The Tale of the Paisley Chairs


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The Chair


The Chair

Ok, I know I promised you this post months ago, but the process of the chairs was so time consuming I was done with them when I finished. I just could not even begin to write about them because the were so irritating. But I’m bored right now and I want to get it done.

So I had to go out and buy four chairs because the ones that went with the table I stenciled (see last post) did not survive. A friend of mine sent out a notice about a community wide garage sale so I went and just drove around until I spotted a chair in someone’s drive way that I liked. The woman only had 3 out but when I asked about the 4th she ran inside and grabbed it. She told me that she had bought them in the 80’s at an estate sale in Tennessee and was ready for something new. $40 and I piled them into my car and took them home.

The chair in it's original state

The chair in it’s original state


The rest of the chairs in their original condition

So my first task was to spray-paint the backs and legs of the chairs with Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 white primer. This primer sticks to varnish and made the whole process a lot easier. I did not bother roughing up the chair backs or the legs. However, you have to be careful, if you spray too close you will get drips. If you spray too far away your coverage will not be even. Also, I did not worry about the seats. Don’t bother covering them because you will sand them later.


Three of the chairs after they were primed.

Once the chairs have been primed, I took my Skil Orbital Sander and a 60 or 80 grit sandpaper disk and I began to sand the seats.


My Skil Orbital Sander from Lowes


Sanding the seats and edges to prep for stenciling and staining.

After the seats have been sanded, I began to tape off the edge of the seat. I wanted to leave a blank edge to make it look more like there was a cushion on the seat and to match the edge of my table.  Don’t forget to wipe off the sawdust! Taping off a straight edge is easy, taping off a curved edge is not. You want to rip the tape into small pieces.


Taping off the seat, and how to tape off a curve


the whole seat taped off.

When you have finished taping off the seat you will want to take a knife and cut off the corners of the pieces of tape around the curves so that your lines all match up.


Cutting the tape corners to make a smooth line

After the tape was trimmed, I took my stencil and decided which part of the stencil I wanted on the seat. (Again, the stencil is the Paisley Wall stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils) This was also complicated because the stencil did not want to lay flat so I worked until I was able to get the stencil to lay the way I wanted to. This included me having to cut into my stencil to get it to open around the poles on the chairback.


Laying down the stencil


Cutting into the stencils and taping it down


Cutting into the stencils.

Next I started rolling on my white acrylic paint. I used Martha Stewarts Wedding Cake acrylic stencil paint but it’s expensive and runs out very quickly. Any acrylic paint will do. Also, you do not need much on your roller, just enough to get a nice white coverage. Make sure you work from the back of the seat to the front.


Starting to stencil


Work from the back of the seat to the front.

When I lifted off the stencil, I noticed a few spots that seemed a little bare right around the corners so I chose a small part of the stencil and painted it.


Filling in the blank corners

I also noticed an area where the stencil smudged a bit. I waited about 2 minutes for the paint to dry (acrylic dries really fast!) and I took some sandpaper and sanded away the smudge. If the whole stencil moves or smudges, sand it off with the orbital sander and start again.


The smudge


After Sanding

Again, the acrylic paint dries really fast, so test it with your finger, then grab your stain. I used Minwax Dark Walnut stain. Using a paintbrush, brush the stain onto the chair, over the stencil. Make sure you get the edges of the seat and cover the seat completely. Also watch for drips!








Staining is done!

Once the seat has been stained, let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then grab an old rag and start rubbing up the stain. This will leave your white paint looking a little more tan than white.


Getting the rag ready


Rubbing the stain


After wiping up the stain


Three chairs stenciled and stained

Next you have to wait 24 hours for the stain to dry before you can begin to coat the seat with a polycrylic to seal it. I use Minwax Polycrylic in clear gloss. However, while you wait, you can carefully start to paint the chair back and legs! I used Calypso by Sherwin Williams in Semi-gloss. Watch for drips! If you drip on the seat, wipe it up and then sand it a bit. you may need to re-stain that area.


Painting the chair back


Chair back is done!


Legs are done!

The back and legs will require two coats of paint. Once the stain has set for 24 hours, you may apply a thin coat of polycrylic. This will seal the seat and allow for easy cleanup. You will need to apply 3 coats of polycrylic and wait two hours in between each coat. You must also lightly sand  and wipe the seat after the first and second coats have dried. This ensures proper adhesion and gives the polycrylic a smooth, glossy finish. I use a 200 grit sandpaper. Once the final coat has set for 24 hours, you will be ready to use your new chairs!


