I took on a rather ambitious project this past week: refinishing old furniture. Besides doing a shoddy job of painting an old nightstand about 10 years ago, I have fairly limited experience with this. Well, not to boast or anything, but I am pretty much the expert after tackling this project.
As you can see, they are scratched and cracking all over the place, missing arm rests, and the seat cushions are pretty manky. I thought they would make a fairly dramatic before and after.
Prepping The Chairs
I began by removing the seat cushions. I then gave the chairs a thorough washing with warm water and T.S.P. and let them completely dry.
Sanding, Sanding, and More Sanding
I began sanding by hand, using sanding sponges instead of paper because the sponges are better at getting in all the nooks and crannies; however, the cracks and damage on the handles meant that I needed to use a power sander, according to my father-in-law who is an expert in the area of refinishing. So I started the process over with an 80 grit sandpaper and then moved to a 120 grit. I then went back to the sponges and used a 180 grit, 220 grit, and finished off with a 320 grit sponge . Because I was painting them and not staining them, I did not have to strip all the previous stain off. The goal was just to get a smooth surface. A smooth surface is important when you want a high gloss finish because the gloss will showcase all the flaws and unevenness (again, according to my father-in-law). This is what they looked like after several rounds of sanding:
I then sprayed each chair with Rustoleum Primer. I did two coats of primer and let it dry for an hour.
Painting the Roses Red
Errrr….I mean the chairs blue! I did 4 coats of paint – Rustoleum’s Satin Aqua . The trick was light, continuous sprays, never spraying one area too hard or too long otherwise the paint runs. I finished off with 4 coats of high gloss lacquer. My poor index fingers were worked to the bone that day!
The Cushion Recover
Those damn seats were covered in staples! I think I removed about one million staples and that was only half of one cushion! I would have recovered right over the old fabric but it had a piping detail that would have left the seat bumpy and uneven. At that point, I decided to work smarter, not harder and ending up cutting off the old covers!
I used this fabric that I purchased from fabric.com about a year ago that was just waiting to be made into something fabulous. I attached the new fabric with my staple gun. I then screwed the seats back onto the frames.
And here are the chairs now:
They are now living in my makeup room and I pull one up to my vanity every morning to do my makeup. I have caught the chairs looking at themselves in the mirror a few times and can you blame them? They’re so darn pretty!
So I would say my first refinishing project was a success! Am I itching to do more? We’ll see – it was a lot of work!
Thanks so much for reading!