No. 43 {DIY chippy paint & a new seat}

August 22, 2012

508 diy chippy chair, bemz cover

I just recently did a guest post for Bemz {its a cover up} giv­ing a run-down on one of our paint­ing meth­ods– you can check them out…Bemz cov­ers & fab­rics are crazy awe­some. Any­way, I thought I would post it here too.…because this beauty is for sale in our shop AND because I thought of some addi­tional tips in hind sight that I wanted to share.

I also real­ize this may be old news to some, but many of our read­ers have asked our process and how we achieve our looks…so, I thought this chair was a good exam­ple of  just one of the meth­ods we use to cre­ate that old chipped paint look. I like this method because it gives a sim­i­lar look to Milk Paint, but you have more control.

508 diy chippy bemz chair


  • 150–220 grit flat sand­ing sheets, cut for what­ever size you need* {508 uses: 3M Sand­blaster or Nor­ton 3X}
  • elec­tric sander (if you have it) & sand­ing sheets that fit
  • fine grit sand­ing sponges, 220–320 {508 uses: 3M}
  • fur­ni­ture wax {508 uses: Fiddes}
  • a few lint free rags
  • paint, satin fin­ish {508 uses: Ben­jamin Moore or Behr}
  • paint brush {508 uses: 2” Angled Purdy Brush}

508 diy: chippy painted chair with bemz fabric

Unscrew the seat. Loosen sta­ples with flat­head screw­driver & twist them out with wire cutters.

508 diy: chippy painted chair with bemz fabric

Go with the grain! Start with a medium grit sand­pa­per {150} using an elec­tric sander {if you have it} for flat areas & flat sheets or sand­ing sponges for edges & cor­ners. Fin­ish sand­ing with a fine grit {220–320}.

TIP » Don’t go crazy– you just want the bulk of that exist­ing fin­ish off or ruffed up. If the fin­ish is really gummy, use a solvent/remover first.
TIP » Cut long strips of the flat sand­ing sheets and use them to pull back & forth around each spindles

508 diy: chippy painted chair with bemz fabric

Use a lint free rag to apply the fur­ni­ture wax BEFORE you paint. Wipe on the areas that you want the paint to chip off dur­ing the dis­tress­ing stage. For this chair, I applied the wax all over quickly– not really car­ing how thick or thin. This made most of the paint come off in the end, which was what I was going for.

TIP » Be cre­ative with your piece! Don’t be scared. Worst case, you applied too much wax and it is more dis­tressed than you want. Rough it up again and slap on another coat of paint! The more you try, the more you learn.

508 diy: chippy painted chair with bemz fabric

I only needed one 7oz paint sam­ple for this chair. Using a GOOD brush, apply one coat of paint. I only brushed one coat on this chair because I knew I was going to heav­ily dis­tress. The 7oz paint sam­ples are still plenty to do 2 coats on a chair if you prefer.

TIP » Let dry overnight in a dry place {low humid­ity}. It is hard to wait, but the dis­tress­ing step will be eas­ier and less gummy this way.

508 diy: chippy painted chair with bemz fabric

Using your finer grit sand­ing sponge or sand­ing sheet, begin dis­tress­ing. You will see how quickly the paint comes off in the areas you have applied wax under­neath. Again, go with the grain and move quickly. If it is not chip­ping or peal­ing off, MOVE ON.  When you are pleased with your look, thor­oughly clean entire piece with damp rag.

TIP » It is your lucky day! I did my first EVER video tuto­r­ial of this. Nathan did not think it was impor­tant to ever tape my face, so it is just talk­ing arms & legs. Ha. Other than that, it gives you a pretty good idea of how easy it is to do the dis­tress­ing step when you have put the wax on first.

TIP» Be sure to apply a PROTECTIVE COAT. For No. 43, after the chair was clean, I applied a top pro­tec­tive coat of the same clear fur­ni­ture wax {Fid­des, Light} with a lint free rag, buff­ing it after 30 min.

508 chippy chair, recovering a chair seat

There are plenty of “how-tos” on recov­er­ing your basic chair seat– it is pretty sim­ple. But here is the basics of how I do it– quick and easy.

recovering a chair seat with bemz fabric

If the orig­i­nal fab­ric isn’t too torn up after you have taken it off, use it to trace your new fab­ric piece! This ensures that you don’t cut too much extra fab­ric– or worse, too little!

TIP»Often, peo­ple cut cot­ton bat­ting to put between the foam and the fabric…in this case, I didn’t want it to look over-stuffed, plus this fab­ric was pretty thick, so I left the bat­ting out.

508 diy: chippy painted chair with bemz fabric

Basi­cally, I just line up the fab­ric, sta­ple one side and then con­tinue pulling tight and sta­pling each flat side first. Then, I work on neatly fold­ing or bunch­ing each cor­ner tightly, sta­pling the cor­ners in place one by one.

TIP» I mostly use an Easyshot gun, which isn’t the most pow­er­ful out there, but with a heav­ier duty sta­ple it does just fine for most jobs. If you are sta­pling into a denser wood or fab­ric, you may want a more pow­er­ful sta­ple gun.

508 diy: chippy painted chair with bemz fabric

Because I tend to “over sta­ple”, I like to lightly sta­ple a white backing/dustcover on the under­side of the seat to clean it all up. Espe­cially because in some cases, the seat over­hangs from the chair, expos­ing all those ugly sta­ples and could snag your fin­gers while mov­ing it around.

508 diy: chippy painted chair with bemz fabric

Now all you need to do is reassem­ble your chair and enjoy!

Hope this has helped, feel free to ask ques­tions. Oh, except paint colors…we keep not all, but most of those super secret…I mean, we can’t give EVERYTHING away!


508 NO. 43



DIY chippy paint & a new seat}" class="pin-it-button" count-layout="horizontal">Pin It
  • Lily

    Love this. I always won­dered about using wax when I’m paint­ing things. Now I know.

  • Shan­non

    This project is awe­some! I love the fab­ric! How did you re-attach the seat to the chair?

    • fiveoeight

      Thanks! I used the same 4 screws that attached the orig­i­nal seat from underneath.

  • eye of the beholder

    La la love it!!

  • I love the vin­tage look of this chair! The fin­ished prod­uct is amaz­ing and your step-by-step instruc­tions are so help­ful. I need to learn to be more crafty!

  • Nick Ander­son

    This project is awe­some. I just love it. I appre­ci­ate that
    you explain every­thing step by step using pictures.

  • Pingback: 11 Ideas for Your Old Chairs - A&D Blog()


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