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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!