Thursday, June 4, 2015

Moving Through the Project Pile: School Chairs

I literally have a pile of unfinished furniture projects in my garage. Now that I have the space to work on them, and a largely empty house in need of furnishings, I've started tackling them.

I found these old school chairs in a neighbor's trash more than two years ago. There were at least 10 of them! I didn't have much storage space at the time so I only took two. None of them matched so I took the two that appeared to be in the best shape.

Sorry for the so-so pictures. I thought I had better before shots! Anyway, They both showed signs of being in the classroom for a long time, i.e. they had lots of student inflicted scratches, carvings, and markings. One is stamped 1960 on the bottom and the other has a Heywood Wakefield mark.

"Is Kathy nice?" 

That writing under the logo reads, "Charlie Reeder went to Hillandale Elementary School." 

I liked the character of the wear and tare, but also wanted to modernize my chairs a bit. I love this makeover via, Mamie Boude.  I really like her color choices and that she let the original finish shine through. 

One of my chairs had a big chunk of veneer missing from its back. After filling it with wood putty and sanding it, I decided to paint the front of both chair backs and leave the seats as is. 

Spoiler, the legs have already been painting in this photo. 
Before painting, I sanded all of the wood with my Black and Decker Mouse sander and sanding blocks. Next I cleaned the metal legs. I followed the advice of Jenny from Little Green Note Book and scrubbed the legs with a Pumie Scouring Stick and Bar Keepers Friend. 

This worked really well. I was able to remove most of the rust and all of the chipping paint on the metal legs. I gave the chairs a final wipe down with Windex before I started taping for spray paint. I covered all of the exposed wood with tape and cut up plastic grocery bags. Sorry I don't have a picture of this step! It took a while to cover all of the wood, but it was well worth it. The spray paint turned out great! I used a Rustoleum gloss spray paint in a color called Seaside. 

Here's one of the chairs post spray painting (the feet are still taped in this pic). 

Now for the fun part, painting the backs. Since the chairs are going in the playroom, I used the playroom fabrics as my inspiration for the color and design. 

This is the primary fabric for the room's roman shades. It is closer to the color of the chair legs in person. 

This Ikea fabric is the trim on the roman shades and the fabric I used to construct a tee-pee for the room - more on that in a later post. 

Rather than copying either of the fabric's patterns on the chairs, I used colors from the fabrics (white, pink, turquoise, and navy) and the thin stripes from both to create a very simple design. After painting the fronts of the chair backs white I taped thin stripes (three for each color in random patterns) on the chairs. I did not tape all at the same time, but each color at a time (so that they could overlap) starting with the lightest color. 

 In this picture you can see a faint blue line peeking through the white. I did not seal my tape edges with my base white when I painted this chair the first time around, and my turquoise paint bled right through the tape edges. I had to sand, repaint, and re-tape. Although this process wasn't difficult, it did take a while because I had to wait for the paint to dry between each step. 

After painting all of the stripes, I applied a coat of clear poly to the wood surfaces (including the newly painted backs). I am so happy with the finished product! 

In addition to these chairs I've also nearly finished a 100+ year old steamer trunk that I bought for $20! I hope to share that project as well as the completed playroom next week. 

If you hate waiting for me to update this blog, come follow me on Instagram @mandyfarn. I've been posting lots of project projects, thrifty finds and inspiration there. 

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