Tag Archives: painting

Refinished Kitchen Chairs…finally


I did something out of character this month – I finished a project! It only took me almost 2 years. Two years of sitting on folding chairs at our kitchen table because I was refinishing the kitchen chairs. My husband was super happy about that.

Let’s take a look at what I started with, shall we?

Chairs Before

Dirty fabric, peeling paint layers, ripping plastic covering, bleh colors – in dire need of a makeover

I bought these chairs from a local yard sale site with the intention of refinishing them, but they sat around fooooooreeeeeveeerrr (as in years) before I ever started. I knew I wanted something brighter and more fun, but I never found a fabric I really liked. I had this picture sitting around on my phone as inspiration for a while:

Inspiration Pic

I love the bright colors and clean white look and the lines of the chairs. But again…what to do about fabric. I still hadn’t found any I loved at a price point I also loved. And then one day it struck me – why not forgo the fabric and have hard chairs and doodle on the seats myself? I realized that I didn’t even really want to use fabric because people live here and sit and eat and stand on these chairs, so what’s the point? I hate plastic over fabric and I hate dirty fabric and mostly I hate cleaning fabric (or anything for that matter – let’s be real). So, with my friend’s own project providing the catalyst for me, the folding chairs moved into the kitchen, the kitchen chairs moved into the garage, and I started tearing my chairs apart.


Whomever last upholstered these chairs was. not. fooling. around. The staple situation was out of control. A representative sampling of about 2-3 inches below:

Upholstery Staples

That’s after the plastic layer had already been removed. Each chair had 2 layers like this on the seat and like a million on the backs. At least I’m pretty sure it was like a million. I lost count.When I got all of the staples out, and ripped the padding off, I found seats that were in pretty decent shape and decided I’d use them for doodling instead of adding another layer of fresh wood on top. Just had to clean off the glue and do a little sanding.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

That glue never did cooperate. In fact, It’s still wreaking havoc on the paint job. And believe me, I tried everything I, and the home improvement store guys, and the internet could think of. I thought I had it pretty much under control until I put a base layer of paint on the seats. And by that point, I didn’t care anymore. So apparently the solution was apathy all along. But I digress.

Staples removed, seats cleaned (and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned) and cracks filled in and sanded. Next step was striping paint.

There were so many layers of paint on these chairs that I didn’t want to just add another, so I decided to strip them. Also took ages. Some layers were water based and some were oil based, and between them, the resulting sludge was…nasty and difficult. Eventually I prevailed. Or at least reached a point of “good enough, I don’t care anymore, let’s move on.”

Stripping the paint

Stripped Chair

One stripped – Five to go!

Next I worked on painting a base layer and then hand drawing the designs on the seats. I just used sharpies and it was enjoyable, though time consuming. You can’t really tell in the pic, but the designs fade where the glue was still causing problems through the paint.

I hate that glue.

Seats Done

I got a little OCD and … well, can YOU see how I got OCD?

I put a few finishing coats of sealant on the chairs – first a spray sealant to keep brush strokes from smearing the design, and then a more durable brush on sealant. They’ve probably got 8-12 layers of sealant of some kind. And I bet my kids will still ruin them.

With the seats done, I had to figure out the chair backs. I had made some mock-ups with cardboard.

Chair Backs

Part of the trouble was knowing how to get the slight bend of the existing back frame into the new pieces. Also, I didn’t have any means or know-how for cutting them out myself. After several failed attempts at getting someone else to do it for me, I decided to just buy a scroll saw and do it myself. And I did. (And now I have a scroll saw – mwahahahaha!)

I cut them out and sanded them down and turned my kids’ bathroom into a steam room to get them all steamy and moist and then clamped them onto the frames, hoping they’d form to the very slight bend. And they did. Mostly. I mean, in a good-enough-for-who-it’s-for kind of way.

New Backs Clamped

Used some Gorilla Glue epoxy and a nail gun to attach them and we were (FINALLY) ready to paint.

