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Vintage chair refinished

I finally did it!  I started this project back in August and finished it late October (as I took a long break in between).  

Let’s take a look at this antique children’s chair that belonged to my 96 year old grandma when she was a child. 6 years ago, I spray painted it bright pink when my daughter was a toddler. During the refinishing process, I discovered that my grandma had painted 2 coats of paint on it decades earlier. There was A LOT of paint that I needed to strip from this chair which equaled a lot of work!

Bright pink kids chair before pic before refinishing

Supply List

I used Easy Off Oven Cleaner for the first time as a paint stripper and it really worked well, especially on the pink spray paint. It did kill my grass in various areas which means it’s pretty toxic so make sure to use this product outside in a well-ventilated area.

I also used a paint scraper and the stainless steel and copper brushes.

DIY Steps

Here are the DIY Steps:

First, spray oven cleaner on the chair.  Let it sit for 20 minutes.

DIY kids chair oven cleaner

Second, scrape the paint off the seat and use a copper or stainless steel brush to remove paint from spindles.

DIY Kids Chair Scraper

Third, rinse with water from a garden hose.

DIY Kids Chair in btw

Repeat steps 1-3 two to three more times until you get most of the paint removed.

Next, I used my orbital sander (80 grit sandpaper) and my triangle sander attachment to get in the corners and the spindles.

Even after sanding, there was still a lot of paint in the spindles. This was the most time consuming and tricky part of the whole process. So I ended up using CitiStrip in the spindles which helped a bit. I also used a sanding block and the orbital sander grit paper to remove all the paint in the corners and spindles. I definitely used a combination of these methods but if I were to do it again, I would probably stick with the paint stripper and water as that did the best on removing paint from the spindles.

Finally, I rubbed on natural paste wax by Minwax with an old rag.  

DIY Kids Chair paste wax
DIY Kids Chair

Here’s the photo of what the chair looked like with wax (on the left) and on the right (natural unfinished wood). I love the rich look that the wax brings out in the wood. This wood could be over 100 years old and it’s absolutely stunning. I’m so happy I spent all the time (I won’t lie; it was a ton of work and I spent hours stretched over months to finish this) to preserve this piece and bring it back to its’ original wood tone.

Follow along as I teach you DIY tutorials on making a beautiful home affordable. Have you ever refinished a family heirloom before? Comment below about which process you used and how it went. I’d love to hear!

Refinishing My Grandma’s Vintage Chair

Refinishing Furniture Project

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