Rejuvenated Chairs, Relieved Mrs. O

I have had a reading stool for a long time. It's just your basic wooden bar stool from Target that probably cost me around $20 when I first started teaching. It's that light wood, and I use it constantly, so suffice it to say that after 7 years in the classroom and two moves across the country, it was in rough shape.

When I was teaching in Washington, a lot of teachers would put things they didn't want in the teachers' lounge. Actually, that's happened everywhere I've taught, but this short story takes place in Washington. Anyway, someone left high kitchen chairs (or a stool with a back as I refer to it) for the taking. I took one and used it in addition to my stool, mostly in my carpeted area where I did a lot of whole group lessons. Anyway, that was the same wood as the stool, and when we moved to Virginia I didn't have room for both in my classroom, so naturally the trusty old stool got to come to the classroom and the chair became a nuisance in our baseball rivalry room at home.

Since it's summer time, I've had nothing but time on my hands so I decided I'd take my skills, or lack thereof, to repainting the stools. (Thank you Pinterest for making me think I am a do-it-yourselfer.) So I decided I would paint the stools to my blue theme and bring them both in to my much larger, new classroom.

Well, let me warn you: this wasn't cheap. I had thought a can of paint, a brush, and voila! No, no, no! This was a process, one that had me at Home Depot more than I've ever been. It took me two days just to decide what paint I would use. Then I researched on line to determine what I needed to do. I got two conflicting reports. One said that I could use bonding primer without sanding and the other confirmed that sanding was necessary. Since I live in a condo, I don't really have an outside area to spray paint, so I decided it best to get a can of paint so I could complete my work on the balcony. I decided to do the stool first, without sanding and just using the bonding primer. I also had the fantastic (read as: overzealous) idea that I would paint the legs and rungs two different colors! Ah yes, that was indeed a treat!  I had to do one color one day, then wait for it to dry, then wrap the whole thing in painters tape to paint the rest. FYI: The paint still dripped down the side. It was, in fact a challenge. Then, 4 days later, I had to apply a sealant, because if I want the paint to last and not chip, I need to seal it. I don't know how much money I spent, but let's just say that by the time I got to the chair, it got painted one color. I also sanded the chair and to be honest, I don't think it made that much difference since I applied the bonding paint. In the end, it was a lot more work than expected, but I am thrilled with my new chairs and I know they will be a wonderful addition to my classroom.

Here's the short list of this process:

1) Sand object down. If you don't feel like doing this part, get a bonding primer and apply a coat or two. Let it dry completely before painting.
2) Paint chair using whatever paint color you choose. You will want at least two coats. If you decide to paint in two colors, though not my recommendation, be sure to get some painter's tape and wrap quite a few times after it's completely dry. If you can spray paint, go for it, but be sure to research how to spray evenly. If you use a brush, it will look like you used a brush. If you use a mini-roller, you will get those little hard bumps. I used a brush on the stool and a roller on the chair and I liked the brush outcome much better.
3) Use paint sparingly and look out for drips. This was my biggest problem in the final product. I have some areas that dried in drip shape. After painting, go around the item and be sure it's evenly distributed, especially if you are doing a darker color.
4) If you plan to use what you are painting often, put a clear coat sealant on top. If it's just for decoration, you probably don't need it.
5) One additional suggestion, because Home Depot has everything you can think of: get the felt circles for the bottoms of your chairs so they don't scratch your floors. They can be bought in square, circle, or as a sheet. But be careful the adhesive on them is STRONG! You will peel paint off if you don't place it right the first time. Trust me!
6) Pat yourself on the back and pour yourself a refreshment. Your chair has new life and you've completed a do-it-yourself project!

I wish I had taken pictures pre-primer, but I didn't. So here's the chair with primer:

The stool before I added the second color:

The completed stool!

The completed chair!



  1. Ha! Just the way a DIY should be posted. Patience is needed, takes longer than it seems, no shortcuts, mistakes included. When I see DIY posts that turn out perfect and the person said they have never attempted it before, I get a bit suspicious. This is the 2nd time I've seen a real post on stools. Think I'm sticking to foam padding and material or good old designed contact paper!


  2. That's a much cheaper idea, and I'm sure it will look just as fabulous, maybe even more since you won't have paint drips! It will also save you numerous trips to Home Depot :-)


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