Introduction: Sugar Skull Panda Chair
I stumbled across an old wood kitchen chair and though i could use it for at least something if i gave it a little work. It sat around for a few weeks in my basement until i decided i was going to re-purpose it as a gift for a friend of mine. This overall is a pretty easy project as long as you have the patience to let the paint dry! ;)
What you need:
- a Chair / Or any wood furniture really!
- various sized paint Brushes
- Sandpaper ( i used both 60 & 120 grit paper for my palm sander as well as by hand)
- Polyurethane semi-gloss (any finish is fine but i like shiny!)
- latex paint, Teal, Red, Yellow, Orange, Purple, Black
- spray paint
Step 1: Step 1: Sand and Prime
First thing your going to want to do is clean up the chair, and with the coarse grit sandpaper both by hand and with a palm sander or whatever else you have, smooth out and take off whats there for the existing finish. I pretty much focused on sanding the seat, arm rests and back rest. i just made sure there was no rough edges on the spindles with one or two quick passes.
Then switched it up to the finer grit paper for again the seat, arm rests and backrest. Again, focused on the parts that would be most used, as too not burden myself with trying to sand the spindles of the legs etc.
Then you just get your brush and Prime away. It took me about 3 - 4 coats of the primer to get a nice consistent sold white. Make sure you do let the primer dry fully before you go again.
I find that running two projects at the same time gives me the opportunity to be busy so i dont sit around and "watch the paint dry"
Step 2: Step 2: Draw, Trace, Stencil Whatever!
Ok so i was specifically going for a Mexican theme, and because the target gift receiver had a thing for Pandas , i did some google searching for Sugar Skulls, as well as Sugar Skull Pandas. I came up with a few good results that i used for reference material.
I was excited to to do this so i neglected to take any shots of the actual drawing process. But pretty much i drew onto the prime coat with a pencil, and then traced my lines with a black sharpie. Sharpies do really well as a medium on a prime coat like this, a little erasing of the pencil lines and fill in with the sharpie. I had myself a panda.
As you can see i jumped the gun and starting painting the Teal color i picked out around the seat portion of the Chair.
I went over to the local Home Depot and grabbed a bunch of sample sizes colors, and had them mix some basic colors for me. This was a super affordable way to have paint on hand, and i still have plenty left over for the next project. Also a good tip is Home Depot has an "oops" shelf where they mixed the wrong paint for a customer. You can typically get this paint at a good discount as well.
Step 3: Step 3: More Teal As the Primary Color
I want to use Teal as a pretty dominate color in the chair. Googling Mexican Art and Culture the Teal color shows up pretty frequently. So i went ahead and did a second coat on the seat, and painted the arms and back headrest. Honestly i probably did about 2-3 coats of the teal, If your a good painter, you could get away with 1. But alas, i needed to get back in there a few times and touch up several spots.
Step 4: Step 4: Paint Gradients! Sort Of...
So i think this process is what took the longest. for the main 5 spindles of the backrest, I painted them orange. Dried, and then painted red from the bottom up and letting up the pressure as i got towards the top. I kept doing this over and over again until i was happy with the 5 of them.
Just be conscious of the amount of paint you have on your brush and always start and stop in the same direction. This gave me a rich red at the bottom and a blend into the orange.
I followed the same process for the far left and right spindles, except flipped the red. I painted the spindles Yellow, then from top down orange, gently releasing pressure as i got closer to the bottom and then Red, following the same direction and releasing pressure as i got closer to where i wanted it to transition.
Rinse brushes let dry and repeat.
I took several prolonged breaks while i did other things and would come back and paint for 5 minutes. Then go on about my day. This helped me not rush it, or get frustrated with it. I think that was key. PATIENCE.
Step 5: Step 5: Painting and OOPS Spray Paint.
Now with my chair painted. I wanted it to have a little more. I saw Flowers and vines etc frequently in the source mater i searched, So as my flower painting skills are sub par. I grabbed some flowered stencils, as well as cut a few of my own out i printed off the computer.
Pretty much just do whatever you want. I didnt want to go over board. It is a good tip to actual scotch tape your stencils down. so you dont smudge.
One struggle i had with this is that the colors were not as vibrant as i wanted them to be on the teal. This resulted in me redoing a lot of the flowers with primer, and then hand painting over the primed flower. Thats why some of these flowers look like they "glow" with a white background.
When it came to the back rest, i was having a terrible time getting at the right angle hunched over the chair, it was acutally quite uncomfortable... so i taped up an assortment of my flower stencils and took some silver and white spray paint i had and used it to fill in the flowers.
It was a little sloppy but i did give a nice silvery shine to some of the spindles... So i say its one of those "happy accidents"?
Step 6: Step 6: Poly and Finsih
The final product painted, and happy with the chair overall. Very fearful of overdoing it at this point. I took the chair outside after it was completely dry. (honestly i let it sit for more then a day) Then i took to it with the polyurethane semi-gloss to seal, protect and add a shine.
2 things only putting Poly on a chair in the spring outside. While it was quick drawing you have to watch out for flying debris landing on the chair while its still drying. I had to peal off a few random pedals and what not off the chair.
So there it is. Finished and the Recipient is very happy with it. :)
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