Three chairs completed!


The Set is done


Close-up of the chairs under the table


The completed set!


The Tale of the Paisley Table


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All right, this first craft project has to do with a table, a very special table. A project that I waited for over a year to start. For those of you who may not know me, I just finished a very intense one-year masters program. Around June of last year, I was introduced to Pinterest. Now, I had hear about it but resisted it’s pull for a few months because I knew I would get absolutely addicted. However, I was in school to become an art teacher and Pinterest has a wealth of lesson plan ideas and the need for inspiration won out.

During one of my first adventures on pinterest, I came across a pin for a table. The table belonged to a woman who runs the blog Domestic Imperfection. While looking through her pictures I realized I had a similar table sitting in my garage. It is a generic, pine “butcher-block” topped table with white legs. The chairs fell apart and had been thrown away years ago, but this table remained. It had been my ex-step-mothers and she decided she did not want it when she left so it has sat in the garage for 2 years being a catch-all, occasionally being brought out and used during cookouts. I was instantly inspired to make this table my own and jazz it up a bit. However, having just started a program I put it off, for 11 months. I knew I would be too busy to really spend the time on the project that I wanted to so I promised myself if I survived to graduation, I would start the project after I turned in my masters research project.

Fast-forward to May 2013. As the weeks grew closer to graduation, I allowed myself to slowly gather the products I would need:

Materials List:

  • 2 or 3 paint brushes. 1 for oil-based stain 1 for latex based paint (available at Lowes etc for about $3-4)
  • 1 can of Minwax oil-based stain in Dark Walnut. (get the small can, it was more then enough for this project) ($5 at Lowes)
  • 1 pint of latex based paint, semi-gloss. I choose Calypso Blue from Sherwin Williams. If you have a family member who works there, you can get an extended family discount!
  • 1 small can of Clear Gloss Polyacrylic by Minwax ($9 at Lowes)
  • Rags
  • Drop cloth (plastic drop cloths are $2 at Lowes)
  • 1” blue painters tape
  • Paisley wall stencil from ($54)
  • SmartStrip Paint stripper ($19 at Sherwin Williams)
  • 1 Orbital Sander (I bought mine by Skil at Lowes for $39 and it was a great investment!)
  • 80, 120, 220 grit 5” round sand paper for my orbital sander. Either way, get these grits.
  • Paint scrapper
  • White Acrylic paint. I used Martha Stewart’s satin finish acrylic stencil paint in Wedding Cake. Don’t waste your money just get white acrylic paint. The small bottles my MS only have enough for like 3 squirts of paint.
  • Roller brush for stenciling. I wish I had invested in the roller brush from instead of shelling out $7 for the Martha Stewart stencil roller, those break all the time plus the paint tray just wastes paint.
  • Paint tray, use a smooth plastic lid and you will be fine.
  • Murphey’s Oil Soap. This is the best thing to use to clean all of your brushes. Much safer then using mineral spirits!

So a week before graduation I finally started my table. The first thing I did was apply the SmartStrip.

Here is the table with the smart strip on it

Here is the table with the smart strip on it

This is a soy and water based paint stripper, it is non-toxic, biodegradable and pretty awesome. However, you really need to use a lot and let it sit for at least 24 hours to get it to really work. Then you can just peel (and wipe) any paint right off! This worked the best on the legs and side of the table. It does not work very well on varnish and I quickly realized sanding the tabletop by hand was not an option. I quickly ran and bought a Skil Orbital Sander at Lowes and some extra sand paper disks. This tool is really easy to use. Line the holes on the 80 grit 5 inch round sandpaper up with the holes on the disk, and Velcro it into place. Plug it in, put the sander on the table, and press the on button. There is a light up sensor on the side that will notify you if you are pressing too hard. Just move it with the grain on the tabletop and keep going until you get to fresh wood! Don’t forget to change your sand paper occasionally and empty your filter! I also used the sander to finish getting any extra paint off the sides and legs of the table. 

*Warning 1* If you use the sander on areas where there is still residual Smart Strip, it will clog up the sandpaper and you will have to change it more often. 

*Warning 2* Make sure to not allow SmartStrip to sit on bare wood that will be stained. The wood will soak up the stripper and it will then resist the stain. 

Sanding the tabletop with a Skil Orbital Sander

Sanding the tabletop with a Skil Orbital Sander

Table completely sanded

-Table completely sanded

Once it is completely down to bare wood on the table top and the sides, I began to tape  off the sides of the table top and a one inch border around the top. Just try to line the edges of the tape with the edges of the table. this will protect the edges while you paint the legs and sides of the table and will give you a border when you start to stencil. 

