My Love/Hate Relationship with Milk Paint

I've been really dragging my feet on the re-vamp of my second antique chair. The feedback on the first chair was good in theory, but I also experienced my first round of really very negative comments. You win some, you lose some - I guess. 


But we've had a couple of cold, rainy days around here so I finally had time to turn my attentions to this second chair. As I mentioned previously, these chairs were purchased together and in quite a state of disrepair. Once they were repaired, I opted to paint them with milk paint in light cream. 



Here's where it gets interesting. Now, I've used milk paint in the past {check it out here}, but this project really drove it home for me. This is some seriously finicky stuff. Look at the differences between the right chair and the left. Both in the same starting condition, both painted with the same paint.


Milk Paint comes in a powder form that you mix with water when you're ready to use it. It has a fairly short shelf life, recommended to be used within 24 hours. Since I knew I wouldn't be painting both chairs at the same time, I split the powder in equal parts and mixed up half the paint, saving the other half for the other chair. Makes sense, right? I thought so too. 


The first chair received two coats of paint. The paint, literally, distressed itself. Sticking in some places and not in others - but it did cover nicely with two light coats. 


The second chair took 4 coats to cover. And it didn't distress itself to the same extent as the first chair. Why? I'm not sure. Both were painted with the same paint, same conditions, etc.


So, what's the moral of this story? If you're a control freak and want the exact same finish from project to project - this is not the product for you. But if you're interested in achieving an authentic, antiqued, distressed look this product will certainly help you get there. 

Fortunately for me, although these chairs will be in the same room, they won't be side-be-side so the differences won't be quite so obvious. Either way, I'm still loving the look of this pair. And I'm really happy to mark another project off the on-going list for the master bedroom

Have a great weekend.

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until next time, 

Chair Restoration: Paint and Upholstery

Hopefully you aren't getting too sick of this chair just yet because I've got a bit more to cover. Namely, paint and upholstery.


{need to catch up? click here for the reveal and re-tying springs}

As you can probably tell, I choose to reupholster my chairs in a loose weave burlap fabric. Due to the weave of the burlap, I did not remove the existing fabric. But I did remove the existing trim, which I would consider step 1 of this stage of restoration.


Next up, paint selection and application. 

I knew I wanted a distressed paint treatment for these chairs because they were already in pretty shabby condition. So, I went with my favorite standby: Milk Paint in light cream. 


Milk paint is a finicky one for so many reasons...you mix your own paint, first of all. Not the best for consistency. 

I do like that you don't have to prime first and of course, it's non-toxic.

But, it really does have a mind of it's own. It distresses itself. Literally, sticking some places and not others. I really don't understand it, but I do love how it looks. 


For this project, I used 2 light coats, letting it dry overnight between coats. A quick, light sanding exaggerated the naturally distressed look. And finally, one coat of clear wax added a nice richness to the exposed wood and provides a protective finish for the milk paint.


Ok, on to the new upholstery. Now, as I said in my first post about this chair, I've never taken on such a big project. I've recovered a dining chair and that's about it. That being said, this is probably the next step after a simple dining chair. 


I started on the back, by simply stapling the fabric at the top, bottom and both sides. Making sure to hold it tight. Then fill in with more staples, where needed. Triming off the excess fabric. Sounds pretty simple, right? Probably because it was. 


It got a bit trickier around the arms of the chair. Cut, fold, tuck, staple. Not much more to it. 
Did I mention that I did this with just a plain, old, chunky staple gun. Of course, I'd love a fancy one, but I don't think extensive reupholstering is in my future. We'll see. 


And lastly, my favorite part, the trim. Make sure you choose something wide enough to cover your staples. I went with a simple, cream woven trim. Then I hot glued it in place. Certainly goes along way to make this project feel like a professionally completed job. 


