A Mini-Makeover

I was going to write about how to make crystals for a homeschool project tonight but I had a talk with Travis that went something like this:

Amy- I have to write a post so I’m going to make crystals tonight

Travis- No you’re not, you’re sick.

Amy- But I have to write two posts a week and I decided I’d write on Tuesday and Thursday!

Travis- That’s fine but you’ll have to write about something else, you’re not making anything.

Amy- But it’ll only take 10 minutes!

Travis- You’re creative, you’ll figure something out.

Sadly it was too late. Travis had flipped his stubborn switch and made himself impervious to my pouty powers. Drat! So I’m pulling out a mini-makeover. It would have been the full-on makeover but it’s winter and I can’t spray paint anything again until spring.

A few years ago a friend gave some patio chairs to us. We only had a couple of lounge chairs at the time so even though these had seen better days I was thrilled to have them. Considering we’d moved into a fixer upper of a house, these chairs were a really low priority to refinish. The I bought a new table and decided to give it a go.

Here’s a closeup of what I was working with. I had to get rid of the rust and had purchased a steel bristled stripping tool for the job. Then I lost it. Really. I still haven’t found that darn thing. Refusing to give up I decided to try an electric sander with 80 grit sandpaper.

And it worked! Color me happy! That’s a whole lot of elbow grease and time that I didn’t have to put into it. Then I recruited a cutie-pie to help brush of residue.  We used a new (but low quality, inexpensive) paint brush.

I also used a thin scraping tool to scrape off spots where the paint had bubbled up and there was rust underneath. Taking more time on the front end will save you frustration when spray painting. Promise. Those areas will show up all flaky when you paint. Not that it happened to me or anything.

I needed to get the chair legs off the ground so I could paint more easily so I grabbed some old planting pots that I didn’t mind getting spray paint on.

Then I was super happy to start painting! I love painting…I hate prepping to paint. What? You mean I’m not the only one? Who knew?

I felt like I’d hit the jackpot when I saw this paint in espresso brown on clearance for less than $6 a can. I bought 3 cans because I wasn’t sure how much I needed. Now that I know how much I need, I’d recommend a can per chair and one for the patio table (that I didn’t get to).  That way you have enough for two coats on each piece of furniture and should have some leftover for touch-ups.

Here is where I’ll offer some, “don’t make the same mistakes I did” advice. First, don’t spray paint if the wind is blowing. Just don’t. Unless you want to wear as much paint as whatever your painting. Second, don’t spray in direct sunlight. The front side of the chairs was fine but when I sprayed the back side the sun blinded me. I suppose I could have waited for everything to dry on the front side and then turned the chairs around. But I didn’t. I was a bit pressed for time because I had family coming into town for Thanksgiving a couple of weeks after that. Plus we had an unusually warm autumn and you don’t get that many 70 degree days in November so I went for it.

Here’s the after. Spraying thin, even coats keeps it from dripping and gives the best results. I’ll say though that this kind of thing is pretty forgiving and is great for a first project.

And here’s a side-by-side comparison…

Pretty, no?

Here’s the wrinkle. A couple of weeks after I finished the chairs Travis bought a fire pit for me for my birthday. Next to Daisy it’s the best.gift.ever. The fire pit is black though. You know what that means? I can’t do brown chairs and a black fire pit. I could do a black fire pit and red chairs. Or a black fire pit and turquoise chairs. Or a black fire pit and black chairs. But a black fire pit and brown chairs? Not so much. That’s probably good news for you though. Because you get to see me makeover these chairs again…in the spring.

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10 thoughts on “A Mini-Makeover

  1. Funny. And I agree. You can’t do black and brown. There’s no harmony there. Just like in the wintertime, I find myself wearing, although not meaning to, brown, navy blue, grey, and black in the same outfit. Whether it’s the jacket/coat, shoes, purse, etc… and I find myself asking, “How did this happen, again?” I don’t feel myself when those colors are touching each other.

  2. Oh, I wear black and brown together all the time. I like it. Buuuut, I can see where you might not like that combination in the backyard :) Fire pits are the best – we’ve had so much quality family time around ours that I’m sure we wouldn’t otherwise have had.

  3. Love the new look. I have looked at doing the same thing with our hand-me-down chairs but I can’t stand the idea of sanding off all the rust. How long did it take? I can tell you think it’s worth it, but I’m a little lazy when it comes to sanding. :)

    • It hardly took any time at all since I used our mouse-type electric sander. That’s actually what kept me from doing it for so long. I didn’t want my arms to ache and sand for days and days. Losing the wire brush was a fluke but I’m so glad it happened.

      • hmmm. Well, I gave Becky four out of the eight, but of course I let her have the best of the 8. Also…Did yours have the rubber straps on the seat? Ours do and I have wondered about painting over that.

  4. I do have the rubber straps and they got paint all over them. This paint sticks to anything and since I won’t ever use the chairs without seat cushions (they’re ridiculously uncomfortable) nobody will see it so I didn’t worry about that.

    • I just thought about that again and the straps are visible on the sides so if that really bothers you then you’ll probably want to stick to the original color of the chairs.

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