These are the cane-back chairs that I bought, along with a table and china hutch, off of Craigslist.
You can see how I refinished the matching table here.
I love the style of cane-back chairs. Open a copy of Country French magazine and you will most certainly find a dining set with this kind of chair. Like this…
I had been looking for cane-back chairs at estate sales and online for quite some time. I’d seen a few sets, but they were always too narrow or too boxy or they were not in good condition. I finally found this set and the price was right, so my husband and I drove to Tulsa to pick them up.
After loading them up, he said, “Is this really what you want? They look kind of 70’s style to me”. Oh, he of little faith!
I assured him that they would not be “70’s” when I was through with them and look at these beauties now!
For the paint finish:
1. First, I took a plain white taper candle and rubbed it across parts of the body of the chair; the parts that would normally see the most natural wear. This creates a sort of wax resist for the paint (I left the cane backs alone at this point). I find that I have to be pretty heavy handed with the candle wax step, because if I just rub the candle across the surface lightly, the paint won’t resist very well.
2. Then, I painted the body of the chairs with 2 light coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White.
3. Next, I painted a very light coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Linen.
4. After it dried, I used a sanding block to lightly distress them.
5. As with the table, I wanted to tone the white paint and I used a glaze that I already had mixed up from a previous project. You can use a glaze or a wax to darken or tone this finish.
The next two photos are close-ups of the distressing. Some is the result of the candle and some is the result of using the sanding block.
Now for the cane-back part:
1. I wanted it to look whitewashed, so I made a very light mixture with the Linen milk paint using about 2 parts water to 1 part paint. I painted this thin wash across the surface of the front and back of the cane and wiped away any excess with a cloth.
2. For the backs of the two arm chairs, I decided to try something different. I took some 1/4 inch tape and masked off a pattern on the back. I did not really measure, other than to find the center point, and just moved the tape around until it looked right. It’s not perfect, but I didn’t expect it to be. Then I burnished the tape down lightly with my finger and applied the same light wash of paint that I had used on the other chairs, again lightly wiping away any excess.
I immediately peeled the tape back, only because I couldn’t stand waiting and wanted to see what they looked like right away. I love the way they turned out!
For the topcoat, there was no way I was going to brush on a polyurethane or a wax onto all 6 chairs. So I took them outside and used my paint sprayer to coat them with my favorite topcoat, Varnish Plus Satin by Faux Effects.They were all done in 20 minutes. Gotta love a sprayer!
For the cushions, I took the staples out and removed the stained fabric. Luckily, the pads were in great condition and nothing smelled gross or smoky, so I could reuse them. I even recovered and re-used the piping. I found the fabric at Hobby Lobby and stapled it to the chair pads. I also gave them a couple of light coats of Scotch Guard. Then I set one of the pads on a chair to see where the piping should go (just a dry fit, not screwed back in). I took the pad back off the chair and I just hot glued the piping onto the cushion and then screwed the seats back on the chairs.
All finished and ready for a nice dinner. Now, if only I liked to cook!
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