This week I finally got around to giving my $5 yard sale chair a face-lift (Thank you to CentsationalGirl.com for giving me the inspiration and steps to tackle this project.) My poor chair was covered in silver paint and a horribly stained green velvet seat. I won’t even mention the glass beads that were epoxied on her. Luckily, I rescued her and offered her a new life as my desk chair.
The makeover was a bit more involved than I initially anticipated, but the results were well worth the work. Because there were different procedures for each step, I will break this transformation into a few posts. Care to see the transformation? Then read on…
1. Takin’ It All Off! aka paint stripping
Normally if furniture is painted and the paint is in good condition, (the paint is well adhered to the furniture and CAN’T be scratched off with a fingernail) I leave it! If it was in good shape, I would scuff up the surface with some sandpaper and maybe use primer if I’m not sure why type of paint was used. But, for this baby, I could scratch the paint off easily with my fingernails.
My preferred paint stripper has been the less toxic Citri-strip. Purchase it in your local hardware store. There are a few other brands that make these less-toxic products. So, feel free to substitute. (More tips on paint stripping at CentsationalGirl.com.)
The tools you will need are:
- Rubber gloves (I said less-toxic, you still need to protect your skin)
- Face mask (if you aren’t working in a well ventilated area)
- Small wire brush for detail work
- Multi-edge scraper (also called caulk removal tool)
- Sandpaper or sanding block
- Brillo pad or steel wool
- Plastic throw-away tarp (Dollar store plastic table covers work great for this!)
- Bucket with a little dish soap, water and a sponge for clean up
Coat the areas that you want to strip with the foamy Citri-Strip spray and let it sit for 30 minutes. As soon as the paint is bubbled up, you can start to scrape and strip. This is such a satisfying step as you easily clear away the abusive paint.
The scraper tool I have works well for about 90% of the surfaces on the chair. For the other 10% you’ll need to use your small wire brush. You may need to re-coat any areas that won’t come off easily with the Citri-strip.
Next you need to wash off the chemicals left on the chair. Use the soap, water and sponge to wash the chair. Let your chair dry. (I sped up this process by aiming a fan at the chair.)
Now it is time to smooth your chair. Use the Brillo pad to get any small spots left and to prep for sanding. Then you can take your sandpaper and/or sanding block and make that chair as smooth as a baby’s bottom! The wood on this old chair was so beautiful with age that I almost grabbed the polyurethane and applied two coats. But, I had bigger plans for this chair. You will notice that I left the paint on the rattan back of the chair. This will all be covered up by the upholstery. I hope you will stick with me for the next step in this chair makeover.