My goal with the table and chairs was to make them over to match (or at least complement) this:
I found this on a great sale and bought it right after we moved. Our kitchen is short on storage space, and this little hutch adds just a bit more.
I got a set of four chairs for a great deal from Craigslist ($40 for all four, which was the cheapest set I found.) This is how they each started out:
I was really happy to have found these because they’re made of solid wood and in great shape.
And of course I started by taking off the seats.
A lot of the time it’s a good idea to sand your piece before you start working on it. I didn’t in this case, though. The chairs were in really good shape and also, I’m a little lazy.
It is, however, always a good idea to make sure your piece is clean and dust-free! I love this little tool to clean off all that pesky dust and lint.
Once the chairs were clean and dust-free, I primed them with this:
Priming is one those things that doesn’t always have to be done, but it’s generally a good idea. These chairs are going to be used a lot, so I knew I wanted to use primer to help the paint adhere better. Kilz is highly recommended by a lot of DIYers and I like it as well. However, I like the original (the kind with the red on the label). I used Kilz Odorless because that’s all I could find at the store and I did NOT like it. It sputtered and dripped something terrible, despite my compulsively shaking it. Next time I’ll definitely hunt down the original.
Once the chairs were all primed I let them dry (about an hour). You can see I didn’t get the coverage super-even. In some cases (like with the laminate table) this might have been more of an issue for me, but I didn’t let it bother me here. I felt that a thin coat would be enough in this case. And I had just barely enough primer for that! (I had used those cans of primer on the table as well.)
After the primer was dry, I did end up sanding it a bit. This was, in part, because of the splatters from the primer. So I smoothed it out again and then dusted it off, first with a paper towel and then my handy air-in-a-can. Sanding is good for smoothing out drips and is also good if you want to make sure it’s extra smooth between layers of paint and/or primer.
Once the primer was done, I sprayed it with this (the same color as the table). The color choice was between this (Burgundy) and Krylon Cherry Red. I felt that Cherry Red would be too bright to go with my hutch and so Burgundy won out.
Here’s my advice for spray-painting. Keep the bottle at the recommended distance (about 6 – 8 inches). Start spraying just off your object and end just off your object. Spray in smooth, even strokes. You might not get good coverage at first, and that’s okay. It looks much better in the end if you’re patient and take your time. The picture above is after two coats. See how uneven it still looks? I got a little discouraged when I realized how long it was going to take but I knew it would be worth it in the end!
Here’s an oopsie: I started getting a little over-zealous with wanting good coverage and it resulted in a nice-long drip at the bottom of this rung.
Doing these chairs was a pain in the you-know-what. They had endless angles to cover and lots of nooks and crannies and by the end my back really hurt. But I was determined to be thorough and made sure to paint them upside-down as well as on their backs to ensure I got them all covered.
And then finally, finally, they were done!
Voila! Aren’t they pretty?
What I learned:
One of the big things I learned from the chairs and the table is about spray-off/overspray. Spray-off is the paint that doesn’t land on the item you’re working on. A lot of the time it dries before it hits something else (the ground, for instance) but if you’re not careful, you could paint something unintentionally!
It seems that it is always windy where we live. Even on very still days, there is always a little breeze in my area. Which makes it hard to spray-paint outdoors. I decided to spray-paint the table in the garage, but even though I put tarps down, there was spray-off everywhere. Luckily nothing was ruined, but I accidentally created a horrific dusting job for myself. There was red dust on everything. When it was time to work on the chairs, I tried to create a little workspace for myself by taping painter’s plastic from the ceiling to the floor. But the plastic wouldn’t stay up. Luckily I got two fantastic days with perfectly calm weather and I was able to spray-paint outside. The lesson? Just know that spray-dust can land quite a distance from where you’re working, so be prepared to for a little clean-up after!
Next step: glazing!