Last summer I decided to bring some life into a pair of old G-plan butterfly chairs that we found on Gumtree for a bargain price of £50 for the two chairs. The lady we bought them from knew what she had and purchased them for a project which she never got round to, fortunately for myself.
Here’s how the chairs looked originally.
As you can see they had green cushioned upholstery with quite a slick black paint job. Which I didn’t dislike but it wouldn’t fit with the style I wanted to achieve so it had to go. The black paint was the original powder coated paint job however I’m not sure about the green upholstery.
The chairs had been like this for some time as they had that old smell that comes with vintage furniture and the upholstery was full of dust that awoke any time the padding was touched.
This was my first project for restoring furniture and I had no strict process to what I followed, but the place I knew I had to start was stripping it all back, starting with the green upholstery.
Hard in the paint
After stripping the upholstery it was time to tackle the paintwork, Which turned out to be a lot tougher than I first imagined.
Out of more luck than good judgement I decided to start taking the paintwork off with a simple electric hand sander. I went through A LOT of sanding sheets doing this as the paintwork was very high quality powder coated.
Starting off with a coarse grit sand paper and moving to a finer grit paper after all of the paint was stripped. Using a hand sander took a long time however it did produce the best results. The toughest part about sanding was getting into the hard to reach joints of the chair.
DO NOT DO THIS
I made a foolish decision in the effort to save time of sending the second of the chairs off to get dip stripped. A process which involves dipping a painted item of furniture into a pool of chemical paint stripper. This was an awful decision and produced a very bad result that left the wood with a very coarse texture that still stood after another hard session of sanding.
WARNING: DO NOT SEND FURNITURE TO BE DIP STRIPPED. PUT THE EFFORT IN. THIS METHOD SHOULD BE FOR DOORS ONLY.
The image here shows you what the aftermath of dip stripping a piece of furniture.
Staining the chairs
After getting the chairs to a point where the paint was fully removed and the wood smooth I then stained the chairs a dark walnut colour to compliment the vivid colours I would paint on the chairs.
I also wanted to accent the legs of chairs with the paint I was going to use on the backs of the chair. This required using Painters tape to section the part of the chair leg I wanted to paint.
As you can see I decided to not go ahead with upholstering the chairs. After stripping them down and sitting on them I realised they were reasonably comfortable without the padding and the base would look pretty good in the colours I wanted to paint them.