Monday, 28 April 2014

DIY Chairs

Hello Everyone and happy spring time!

The husband and I have just moved into our new apartment right in the heart of beautiful historic Schaffhausen (post to follow soon). The location could not be more perfect, with the emerald green Rhein river and lots of lovely shops, cafes and bars right at our doorstep.
As Swiss apartments come completely unfurnished, I've set myself the challenge (I know, me and my challenges) to make, up-cycle and re-use as much of our furniture as possible. You can all look forward to a couple of DIY Home posts! Up first: chairs...
In Switzerland, there's lots of these handy second-hand shops called Brockenhäuser selling literally everything from used furniture to electric appliances, children's toys or musical equipment. They are usually run by charities like the Salvation Army and super cheap... (unless you go to Zurich, where hipsters have pushed prices up big time).

So for this project, I got a bunch of old, unremarkable-looking wooden chairs from our local Brockenhaus. I am hoping to give them a cool distressed look to match my grand vision of a retro-industrial-apartment.
If you like the result and want to try it yourself, all you need is:
- sanding paper
- an electric sander, if you can get your hands on one
- wood paint, primer and paint brushes

I sanded down the first chair, making sure to take off all the varnish and leaving the surfaced a bit roughened up, which will allow the paint to stick better. I used an electric sander for as much as possible - it makes your life so much easier - but the fine parts I had to do by hand using plain old sandpaper. If you're going to paint the chair later you don't need to sand it all down to an even finish, so don't worry if it looks patchy.

After sanding I wiped the chair down with a wet cloth, making sure to remove all the sawdust. I then based it with the primer. As there was no dark grey primer in the shops, I mixed black and white paint and added a little bit of water to create my own primer. You will probably have to base it twice, if not three times to cover the wood fully. Make sure to leave enough time to allow the paint to dry.

left: chair with dark grey primer, right: after applying light grey top coat

To achieve the vintage distressed look I used light grey paint and roughly painted over the now dark grey chair. I made sure to let the paint brush run dry, creating the brush pattern and leaving the dark grey to peak through. If I accidentally covered the dark-grey too much, I used a blunt knife to scrape off some of the light grey paint again.
And finished was my first retro dining room chair!

Before                                                                                                          After

I'm so pleased with the result and can't wait to get started on these guys... I'll update once they're all done...

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