How to repaint wooden chairs

Written by john michael
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How to repaint wooden chairs
Kitchen chair (chair image by hazel proudlove from

Re-finishing wood furniture can help revitalise old furniture that has become dated or looks shabby. It does not take a high level of skill to repaint a wooden chair, but it can be a slow process. This depends on the condition of the chair, which can be dirty, dusty and in bad shape. The key to a good job is the preparation; in this case, it consists of cleaning the chair, removing all loose paint and sanding properly.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paint scraper
  • Sandpaper
  • Small steel-bristle brush
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • White spirit
  • Clean rags

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  1. 1

    Examine the condition of the chair. Look to see if anything is broken or missing and make sure the joints are secure and nothing is loose. If any of these conditions are present, you will want to address and correct them before moving on to repainting.

  2. 2

    Remove any loose paint with a paint scraper. Go over the entire chair, paying particular attention to the areas with fine detailing, to make sure there is no loose paint. Use the steel-bristle brush to get into the corners and other difficult to reach areas. If you paint over any loose paint, the new paint will flake off quickly.

    How to repaint wooden chairs
    Remove loose paint (old paint image by Christopher Hall from
  3. 3

    Sand the entire chair with fine-gauge sandpaper. You do not want any loose splinters of wood exposed or chips. The sandpaper should remove both of these issues. Fill in any major chips or scratches with wood filler and then sand the surface smooth.

  4. 4

    Take the fine-grit sandpaper and feather in areas where there is still paint on the chair. Smooth the paint out so there is not a sharp edge between the wood and the paint, which would show when you repaint the chair. To feather, sand heavily on the edge of the paint and then apply steadily lighter pressure as you move inward until you reach a point where you leave it un-sanded.

  5. 5

    Wipe off the entire chair with clean rags and white spirit. This will remove any dust remaining from the sanding process, as well as any other material, such as oil or wax, which may have built up over the years. Take the chairs to a different work area that is free of dust. Let the chair dry a few hours before moving on to the next step.

  6. 6

    Take a clean paintbrush and paint on the primer in an even coat. Be sure to get the primer into all of the fine, detailed areas. Let the chair dry overnight before moving to the next step.

  7. 7

    Paint the chair with the top coat of paint. Again, get the paint into the detailed areas of the chair. Let the chair dry overnight and then repeat this step. A second coat of paint will help cover the primer and give the chair more protection.

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