Refinishing chairs is no different than any other piece of wood furniture. But, be prepared to do a lot of work by hand before you decide to start painting chairs throughout your house though. The corners & curves are much sharper which makes them more difficult to sand & paint with power tools. Just like any other refinishing project you will need to buy sandpaper, primer, paint and a protective gloss. It’s always a good idea to have a face mask and gloves as well.
1. Begin by cleaning the chair with a dry cloth to prepare it for sanding. Please refer to this post for an excellent sanding guide. Once the chair is completely sanded down just wipe away any sawdust and proceed to step 2.
2. Now it’s time to apply the primer. We recommend using a white primer with a medium sized bush. It’s a good idea to start at the bottom of the legs and work your way up to avoid missing anything, and avoid cross painting streaks. If there are any bubbles left after drying sand them out and apply the primer again; wash your brush off and let the chair dry. Failure to allow adequate drying time is the most common cause of paint finishing sticky instead of hard. Skipping this step when refinishing chairs is the worst thing you can do. You don’t want any paint to stick to your cloths do you?
Note: A second coat of primer is optional, but make sure you let it dry overnight no matter how many coats you decide to use.
3. Once your chair is primed and dry it’s time to prepare it for painting. Painting chairs is a little different than refinishing other types of furniture. You will need a paint that is easy to clean without having to worry about it of coming off. We recommend that you use enamel paint because chairs are touched and used so much. Something like this from Rust-Olem would be perfect. Latex paint works well too. The enamel paint may seem like overkill since it’s made for metal, but it’s actually a really good choice. Paint the chair using the same technique you used for the primer. Whatever paint you use make sure to let the chair dry overnight before continuing to step 4.
4. Paint or spray on a polyurethane coat to help the chair dry nice and hard. Remember we don’t want any paint sticking to our cloths!
Refinishing Dining Room Chairs
When refinishing dining room chairs it’s a good idea to remove the cushion first. A half painted dining room chair will look really tacky. Just turn the chair over and look for any screws holding the fabric in. Simply remove the cushion and follow the steps above.
Painting Kitchen Chairs
Kitchen chairs are the most highly used chairs in your house. They may have old food or grim stuck to them and are likely to have dents and dings. It’s a good idea to begin refinishing kitchen chairs by scrubbing them with warm soapy water first. This will ensure a flat and smooth finish at the end. When painting kitchen chairs using enamel paint is even more important. Enamel paint will allow you to wipe and clean the chair easily because it dries so smooth. Fill in any chips or dings with glue or wood filler after the chair is nice and clean. Begin painting the kitchen chair by following the steps above.
This total project shouldn’t cost more than $25 and will be extremely rewarding when you’re finished. Good luck!
1 thought on “How to Paint and Refinish Chairs”
You say “Failure to allow adequate drying time is the most common cause of paint finishing sticky instead of hard.” If I have already made this mistake will putting a poly finish on top make things better or worst? Also, I used a paint conditioner when I did it, should that only be used in curtain circumstances? What about using the conditioner with the enamel?
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