A Before & After: How to add depth and dimension to chairs with paint

This is a little late coming to you.  I finished these chairs (there were 4 of them) a couple of weeks ago.  Ya ya ya, I know, I’m behind…but in my defense, did you watch the video I posted yesterday?  Sometimes it takes awhile to get things accomplished around here.  😉

These chairs could quite possibly be my favorite makeover yet.  I searched and searched for space for these bad boys in my house, but came up empty handed.  I was so sad to see them go, but they did find a great home so I think I will be ok.  So uuuuh, you wanna see how I painted these guys?

First the before…not great.

But, I fell in love with all the detailing and wanted to showcase the all the twists and turns of the back.  I removed the cushion and did a rough first coat on the frame

in Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Old White.  And when I say rough, I mean just kind of slop it on there…it doesn’t have to cover all the cracks and crevices.  See?

In fact, it’s probably better not to get it in all the details.  It will add more dimension to have some of that original dark wood showing through.  After that coat was dry, I took a dry brush and lightly covered it with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Coco.  Make sure your brush stays dry.  If you get too much paint on your bristles, wipe it across a paper towel or an old t-shirt to get the excess off.

Again, you are not looking to do a solid coat in Coco <or whatever accent color you choose>.  You are just going over the details to highlight and add dimension to your piece of furniture.   Just dry brush it on so you get something a little closer to this.

In this next picture, you are able to see where the chair started and where we are now.

It was still a little too “clean” and light for me.  So, I took some 80 grit sandpaper to the edges and parts of the frame to “chipify” it all up.

At this point you can dust it off and top it with a layer of clear wax, but I still wasn’t satisfied with the look of this chair.  I wanted to use some dark wax to help age it up a bit.  So, I first did a coat of Annie Sloan’s Clear soft wax.  BIG TIP to remember when using dark wax: never put the dark wax directly on your paint.  It WILL stain it and you will be so mad at yourself.  Just remember, if you wan to use the dark wax, ALWAYS do a layer of the clear soft wax first.  That way, there is a barrier between the paint and your dark wax.  Make sense?  Good.  Working in sections, I put the layer of clear wax on, then immediately (no drying time in between) went in and applied my dark wax with a separate brush.  After you have covered the small section, go back with a old cut up t-shirt and wipe the dark wax away.  It will remain in all the nooks and crannies and age your piece of furniture.  It’s amazing…you’ll freak out.  😉

The above picture was taken right after the dark wax application.  Play around with the dark wax.  If you get it looking too dark, go back with your clear wax (with your clear wax brush) and remove some of the dark.  If it’s too light, leave the dark wax on longer before you wipe it away with your old t-shirt.  You cannot mess it up.

Once you are happy with the look, do one last application of the clear wax making sure to wipe away any excess with cheesecloth or an old t-shirt.  You will have a nasty mess if you go overboard with the wax…trust me.  I have learned from experience.  Let the chair frames cure for a couple of days and then you are good to go!

If you are wanting to give chalk paint a go, start with a chair.  Don’t be afraid…just go for it. Playing around with these paints is the way to learn and almost every mistake can be fixed.  If you end up hating it, just paint again directly over the wax.  I have a sofa table that I just cannot get right.  I have already painted it twice and I’m trying to live with it before I attempt  to give it a go for the third time.