Upcycled Chairs

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

Anyone who has ever called me a friend at any point in my life would say I am 0% crafty. I've never been into DIY projects or the satisfaction of "making it myself". In fact, I was the person who would look at my crafting friends and say "couldn't you just buy that?". So when I saw these chairs at a garage sale and said *out loud* "I can refinish these", it was a monumental moment in my life!

I didn't even know where to begin so I stared at them for an extended period of time 🤦🏻 . I then decided a logical first step would be sanding them. I was horrified when Daniel told me that the legs had a glued veneer finish on them that I'd have to get off. I was deflated. Thankfully Daniel is the most innovative person so he grabbed my blow dryer and started melting the glue which allowed the veneer to peel off. Don't be fooled, this "quick trick" still had me sitting on the floor for hours...blow drying chairs. 😂



After I FINALLY finished blowdrying my chairs it was time to sand. I took the chairs apart and began sanding. Then I sanded, sanded, sanded, and sanded some more. I spent a couple of hours every day just sanding my chairs. To say I was over my little project would be a complete understatement! After sitting on our garage floor crying to Daniel about never being able to finish, he joined my cause and step 1 was complete. Praise the Lord the chairs were sanded!


Next was the actual "fun" part, the transformation. I did some research online before heading to a couple of different hardware stores for stains. I tried a stain (on the bottom of the chair) that I had used and loved in the past and it did nothing. I tried stain 2 and it turned the wood yellow, I tried another and it tinted the surface a weird grey. I sanded all of my experiments off and went back to researching. I then decided I would do a nice oil finish. I bought 2 different oils and tried them on my chair...only to discover they did not change the look....at all.

Do you see it? How all of those hours and effort and the oiled chair looks exactly the same as when I bought it, just shinier and a little bit more orange! Honestly scroll up and look at the first picture, there's no difference.


(Insert a lot of frustration here. Also some anger and some questioning as to how anyone finds this fun! haha)


What I envisioned for these chairs was a glorious bleached oak look...which was clearly not going to happen. My once innocent DIY dream had turned into a complete nightmare.


I would say it was time for Plan B but I think I was on plan F. I decided to try painting one of them black. I hated the current chairs and like pretty much everything in black so why not give it a try? It was a complete 180° from the initial direction I had started on. I didn't hate the sight of them but they still weren't quite right so I went back to the drawing board, again.

I decided to try colour blocking. Leaving just a touch of the wood exposed and the rest black and ta-da, just like that (a month of work later) I had my easy DIY upcycled chairs project.

*I am not even going to start on how I could have skipped the sanding, and staining, and sanding and have just painted the chairs black from the start and have been done in hours. No instead I am just going to have these sit here in all their refinished glory.

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