Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Painted Chairs

How many of you like to paint chairs? I love to paint chairs.  I met a lady who loved color, so of course I had to show her some of my colorful things I had painted. She was so enamored that she decided to have me paint some chairs for her dining room table. She is having her husband make her a farm table for them to go around. This is part of a series of 4 chairs that I painted for her.  She wanted them all different. She is such a fun and vibrant person..

One of the questions I get a lot, is "Did they tell you what they wanted on them, or what colors to use?" Usually I visit with a customer about their interests, and colors they are drawn to. I then have them look at my blog and see if there is anything in particular they like or maybe even dislike. That gives me a pretty good idea of what to include or omit on their piece.  Most generally they tell me they want to be surprised, and to just use my imagination. In this particular instance, I went to her home and saw the room she was going to put the chairs in and we picked out some colors she  liked. As I toured her home, I got a very good sense of what she liked, and that she was a very colorful person. I saw things I knew had to be included on her chairs. She had already told me that she loved the big flowers I paint, and had talked about putting big flowers on all of them, but of course I had a little different idea after seeing her home. You will see what I did as you read through this post....

I keep thinking the thing that takes the longest is the spindles and the little knobs with all the details, but the truth is, it all takes a long time! Lol! The knobs do take a long time because every time I paint one color, I get it on the neighboring color, then I touch that up and I get it back on the first frustrating!!! But eventually I get it right and ..perrrrfect, which is the way I like them. 

The easiest way to paint spindle legs is like on a table where you can remove them and just twirl them in your hand while you paint. Chairs are more challenging and I end up turning the chair upside down, sideways, and on the other side, then on the other side, then back again (to touch up what I just screwed up lol!) lot of lifting. 

I love doing big flowers, and what is interesting to me is the fact that each time I start a flower, I think "well this certainly isn't turning out as well as the last one. Wonder what else I can do to it...."  Then I walk away for a while, and when I come back and start layering colors, it starts taking shape.  As it turns out, I usually was only half done when I was dissatisfied because I completely paint over the original flower. The original flower becomes just a base.  Does that ever happen to you?

One tip that I will share is my table I work on. It is an old TV swivel stand that I put a larger piece of plywood on top of, then covered it with an old towel so that it is soft and won't scratch the piece I am working on. It turns so I can reach several angles without jumping up from my stool all the time. You see them lots of times at garage sales.  By the way, my stool also rolls. Most things in my studio are on wheels so that I can move them when I need to. The stool is a auto mechanic's stool that my brother had for bar stools. Now I wish I had bought 2 of them at his garage sale..... It's all about making things easier and more convenient when you paint.

And finally, the end.  I like to put something fun and sweet on the back.  These chairs will be around a table so the backs will be visible all of the time.

The Turquoise chair is done, and Linda loved it, which is the best part...the smile when they see it! 

One of the things I saw at Linda's house when I toured it, were owls..and owls, and more owls. So, I asked the obvious question, Do you like owls??!  Of course she did!  It was a no brainer that owls were something I would put on one of  her chairs. 

 What started out as a great idea for the back of the chair turned into tedious work trying to come up with all the different designs. Needless to say, I was glad to be done with that part.

And..of course the little something to make the back interesting.

Here is the other flower chair. It was really fun to work on. I can't wear yellow, but I love to paint it! When Linda asked me to paint the chairs for her, she only had a couple of chairs. I found 3 chairs like this at a Goodwill Store and picked them up for her. I kept one and we used 2 of them. We didn't want to have 3 alike, and one odd one, so we used 2 of her mismatched chairs to finish out the set. I like this style, it has a lot of great lines. 

 I couldn't get the color adjusted right on this picture, it was outside and a sunny day. But you get the idea. The flower is more brilliant than this in person.

 I loved the way the back turned out. It is my favorite back out of the four. I like the way the colors blend.

 To get this effect I use a yellow base, then go over it with the turquoise, and go back in with some of a bright purple wash. I really like the way these colors blend and layer.   I think I will do my remaining chair I kept in this color. 

And, something interesting on the back. 
I would like to get a picture of them all together, but alas, I delivered them at different times. 

Hope you have enjoyed this. If you want to see more of my posts, sign up with your email and then when I post something new you will get an alert. If you like to paint chairs too, I would love to see some of your projects. You can email them to me at , or share them in your comments so we can all enjoy them!

Until later, remember " Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections."

TaTa for now. Carolyn


  1. Gorgeous! I can't decide which one I like the best. What kind of paint do you use? And do you seal the chairs with something? I have an old chair I'd like to paint on. I don't want to paint the whole chair -- want it to still look old, but I'd like to paint something on the seat or back of the chair.

    1. Hi Annette! Sorry for the late reply, I have been out of town away from the computer. I use craft paints from Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Demco, Folk Art and Americana. To prepare your chair, as I would for a durable finish I would feel confindent to sell... The spot I am going to paint on, I would remove any loose paint first. Then I would lightly sand the spot (so the shineness is scuffed up), prime it with some primer a little smaller than the picture I want to paint(the primer makes the paint stick to the chair). Then you can just start painting with the decorative paints. I like the craft paints because of the blending capabilities, and of course I can afford to have EVERY color in the world because they are only a buck or so apiece! Let the paint cure for at least 24 hours before coating it with a polyurethane. If you use a lot of black, like black and white stripes or outlining against white, I would lightly spray it with a spray sealer or varnish to seal it and keep it from smearing, very lightly. I use heavy duty Varathane for my top coats because it bonds to itself for several coatings. Other polys or varnishes require sanding in between coats to bond to themselves.I hand paint the top coat on because it is more durable.I try to just get a top coat on with minimal brushing for the first coat to get it sealed good. If you missed a spot get it with the second coat, don't over brush on the first coat. You could even throw a coat on the whole chair to preserve it and make the whole chair have the same sheen.If you are not coating the whole chair be careful not to over spray when you spray to set the picture before you apply the poly by hand. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at, or call or text me at 402 750 1114. Good Luck! I would love to see what you do. Send me a picture. Hope this helps!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Carolyn, I met you at my garage sale in Marion! I love your pieces!!! Here is my blog... It was great meeting you!!! Kim

  3. It was nice meeting you Kim, your site is also very cool!Thanks for the compliments. Your work is so intricate and small, I would be all thumbs!

  4. I paint chairs also and loved your work, it is similar to what I do. I loved the owl chair and the first thing that came to my mind was, you could do a cute font that says " OWL SIT HERE ".... I don't know just why my mind works like that, but OH WELL. Anyhow, loved all your work and esp the sweet little something you put on back of chair really makes it extra special.

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