Table with blue painters tape and legs painted

Table with blue painters tape and legs painted

Table with painters tape and legs painted blue

Table with painters tape and legs painted blue

Next I started painting the sides of my table blue. Again, I used Calypso Blue by Sherwin Williams. It worked really well and only needed two coats of paint. Since I got the legs and sides stripped down to bare wood I didn’t need any primer. I also turned the table upside down so I was able to get an even coverage on the legs. I waited about 6 hours in between coats of blue paint to make sure it was really set well. 

When painting the legs, make sure to not use tons of paint, otherwise it will drip. If the first coat is a bit streaky, don’t worry. It will all get covered with the second coat. 

*Warning* Makes sure to clean your brushes thoroughly between each use! Hold under warm running water and use a quarter sized amount of Murphey’s Oil Soap. Scrub the bristles and rinse untill all of the water runs clear. Blot/squeeze dry with a paper towel and place brushes back into the package it came in to help them keep their shape! 

Next I laid out my stencil and got started. My stencil set came with one edger stencil. I lined it up with the tape on one edge and taped it to my table. Then I took about a quater sized amount of paint on my paint tray. I then made sure I rolled out the paint on my roller brush as evenly as possible. (You can lightly wet the roller but make sure there is no excess water on it otherwise the paint will bleed). 

First set of stencil painted on the table!

First set of stencil painted on the table!

Once this first stencil set is on, I took the full wall stencil and lined up the few marker points and taped the stencil down. Making sure my roller was again evenly covered, I applied the paint. Acrylic paint dries very quickly. After about a minute you can lift the stencil and after about 2 more minutes, you can line the stencil up for the next set.

First use of the full stencil

First use of the full stencil

Once I finished the right side. I took the full stencil and lined up the marks and started again. On this side, I needed someone to help hold the stencil straight so it didn’t fall off of the table. I then placed painters tape on the edges to secure it and continued to paint. (The painters tape can go right over the already dry acrylic).
Stenciling almost finished!

Stenciling almost finished!

The last corner was tough but it worked out. Again, you may need help to keep the stencil straight. All in all, it took about 45 minutes or less to stencil! The stencil was so easy to use and rarely bled. It was totally worth the price. Once the stenciled areas are dry, remove the painters tape.

Finished stencil

Finished stencil

Finished Stencil

Finished Stencil

The next step is to stain the tabletop. I used Minwax Oil-based stain in Dark Walnut and used the oil-based stain brush. Apply the stain generously, directly over the stencil and onto the sides of the tabletop. Let the stain sit for 5-15 minutes and wipe off using a clean, dry cloth. For my table, I did 3 coats of stain but that may not be necessary. I waited 2-4 hours between each coat of stain.

Final Stain

Final Stain

Now, the sides of my tabletop did not stain well. I think the SmartStrip soaked into the wood and repelled the stain. So to fix this I taped off the top of the table at the edge and used my Calypso blue around the edge to hide the blotches.

Tabletop edge painted

Tabletop edge painted

Once the edge was dry, I applied the first coat of Polycrylic in clear gloss. I did 3 coats of polycrylic and allowed each to dry for 2 hours. In between each layer of polycrylic, i lightly sanded the table with 220 grit sandpaper. Just enought to rough up the polycrylic so that the next layer would adhear properly. After the 3rd coat I allowed the polycrylic to set for 24 hours before being able to use the table! 

I am really happy with how this table turned out. I absolutely love it and cannot wait until I have a big enough place where I can use it! 

I do want to note that I did 2 different things from the original table over at Domestic Imperfection

1. I created a solid stained border around the edge of my table top. This was a little complicated to do but overall I love how it looks. I also painted the edge of the table top blue.

2. I decided to not attempt her “dirty cowboy technique.” This is where you dry-brush stain over the blue legs and sides. I was going to do this but I loved the way it looked without it. 

All in all, this project took about 2 weeks to complete!



Coming soon: The Chairs!



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Hello! My name is L and welcome to my brand-new blog! Over the course of the next several months I will be tackling my laundry-list of craft projects. In doing so, I will photograph my progress and share the steps with you! I will also write about the products I used, prices and links to where you can obtain them if possible, as well as what aspects of the projects worked well and which did not, something I have found is often missing on Pinterest projects.  In the meantime, buckle up and enjoy the insanity! Also, pray there aren’t any pintrocities/craft fails.

Happy Crafting!