My DIY Coastal Chair Up-cycle Project in 4 Simple Steps

Step 1: Inspecting and Cleaning the Chairs

Once I got the chairs home, I inspected them to make sure that they were not rotted and structurally sound. I began the project by spraying the chairs down with a hose because there were a lot of dirt, debris, and cobwebs on each chair. After hosing them down, I cleaned them off with an old white t-shirt and general-purpose cleaning spray. The cleaning spray I used was Method brand and was purchased at Target.

Step 2: Sanding the Chairs

For the second step, I began the sanding process using my orbital sander; for this part of the sanding process, I used an 80 grit sanding pad. For the legs and corners of the chair, I used the corner cat sander with an 80 grit sanding pad. For the really resistant areas of the chair where the finish was stubborn, I used Goof Off, the spray version, and let it sit for a couple minutes. After a couple minutes, I then went back over the area with the sander. I also used a paint scraper where I needed to, mainly in the corners at the chair’s base. In between the panels on the back of the chair, I folded up 80 grit sandpaper and sanded it by hand since all of my sanding tools were too large to fit in between the panels. During this process, I also had some sanding blocks on hand just in case.

Next, I removed all the sanding dust. I used my shop vac to remove all the sanding dust from the project. However, you can also use a wet cloth to remove. If you use a damp cloth, you want to remember to let the chairs dry before the next step.

Step 3: Painting the Chairs

After the sanding dust was removed, it was time to begin painting the chairs. The paint that I used was Rustoleum brand milk paint in highland blue. I am not a brush snob because I usually throw out brushes, so I use really inexpensive brushes for projects like this. I bought several brushes from my local Family Dollar to use specifically for this project. I painted the chairs, making sure to provide medium coverage and quick brush strokes, and then I let the chairs dry overnight. The thing that I really love about this milk paint is that it is very forgiving. The next day, I used the corner cat sander and went over the paint with a fine 240 grit sandpaper. After sanding, I used a small brush to remove the sanding dust from the chair and then went over it with a dust cloth. You can also use an old t-shirt for this step.

Next, I went back over any pieces of paint that chipped off because they were built up too high with a small fan brush. I dabbed at the spots and then went over them with a complete brush stroke.

I chose not to go back over the chairs with another layer of paint because I prefer my finish to be thin so that the natural wood grain shows through a bit for a more rustic finish. If you like a more complete coverage, this would be the point where you go back and add another layer of paint and then allow the chairs to dry overnight.

Step 4: The Final Finish

For the final step, I used finish wax. I used clear wax on an old white t-shirt to go over the entire chair. I allowed that layer to dry, and then I went back in with a second layer. If you use dark-colored paint, you want to use a darker wax. So for lightly colored projects, use clear wax, and for darker projects, use dark wax, unless on the lightly colored projects you want a distressed look. In that case, you leave some of the wood bare using light brush strokes or sand heavily after painting, and then you can use the dark wax, and the portions of wood that are showing will be stained with the dark wax.

This was my simple process to save and revive some very beautiful chairs that would have otherwise ended up in the dumpster. I was very pleased with the outcome, and these chairs added a lovely seasonal touch to my coastal dining room.

View The Complete Video of This Process

Raquel Phillips is a writer, digital creator, CPT, certified group fitness instructor, and entrepreneur. She is a wife and mother of 6 amazing children. She resides in Virginia Beach, VA.

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Raquel Phillips is a writer, digital creator, CPT, and group fitness instructor. She is a wife, and mother of 6 children. She resides in Virginia Beach, VA.

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Raquel Phillips

Raquel Phillips

Raquel Phillips is a writer, digital creator, CPT, and group fitness instructor. She is a wife, and mother of 6 children. She resides in Virginia Beach, VA.

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