Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Chair with Potential... Part 2

I spent the last few days painting my antique cane-back chair. I chose a creamy off-white color with an antique glaze over it. Here's how I did it...

Step 1: Sand

The chair had a thick coat of old yellowed varnish on it, which I didn't fully realize until I began sanding and unleashed a cloud of fine varnish dust. Fortunately, I had taken it outside before I started. Unfortunately, I was sanding it by hand on a 90 degree day. It was a sweaty, dirty, job. But it was well worth it!


Step 2: Paint
With the nasty old varnish sanded into oblivion, I had a nice smooth wood base to start painting. I covered my coffee table with cardboard and set the chair up on the coffee table to paint it. Raising it off the floor was a huge help!

I didn't use a primer, but 2 coats of paint did a fair job of covering the leftover reddish stain that I didn't completely sand off. I ended up adding a third coat to the arms and a few spot on the back where a pinkish tint was still showing through.

The color I used is called "Buttermilk" from Olde Century Colors.

Step 3: Distress
Next, I used my 100 grit sandpaper again and sanded through just a few of the edges around the legs and arms and back, places where the finish would naturally wear. I don't like to go overboard with distressing, but I wanted a nice antique look.

Step 4: Glaze
To glaze my chair, I choose a Martha Stewart Living color called "Crevecoeur".  FYI: I looked it up - apparently "Crevecoeur" is a rare breed of chicken from France. How very Martha. :)

I picked this color because at Home Depot it was one of "Martha's Picks" which meant it was premixed in these handy little 8 oz. sample cans for only $3.00. Easy!


I mixed a little of my French Chicken paint with enough water to get a nice runny mix. The color was a little greener than I was expecting, but it actually worked really well as an antiquing glaze. So often, watered down browns end up looking too orange for my taste, and this one definitely did not.

I brushed the watery glaze onto one section of the chair...

And then wiped off the excess with a damp rag, leaving just a hint of color.

The glaze settles into all the little scratches, so the more you rough up the painted surface before you start, the darker your glaze will end up.

I decided not to replace the old caning with the hole in it. It doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would, and since I'll be using it up against the wall in the bedroom, a pillow covering the front will be good enough for me. Imperfections just add to the charm!

Now on to choosing fabric for the seat and uphostering!


  1. I LOVE that chair and that little imperfection wouldn't bother me either! Love It! Martina

  2. Great job on the chair! Your antiquing technique worked out wonderfully.


  3. I LIKE it! & the hole? adds to it's charm!

  4. Found your blog via the Parade of Homes and I love it!

  5. Just found your blog through Favorite Paint Colors. I so love your kitchen! I'm your newest follower and am adding you to my blog roll so I won't miss anything. You are so smart to decorate up your rentals. I did that...I lived in apartments for years and years while my friends waited to get serious furniture...I was buying and collecting and when I moved into my house...I had pretty things to fill it up with. Which was good because with a house payment and all the house expenses...I didn't have money to buy pretty house stuff. I think it was the smartest way to go. Someday you will put all of this into your first house and it will be a showplace. Not that your place isn't super nice now...but you know what I mean.


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