want to go through the trouble of changing the foam. Instead, I uncovered the top layer of fabric, then stapled batting over the seat, then stapled my new laminate fabric over the seat.
The hubs helped me out because I wanted all of the flowers to line up properly. We stapled the first seat with the flowers upside-down. It really bothered me, but the hubs didn’t want to redo it–instead, he said we should just keep it for Boo’s chair with his booster seat on top. I am trying to maintain a Yoda-like attitude: “Upside-down it matters not. Much to learn, you have. Learn to see as the Force sees, you must. Achieve zen like me, you will.”
Anyhoo, the chairs have finally made their way back into the kitchen:
No more gunky bits and stains! The laminate is still comfy with the extra batting, although not as soft as uncoated fabric. The trade-off of having wipeable unstained chairs is soooo worth it. The colour and floral print instantly brighten up the kitchen. Now I want to paint the kitchen table to match, but I’m not sure how we would manage without a table for a week.
Matching polka dots! Totally unintentional… just my clothing style transferring into my furniture style.
I’m surprised that I actually went through with this project and completed it, albeit, half a year later than intended. Nothing like having your hubs’ parents & brother stay over as house guests to get motivated!
The little dimsum bamboo steamer in the centre of our table is our wedding favour. They contained Hershey Kisses, but have long since been eaten. Just a little reminder of our lovely wedding as we sit together as a family everyday.