Posted on

From Old To Bold

We’re in a bit of a waiting stage for some of the major projects we want to do with the house. So I’ve been tinkering.

If you remember the junk pile left at the back of our property, you’ll probably remember the cool rusted chair and the little wooden footstool we salvaged from it. Where some people see junk I see possibility. But how do you take these old, worn items and bring them back to life?

It’s simple really.


I’ll start with the old chair. I thought it had really cool character. I mean, look at all that rust! The dented seat and the bent leg just make it perfect. It catches the eye. I’m always looking for things that stand out, and it wasn’t difficult at all to envision this chair repurposed as a focal piece for the garden or flower bed.

But it had to be bold. And that meant paint!


Before painting anything, whether its metal or wood, you have to make sure the surface is as clean as you can get it. This chair had seen many seasons of rain and snow, and it needed a good scrubbing before I could do anything to it. With a wire brush, I removed all the soil and grime and the big flakes of rust, and then I went over it thoroughly with the shop vac.


You never know what you’re gonna find. So its important to go over every little nook and cranny (and wear gloves!). This chair had become the perfect home to this spider watching over her large egg sack, and of course she had to be moved before I could continue on.


After the surface was clean, I gave it a thorough wipe down with Mineral Spirits. This works well to remove any unseen dust or particulates that could affect the final finish. Grab your favorite rag (or sock) and cover the entire surface, then let dry.

Again, the key word for this chair was bold, so I used Krylon Sun Yellow on the upper portion. The paint went on thin so I put on 5 or 6 coats to make sure the finish was as even as possible. But I kinda liked the rusty look too, so I wondered if I could blend the two and pull it off. I chose Krylon Hammered Bronze for underneath the seat and for the legs. This was an experiment. I’ve never used textured metallic paint before, but it went on smooth and even and I only had to put on 2 coats. I think it complements the bold yellow color well. (NOTE: I really thought about using a metallic black on the underside, but then the chair would have been painted in Hawkeye colors and that was unacceptable.)


This will find its way into the garden next spring, but for now it’ll hang out with the mums on the back patio. And that’s just fine.


This little foot stool was screaming to be plucked from the elements when we found it. Rusted hardware. Chippy finish. Ornate legs. I just dig this little piece.


Here’s a close up of some of the rugged detail. Originally I had planned on stripping its old finish and restaining, but I later decided that wasn’t the right approach. I wanted to keep as much of the weathered look as I could, so I decided to paint it with Valspar Chalky Trousseau Blue.


I was excited when I saw that much of the weathered texture of the wood underneath still came through. This was exactly what I was trying to accomplish.


After two coats of paint, I gave the stool a little distressing. Again I didn’t want it to look too clean. I wanted it to have some imperfections. With a piece of 80 grain sand paper I eased the paint away along some of the edges and in random spots. This gave it kind of an ancient beachy feel, which convinced me that this piece belonged someplace inside the house instead of on the porch as a plant stand, which is where I had originally planned for it to go.




Still trying to figure out where it fits. But I like it.

Like the chair, this was a simple and fun way to take something that would have ended up in a land fill and give it purpose.

A little eye for detail, a small can of paint, and a few hours on a weekend afternoon. Time well spent. And now on to the next thing.

Leave a Reply