DIY: Vintage High Chair Makeover

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Today I'm welcoming my very first guest poster: my husband! 

I told him a while ago that I often get questions about our vintage pink highchair that we use for the girls' birthday celebrations (well, now only Hadley's since Carrington has outgrown it). A few friends have asked where we found it, how we made it over, and even to borrow it for photo shoots and such. I love that it was a relatively simple and cheap DIY but is getting so much use and love! 

I found the highchair at our neighborhood garage sale when C was about 6 months old and it was love at first sight. I immediately pictured using it as a special prop for birthdays. The woman who was selling it said it was in her basement for forever. I ended up scoring it for $3! If you're interested in one, would keep an eye out at garage sales, on Craigslist, and on . I recently saw an almost identical high chair being given away on our local "buy nothing" Facebook page I'm a member of. 

So, without further ado, please give a warm welcome to my hubby as he explains how he took this gem from yellow to pink and gave it new life:

Hi Lucky Lifestyle readers, glad you're here. Interested in a fairly simple DIY? Let's dive right in. After Jen decided on a paint color (we used paint leftover from C's room -- Behr "Strawberry Yogurt" paint & primer two in one), I got to work stripping the existing yellow paint off of the highchair. I didn't just want to paint over the old paint because the chair appeared to have painted more than once already so the texture wasn't great. To do this, I used a gel type paint stripper, but I'm sure others would do the trick. Gel type paint stripper is the consistency of jelly, so it is easy to apply to all parts of the chair  at once without having to reposition it. You can use a paint brush to apply the paint stripper, just make sure to wash the brush after you are done. Make sure to wear eye protection and chemical resistant gloves while applying the paint stripper (NOT nitrile gloves - this paint stripper may dissolve nitrile gloves). Make sure to only use paint stripper in a well ventilated area.

Apply the paint thinner to all parts of the chair, and then wait about two hours. The chair should look something like this:

Scrape of the paint using a plastic putty knife. The plastic will help you avoid gouging the wood. The paint should scrape off easily, if not, apply more paint thinner and wait. 

As you can see, the paint should be falling off the chair.

If there are multiple layers of old paint, you may need to finish scraping the current layer, and then reapply paint stripper and wait to scrape off the next layer. Continue this process until you can see the original wood.

Once you can see the original wood and have finished the stripping process, remove any paint stripping residue with paper towels and allow the chair to dry for twenty-four hours. Once the chair is dry, sand down any rough spots or imperfections using sandpaper. Start with a lower grit sandpaper (which is coarser) and work your way towards a higher grit (which is finer). Most places sell packs of sandpaper that include a variety of grits. This will give the chair a uniform smooth finish. Make sure you wear a respirator while sanding (particularly if your chair is older and there is any chance lead-based paint was used on it at some point). Once the chair has a uniform smooth finish, you are ready to start painting. Depending on how particular you are, and what you are going to use the chair for, you don't need to get every last bit of the old paint off.

I like to use foam brushes for a project like this, as they are both cheap, and don't leave brush marks. I also removed the tray portion of the chair to make the painting process easier.

We used some leftover paint from when we painted Carrington's room. This was fine since we only intended to use this chair as a photo prop; however, if you intend to use this as an everyday functional piece of furniture, you should find a paint or vanish that is rated for contact with food. 

One or two coats of paint should do the trick, and then you can reattach the tray if you removed it.

And viola, photo prop complete (below photo from C's first birthday).

Family not included.

Thanks for a great first guest post, babe. ;) Hope this is helpful to anyone who may be interested in a project like this. Happy Wednesday! We're halfway there!

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