Introduction: Chair DIY Makeover

About: I'm an architect from Lisbon, Portugal that loves to create stuff and learn woodworking.

I found this chair on the street and thought that was perfect for my school project.

The theme was renovation of a chair based on a famous painting. I chose "The Antropormophic Cabinet" (1936) by Salvador Dali.

Anthropomorphic Cabinet by Dali, 1936

Dali was influenced by the theories of Sigmund Freud and created this female figure with open drawers that represent memories.

I got inspiration from this concept and created a chair full of my family's memories.

Step 1: Before, Materials and Tools


1 - The seating was completely destroyed

2 - One of the legs was missing some parts.

3 - The joints were loose.

4 - The finish was badly damaged


1 - Sandpapper (120, 240, 400 grid)

2 - Varnish

3 - Scraps of plywood (5mm)

4 - Acrylic (5 mm)

5 - Wood Glue

6 - Wood screws

7 - Cardboard


1 - Orbital sander

2 - Hand saw

3 - Wood files

4 - Screw driver

5 - Jig saw

Step 2: Fixing the Leg

1 - Glued a piece of wood in the damaged leg

2 - Using an handsaw cut the extra wood.

3 - Finished it using some wood files and sandpapper.

Step 3: Disassemble and Lots of Sanding

1 - Disassembled all the pieces that had loose joints

2 - Took the old varnish using the orbital sander

3 - I had to sand some pieces by hand using 120/240 grid

Step 4: Assembly and Glue Up

1 - Applyed glue on the joints and used some clamps to keep it in place.

2 - Used a wet rag to clean the extra glue.

Step 5: False Drawers

I forgot to take photos of the construction of the i have a scheme explaining all the details.

1 - Created cardboard templates for all the parts and cut it from 5 mm plywood:

  • 2 sides,
  • 2 backs,
  • 1 big front
  • 3 drawer fronts

2 - Made some tiny knobs with scraps of wood

3 - I set all the pieces together using glue and clamps.

Acrylic Top

1 - Using cardboard, made a template of the top of the seat for the acrylic piece.

2 - Cut the final shape using the jig saw.

3 - Pre-drill some holes for the wood screws.

4 - Sanded the rough edges

5 - Screwed the acrylic to the frame.

Step 6: Finish and Mistakes


1 - Applied the first coat of clear varnish

2 - Waited 6 hours and sanded everything with 400 grid

3 - Last coat of varnish after 12 hours


I have some cracking on the acrylic top because i used too much force when screwing it to the frame.

Step 7: Final Reveal

This is the final result with some objects inside the drawers that represent the memories of my family.

It was a really fun challenge to do and i hope that you can create your own version.


Ana Labrincha

Lisbon, PT

Before and After Contest 2017

Runner Up in the
Before and After Contest 2017