How to distress kitchen chairs

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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How to distress kitchen chairs
Giving a kitchen chair a time-worn appearance is not difficult. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Distressing kitchen chairs is a way to paint them so that they coordinate with shabby chic decor. Other decorating styles that distressed furniture works well with are country, rustic, vintage or casual. Using a faux paint finish to distress the kitchen chairs is such an uncomplicated process, you may decide to do your kitchen cabinets or dining table to match. It requires inexpensive supplies and little time or effort to create kitchen chairs that have an aged appearance that makes them look like vintage hand-me-downs from grandma.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Feather duster or lint-free cloth
  • Masking or painter's tape
  • Acrylic paints
  • Small paintbrush
  • Regular white school glue
  • Fine-grit sandpaper (optional)

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  1. 1

    Clean your chair of dust, cobwebs or other debris with a feather duster or lint-free cleaning cloth. This helps the paint adhere to the wood surface.

  2. 2

    Cover the edges of any upholstery, caning or vinyl that are on the chair with masking or painter's tape. This prevents you from accidentally getting paint on the fabric or caning.

  3. 3

    Paint the wood surfaces of each chair with your colour choice for the base coat. For a basic wood-looking surface, use black or brown paint for the base coat and a lighter brown for the second colour choice. Any two colour choices are acceptable; just make sure the finished product coordinates well with your interior. For instance, for a retro look, you can use a base coat of pink or red and a second colour of white or off-white. The finished faux technique cracks the second colour choice and reveals the colour of the base coat. Another idea is to use yellow as your base coat and a baby blue colour for the secondary coat of paint.

  4. 4

    Allow all the chairs to dry before continuing with the faux finish process.

  5. 5

    Spread a layer of glue onto one of the chairs with a clean paintbrush. It is important that you do not allow the glue to dry; therefore, work on one chair at a time for this step. A thick layer of glue will result in wide cracks in the second colour choice. A thin layer of glue will result in fine lines with a crackle appearance.

  6. 6

    Apply the second colour choice directly onto the sticky glue surface with a clean paintbrush. Allow it to dry fully while you go on to the other chairs. You can watch the second colour start to crack during the drying process. Continue working on one chair at a time until they are all done. Allow them to dry completely.

  7. 7

    Use a clean paintbrush to apply another layer of glue to the distressed surface of the wood. This seals the crackle-look finish and protects the wood surface. Allow the chairs to dry thoroughly before using them.

Tips and warnings

  • Sand the chairs in areas where they receive the most use, such as the seat bottoms and the area where you grasp the chair to pull it out from the table, to give them even more of a distressed appearance. Use a fine-grit sandpaper and sand only down to the base coat of paint.

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