I love to upcycle and alter plain wood chairs with glued-on elements and decorative painting. It's a great way to bring new life to the chairs from your old dining room set, or update a single kitchen chair you might purchase from a flea market or home store. It may not be fine furniture, but it sure is fun furniture!
Before altering or adding any decorative touches to an old wood chair, you have to prep it first by scrubbing it with a damp cloth and light cleanser to remove any build-up of dust, dirt or grease. Then lightly sand all the surfaces and brush away all the sanding dust. Now the chair is ready to be painted with a base coat in whatever color works best for your design, using either spray paint or brush-on paint. Add a second coat of paint as needed, then allow the chair to dry thoroughly.
This is a "Princess Chair" I made for my granddaughter. You don't need to be an accomplished painter to alter a chair lik this — you can use stencils, collage images or even stickers. I used collage images for the little girls, then hand-painted the vines and most of the leaves, then I sanded back some of the edges to make the chair look more shabby chic or vintage. I hot-glued beaded fringe under the edge of the seat and added glass finials to the top. Drill pilot holes slowly down into the center of each chair post, then don't screw in the finials too tightly or the wood may split.
I save all the postcards and greeting cards I get (sound familiar?). Since I am lucky to
have friends with a great sense of humor, I get many cards that are perfect for my “Have a
Seat — Have a Laugh” series of chairs.
I choose a color palette for the chair based on one of the cards and then let
whimsy get in the way! Keep in mind, if you are blending special colors, make sure you mix enough paint to finish your project
and then keep the remainder in a plastic container with a lid if you need it for touch-ups later. For a decoupage medium, I use Aleene's Tacky Glue and water it down slightly.
I made this fun little chair for my guest room — it says, "Just because you can-can doesn't mean
you should-should." I spray-painted the chair black, let it dry, then I adhered my dancing frogs image and trimmed-out words from other cards and brochures. I added brightly-colored dots of acrylic paint using tools like rubber finger protectors and pencil eraser tops. I dipped a funky rubber
stamp into the paint, too! After gluing on some painted wood accents and letting everything dry, I sprayed a coat of clear varnish over everything.
I made this chair called "Are we there yet?" for my grandson with postcards from our family vacations. I cut an old map to size and decoupaged it to the seat with my glue medium and a
foam brush. Work in small sections, making sure to get any air bubbles smoothed
out as you go. After the map was dry, I adhered the postcards and the words. If you can't find good lettering in your magazines or junk mail, look for cute letter stickers at the craft store. I used hot glue to apply a beaded fringe under the seat.
I hope seeing some of my altered kitchen chairs inspires you to try your own. It's such a fun way to display your favorite images, quotes and embellishments. Visit my website, Altered Pages, for lots more creative inspiration!