Introduction: Painted Old Chairs!

About: I am an artist, builder and teacher living in Japan.

We scored a truckload of old chairs and a table!

An old closed restaurant was cleaning house and put up an ad on an auction site that my lovely wife Mariko follows. She saw "free furniture" and we were there the next day with a truck.

The score: 16 chairs and a table.

This Instructable is how I brought back 6 of those chairs from the dead.



-Tools to disassemble the chairs. I only needed a screwdriver

-Orbital sander with #120 and #240 sandpaper disks.

-Painters tape.

-Paint brushes


-Annie Sloan original chalk paint as a primer.

-Your choice of color for top coat of paint.

Step 1: Let's Start!

These were in pretty decent condition.

I wanted to remove the backs and seats to paint, but ran into trouble. The backs came off easily, but the seats wouldn't budge. Oh well! I cleaned them down with a rag to get them ready for sanding.

Step 2: Sanding Time!

Sanding time! This is probably the most difficult part.

I started with 120 grit and finished with 240. Sanding is easy! Just mask up and go to town. Look how fresh and clean that seat looks after a good sanding.

I'm using chalk paint as a primer so there's no need to sand the legs.

Step 3: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I love the texture of Annie Sloan chalk paint! It's also easy to apply. For most purposes, one coat of paint is enough. Chalk Paint adheres to almost any surface, and there is rarely any need to sand or prime before painting.

I covered the seat with newspaper and painters tape before applying the chalk paint.

Step 4: Kakishibu!

I used kakishibu for stain!


"Made from the fermented juice of unripe astringent persimmons, the color comes from the tannin molecules linking together and forming a coating. More than a coloring agent, kakishibu also has strengthening, antibacterial and waterproofing properties. Kakishibu was used in China and Korea, but reached its ultimate utilization in Japan. It was used as a wood preservative, waterproofer, insect repellent, folk medicine, and on washi (Japanese paper), fans, parasols, clothing and in sake production."

I did three coats of kakishibu. This stain darkens with age, so it takes and couple projects and some time to figure it out.

Step 5: Milk Paint

I used milk paint on all of the chairs. The colors are:

-Navy Blue

-Pistachio Green

-Emerald Green

-Wine Red


-Sand Brown

Milk paint is awesome! It:

-Adheres to almost all clean, porous surface

-Environmentally safe, non-toxic and anti-bacterial


-Dead flat finish

-Solvent free

-Fast drying

-Odorless when dry

-Comes in deep rich colors

-Longest lasting paint known

-Colors can be blended, by the user, to produce many tints and shades.

-Permanent colors; will not fade

-Easily cleaned up with water

-No VOC’s

I had all of the milk paint in my workshop and it's a local Japanese brand. I had the Annie Sloan products too, so this project cost me nothing.

All of the chairs were waxed with Annie Sloan Clear Wax. The wax goes on easily and buffs to a smooth finish!

I'm very happy with the results!

Trash to Treasure Contest

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