That's all she wrote, folks. 
It's the end of the story of these formerly sad and neglected, now mostly shabby, slight chic chairs. 


until next time, 

Chair Restoration: Re-tying Springs/Upholstery Webbing

Well, one thing is for sure, this post will not be filled with beautiful images of my recent chair restoration. Instead, you'll be treated to various views of the underside of an old chair. Lucky you. 
But seriously, old chairs with springs stuck out the bottom should not be feared, this project was actually easier than I thought it would be.


Here's how she looked when I decided to tackle this project. 

I started by removing all the old webbing, which some people say you can salvage, but in this case, it just wasn't meant to be. 


Step 1: Secure the string. Start with the end of the string facing the center of the chair, nail or staple to the frame. Double over and staple/nail again to ensure a stable string. 

{I used a heavy duty jute twine and a plain old staple gun}


Step 2: Secure the string to the spring. Pulling the string tight, loop around the closest side of the spring, making sure to press the spring as tightly as possible. Then loop around the further end of the same spring. Press the second spring to the same general height and loop around the right side and then left. Trying to keep the tension of the springs as even as possible. Secure the string on the chair frame, as in Step 1. Repeat for each row of springs.


Step 3: Repeat Step 2, to form a grid over the springs. In other words, if step 2 is horizontal, step 3 will be vertical. Make sure to connect your vertical strings in the center of the spring to the horizontal strings.


Step 4: Continue in this fashion until each spring has been fully secured. I chose to go with just four ties, as show above, because these chairs are VERY occasional chairs. If your chair will receive a lot of use, I'd recommend going with at least 6 ties. You can see the original string in this shot for reference. 


Step 5: Secure your upholstery webbing to the chair frame as in step 1.


Step 6: Pulling the webbing as tight as possible, cover one horizontal row of springs at a time, securing to the opposite side of the chair frame. 


Step 7: Add the vertical strips of webbing in a basket formation.

{you can go one step further and hand stitch the springs to the webbing}

And you're done. See, that wasn't so bad, right? Ok, maybe it was a bit involved but it's worth it to salvage a chair, wouldn't you say?


So, here she is. 
Clearly, you can see the webbing from the front. 

Mr. DD said it should of been tighter, but you can literally bounce a quarter off these springs as is. I think it's just the look of this chair, at least that's what I am telling myself. Kind of reminiscent of the new deconstructed look they have going on at Restoration Hardware these days.


You didn't really think I would leave you without at least one nice photo, now did you?

I'll be back later in the week with more details about the paint treatment and upholstery.

until next time, 

Mostly Shabby, Slightly Chic Chair Makeover

Let's see... I don't even know where to start when it comes to the story of these chairs. Yes, they are a pair. And yes, I have had them forever. And yes, I have procrastinated on fixing them up for at least a couple of years now. 


Probably because it's one of the biggest projects that I have taken on to date. There was the re-glueing of the frame, the re-tieing of the springs, the installation of new upholstery webbing, the painting and distressing and finally the reupholstering. So I am sure you can understand my apprehension. 

What's that? 
Enough of my jabbering. Bring on the before, you say.
Well, if you insist. But I must warn you, it's really bad. One look and you'll understand why they sat around waiting to be repaired for the last several years.


And just so can fully understand the extent of this project...


Zoinks. Lots to be scared of in this picture. 

I read a tutorial or two online. Watched a video. And in true Liz style, I jumped right in and tackled it my own way. It may not be perfect, but it's a whole lot better than it was. 

{to view my post on re-tying springs and attaching upholstery webbing, click here
to view my post on paint selection and re-upholstery, click here.}


And now it's the perfect bedside chair. Just chippy enough to distinguish it from the white bedside dresser.  Too much white can be kind of boring, in my opinion. Gotta mix it up just a bit. 


Well, as you can see, this side of the room is coming along swimmingly. Or should I say, my side of the room. Shame I have the matching dresser and chair both waiting to be worked on.
Of course, Mr. DD doesn't care about a new bedside dresser or the perfect bit of white chippy-ness to accompany it....so there's no rush, or so he keeps telling me. Men

What did you get up to this weekend?

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until next time,