Watching Paint Dry

After all the time I had spent, waiting for the paint to dry was much harder than it should have been. You can see here that I should have put some kind of filler in the cracks where the new backs attached, but I didn’t. So there’s that. Also, the paint was kind enough to point out all of the places where I didn’t sand well enough. So there’s also that. But if you just pretend not to notice, then we can still be friends.

Put new feet protector thingies on, re-attached the seats (seriously should have been the easiest part and was a PAIN), and voila – Finished Chairs!


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They’re certainly not perfect, but they’re good enough if you don’t look too closely. (Do you sense a theme here?) We were sure happy to retire the folding chairs, and now I get to spend the day getting mad at my kids for spilling on them and stuff. It’s super fun.

One last look:

Chair Makeover Less Pinning More Doing

Next step – the table.

Check back in a couple of years on that.


Green Eggs & Ham? Yes, please!


Long and long ago, I stumbled upon a doodling technique that I kind of became obsessed with. I would absentmindedly fill random pages with these doodles. One particular day, I filled in the doodles with red and white:


“Hmmmm,”I said to myself, “I like that. It’s very Dr. Seussy.” (And, in case you didn’t know, I love me some Dr. Seuss.) And then Crazy Me piped up and said, “Hey, what if I painted a whole wall like this?! That would be amazeballs!” Plus, I always wanted to turn our playroom into a Dr. Seuss room. So when I brought this earth shattering idea to my husband, he wisely agreed to let me do what I want. (He is a wise man.) But he also wisely suggested I do it on the shorter wall in the playroom, rather than the biggest one (which was my original plan). I promptly poo-pooed that idea. Because BIGGER IS BETTER!

But really, it was a wise suggestion, which I eventually adopted after enough time had elapsed to pretend it was my idea. And it’s a good freakin’ thing I did because these kinds of projects always turn out harder and more time consuming than you think they will, right? Of course right.

So painting one wall turned into painting all of the walls and the shelves and purging the toys and replacing the honkin’ big falling apart wardrobes where games and toys lived and replacing the light fixture and…well…you know how it is…


So blah, blah, blah and yadda, yadda, yadda, here are the pics you came for. I will try to keep the commentary to a minimum and in the captions. Enjoy.


The view from the doorway


Facing the Nothing-Exciting-Here wall, where we will eventually hang a flat screen television, but it just gets to be boring for now.


Storage bins for seating and toy storage. Let’s take a closer look at that Mom’s-Gone-Crazy wall, shall we?


Whoop! There it is! Don’t ask me how long it took. It was basically eons. And I eventually recruited help from an amazing friend who doesn’t hate me for being psycho.


And above the Mom’s-Gone-Crazy wall, we have the movies…


…And some books. (So I forgot to go hunt down all of the Harry Potter books before getting this picture. Obviously, they’re being read. As they should be.) And also…


Because Dr. Seuss.


Facing the back wall.


Another one of my crazy ideas. I actually made this shelf long before deciding to mega-doodle on the wall. FYI – Michael’s crates are super flimsy and probably not the best choice for creating precariously balanced bookshelves. You’re welcome.


Facing the corner.


Can we just take a moment to ogle this light fixture? It was my birthday present. How can you not love a light like that?!


You can only play with us if you have a star on your belly. Just kidding. You can’t play with us.


Facing the gallery wall. Let’s look a little closer at a few things…



Green Eggs and Ham? Yes please!


Personalized family string art. Go ahead and look up ribald. We won’t judge.


And last but not least, our growth chart rulers. Let’s not discuss the photo of our youngest child, mmmkay?

So there it is. For the record, this is the first time (and probably the last) that the playroom has ever been this clean, which lasted just long enough for me to take pictures (because I banished the children) and then it was trashed again. I actually took a picture of what it usually looks like. But it was so bad, my camera ate it rather than let it become public.

