Remember the thrift store library chairs?
My friend Meggan who was shopping with me when I purchased them suggested I paint them black, and several of you agreed. Mark this day down on your calendars, because it’s not often that I follow good advice. I ask for opinions all the time, but then usually go and do my own thing, often to my detriment (and I bet this annoys my friends to no end). But not this time.
This time I gave it some thought and decided black would be perfect on these chairs. I started by sanding the chairs a bit and then wiping them down with TSP Substitute.
Next I debated which paint to use. Milk paint, chalk paint or Fusion’s acrylic paint?
I love the look of hemp oiled black milk paint. I definitely wanted a distressed look for the chairs, so milk paint would have been perfect for that. I even had plenty of black milk paint on hand (both Miss Mustard Seed’s Typewriter and Homestead House’s Coal Black). But the existing finish still had a bit of shine left to it so I knew it might possibly resist the paint a little too much. I could have solved that problem with a little extra pre-sanding but the chairs have all of those legs, slats and stretchers. So. Many. Surfaces. I just didn’t want to sand them all. Plus then there is the added work of applying a topcoat to the milk paint as well. Chalk paint was out for the same reason, and also because I didn’t happen to have any black chalk paint. So in the end I decided to go with Fusion’s Coal Black. Two coats of paint and done (well, not exactly as it turns out, but almost).
Before I started painting I remembered some advice given by Sue at My Painted Door for making it easier to distress Fusion paint and decided to give it a try (read her post about distressing Fusion paint here for more details). This must have been an advice-following day for me!
So, as Sue recommended, I added a little Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish (a.k.a. Miss Mustard Seed beeswax) to all of the areas of the chairs where the paint would naturally be worn away. Then I painted them with two coats of the Coal Black.
Here is how they look before being distressed.
I imagine some of you prefer this look (especially you Betty!). But I think distressing is what brings out the life in a piece. So I sanded the areas that had beeswax applied to them by hand with some 220 grit sandpaper and voila!
And yes, it was much easier to distress the Fusion paint this way.
Applying beeswax first in areas that you want to distress before painting with Fusion acrylic paint will make them much easier to distress. Even after the paint as cured for a few days. Although I haven’t tried it, I would assume this is true of other acrylic paints as well such as General Finishes Milk Paint (which is really an acrylic paint, not a true milk paint). Also, this is basically the same technique that I use to get perfect chipping when using milk paint. However, the acrylic paint doesn’t chip. It just becomes easier to sand away.
Normally I don’t add a topcoat to my Fusion paint because it has a built in top coat and is very durable and washable on its own. However, in this case the bare wood in the distressed areas looked a bit fresh. Plus once you have sanded through to the bare wood, those areas are not protected. So I got out my Fusion black wax and added just a bit of it to the distressed areas to darken up and protect the freshly exposed wood.
Although you are only seeing one chair in my photos, I do have a matched pair.
However I think I’ll price them separately since some people might need just one chair, for a desk for example.
If you are in need of a distressed black library chair (or two), be sure to check my ‘available for local sale’ page for more info.