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I’ve had my eye on all the modern/natural barstools that have recently been all over pinterest. I’ve wanted a barstool that makes a statement, but can never justify the price. In this instance, the barstool that inspired me is $500 per chair. I knew we would never be able to buy a set new, so I took to Marketplace to look for a style similar. This stool, part of the Studio McGee line, was my inspiration!
A couple of weeks into my search, I ended up seeing this set pop up on Marketplace for $80. She described them as very sturdy and comfortable. Real wood. I knew I could work with this!
How I did it:
I have a whole instagram highlight on this if you need more visuals!
- I started by applying Citristrip Varnish Remover to the painted wood. I used a couple of sponge brushes to apply it. A tip for using this to remove paint and stain: apply it SUPER thick and let it sit for a while. Thicker than you think could possibly be necessary (the thicker it is, the easier it will scrape off!) Let it sit at least 2 hours, but I like to do it in the evening and let it sit overnight. This stuff is pretty strong, so I also recommend wearing a mask.
- Scraped paint off with a stiff paint scraper.
- Cut the tops off of the stools by drawing a line where I wanted them to be cut and using a a table saw.
- Sanded chairs with orbital sander (the most time consuming part — all those corners and curves!! WHEW!) I sanded first with 80 grit and then went back with 220 grit to make smooth.
- Sanded all the tight corners with a dremel tool. The tool needs an accessory kit to be used as a sander.
- Measured and drew lines on the curved backs of the chair, and using 60-grit sandpaper, sanded the curves into a straight line. This took some elbow grease and patience, I won’t lie! Went back over it with 220-grit after sanding into a straight line to smooth out.
- Cleaned the wood and fabric seat.
- Taped off the chair surrounding the fabric seat and painted with a combination of water and gray chalk paint by Behr. The color was pulling purple when I brought it into the house, so I knew it wasn’t going to work. I just used a cheap “rough surface” brush to do this.
- Stained the freshly-sanded wood in the color “Weathered Oak.”
- Disliked the gray paint, so painted OVER the chalk paint with black chalkboard paint (again, combining it with water) that we had in the garage. This was a really happy mistake, honestly. The chalkboard paint was rough-feeling on the fabric, and I was worried about it scraping legs when seated. The chalkboard paint smoothed everything out and, because of the latex in the paint, gave everything a leather-looking finish. I also think the first coat of chalk paint helped the chalkboard paint to really adhere and stick like it should, so I’m happy that I made the color mistake as well!
You honestly can hardly tell that these were painted. Even up close, they look like a leather seat. And the paint seems to be holding up very well! We use these stools daily, so I wipe them frequently. No chipping or peeling paint. I would 10/10 recommend this method!