Have any questions about what you see? Feel free to ask! I’d tell you that tutorials for several things will be coming…but let’s be honest. I have no plans to tutorialize anything here. I mean, it took me 6 months just to add the last few touches and get these pics up. I would love to answer some individual questions if you have em, though!

Finally Out of the Garage


Way back in June, I shared a picture of a cabinet I had that was taking up my car’s spot in the garage while it waited for a bit of a makeover. At that point, it had already been sitting there for two months. Fast forward to October, AKA the onset of freakin’ coldness in Utah, and it was still sitting the garage taking up my car’s spot. So I finally decided to tackle the beast so as to reclaim the garage before snow hits. {And by “I decided” I mean that my husband finally nagged me enough to make me do it. Now if I could just get the claw foot tub out of there, we’d be in business.}

Just as a reminder, this is what I started with:



And now, after much blood sweat and tears on my part {HINT: Don’t rush things, pay attention to the temperature recommendations on the dang spray paint, and whatever you do, do not, I repeat DO NOT decide you won’t need primer. Because you probably will. And then you’ll be mad at yourself and then you’ll start rushing things because the temperature is dropping because you avoided the project all summer and now winter is knocking at your door and then…well, just use a good primer, okay?}, I finally have a bright and cheery cabinet in which to store all of my sewing supplies:



Now, I totally made a ton of mistakes along the way, and in the end, I just gave up on some things {like the blue overspray that ended up on the front of one of the doors} because I was soooo done and honestly, out of time weather-wise. It had to come in immediately or I’d be scraping ice from my windshield all winter {which, when you’ve become accustomed to a garage, totally sucks}:


It’s not easy to see in the pictures, but I did do some light distressing by rubbing some high grit sandpaper over some of the edges. Nothing major, but enough to make it looked loved and just a bit chipped and old:


I also replaced the knobs on the doors, but kept the original drawer pulls:


And one last shot of the whole shebang:


So what do you think? Have you ever refinished furniture with paint or new stain or even reupholstering something (that might be my next big project)? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

**Added to this linky party on the SNAP! blog**

Painting Ceilings


As if painting ceilings weren’t torture enough, one day the devil woke up and said, “I have a brilliant idea! Heavily textured ceilings!”


Evil, I tell you. So evil.

And whose idea was it to paint the ceiling anyway?! I’m going to have words with her!

In other news, if you happen to buy too much paint for a project, say…like 1 1/2 gallons too much paint…and you decide to keep it on hand, might I suggest storing it indoors at a nice room temperature and not in the garage where it has the potential to freeze during the winter, so that when you need it again a year later and you open it to use it, it is still…well…usable. Not that I would know anything about that.

In other other news, Mr. LessPinningMoreDoing vetoed adding glitter to the ceiling paint, much to the dismay of sparkly fans everywhere.

Trying Not to Bite the Dust


I present to you PROOF that I am actually working on something and not just neglecting the blog for naught. And when I say “something” I kind of mean something big:


Photo courtesy of my super awesome 9 year old

Ain’t that smexy?! #1 – the bandana is because I did not want to wash my hair. Again. For the third time in less than 24 hours due to sanding mud yesterday and teaching a Zumba (R) class this morning. #2 – the face mask is for the dust that I did not want to coat my lungs with. I’m high maintenance like that. #3 – the glasses are because while I was working on sanding the ceiling, the dust liked to land in my eyes. #4 – those are headphones. For rockin’ tunes. And if you’d like to come mud and tape and sand with me, you, too, can have your own super smexy getup!

Random fact: the first time I learned to mud and tape new drywall was when I was twelve. It’s no more fun now than it was then.

Someday I will show you what it is I’m working on and maybe even tell you all about it. But for now, I’ll leave you this clue: it starts with a “B” and ends with an “athroom.”

In the meantime, go cook some corn in a cooler. It turns out AWESOME and is easier even than putting on the pounds in a donut shop!

There, now I feel as though I’ve done my Pinterest duty and can go to bed.

You know what? I think I’m going to tag this post under hair because surely someone wants to recreate this amazing look, right?! ;)