Today’s tutorial is very emotional for me and brings back a lot of memories. The object that is the subject of this post, literally connects my past, present and future.
I’m going to show you how to restore wooden furniture and more particularly, a wooden chair with twine and other cool materials.
This is a chair that I used to have as a baby ever since my grandfather got it for me, almost 20 years ago (hid some years here and there 🙂 ). I still remember my excitement when I first got it. For me, there was no better place to sit anywhere else in the house than on my little chair.
I was so obsessed with this chair that I wanted to become a carpenter, just to make this type of small chairs.
Unfortunately, as I grew older, the chair started slowly decaying, the colors faded and the only thing that was left eventually, was the chair’s frame.
It wasn’t until few months ago that I run into this chair again, while I was cleaning up my house’s basement. And I thought that it’s time that this little chair comes back to life. Together with the restoration, it will be also time to change ownership so that my little boy gets to use it from now on.
Now, as you understood, today’s tutorial is the resurrection of my little chair and I’m going to show you how to restore wooden furniture step by step.
Let’s get to it!
Materials we’re going to use
- Thick twine or rope
- Chalk furniture paint
- Wood glue
- Wood varnish
- Texture paste
- Decorative wooden objects
Tools to use:
- Paint remover
- Detail sander
- Paint scraper
- Wire scratch brush
- Packing needle
- Face mask
How to restore wooden furniture step by step
First thing I want to do is to remove any remains of colors from my chair. Now, here’s something you need to consider.
One thing to keep in mind is that the chemical composition of paints was completely different than what today’s colors contain. For this reason, I want to remove any color the chair has by using corrosive paint.
With a lot of effort and many tools, I managed to remove all colors. Keep in mind that I did all this work outdoors and only with the use of mask so that I don’t enhale anything harmful by accident.
That being said, I use a brush to spread the corrosive paint only on one part of the chair. Then, I wait for around 20 minutes until the color starts coming off. You’ll notice blisters here and there and this is the sign you’re waiting for. Once the blisters make their appearance, I scrape the surface with paint scraper and remove the color entirely.
I keep on the same process for the other parts of the chair until the color comes off from the entire surface.
Though, there’s some more work to be done.
I want to remove the color from the wood grain and for this reason, I use a wire scratch brush so that I go deeper.
You’ll notice that few spots still have color even after all this paint removal process. This is the time that I take the detail sander.
Besides removing paint, the detail sander is also great for smoothing the surface of the wood. I highly recommend using it.
The chair is now at its natural state without any colors. Just plain wood.
When I’m done with it, I leave the wood to rest for a day.
I let the wood to rest and I had the chance to get some rest as well.
Time to paint the chair!
I take a small size chalk paint in light yellow. I make one pass with the paint on the entire surface of the chair and I let it dry for a day.
Once the color is dry, I make a second pass and let it dry again for another day.
When the chair is dry again, I make a pass with varnish on the entire wooden surface. And guess what?! I wait for one day.
Unfortunately, it’s not ready yet.
I follow the same procedure paint-wait-paint-wait-varnish-wait, two more times. So you want to do this process three times in total.
It takes quite a lot of time but it definitely worth the effort!
At this step, I’ll weave the chair’s seat.
I’m going to need a thick twine that is around 30 meters -somewhere around 100 feet.
For your furniture, you’ll have to consider how big it is and how much twine you want to use. I’m afraid that I can’t tell you the exact length of twine you’re going to need for your project but I would recommend getting as much as you can.
Besides the twine, I also included a few meters of thick cotton thread so that I emphasize a few details once the weaving with twine is done. The thread isn’t necessary however. It’s up to you to use it or not. You can easily skip that.
I begin by tieing a knot on the side of the chair. I nail the edge of the knot on the chair leg so that it’s not visible. Once I do that, I apply a bit of wood glue.
I continue by wrapping the chair around with twine from the left to right side, clockwise. Each time, I pass the twine underneath both sides. I wrap the chair this way, for 4 times in total.
When I make the fourth round, I wrap the twine around the sides of the chair just like in the picture.
I continue wrapping the twine with the same pattern and every time I reach the fourth round, the fifth wrapping is around the chair’s sides.
This is the pattern that I chose and you can consider any other pattern you feel like. Maybe five rounds and two wrap around the sides?
When I’m about to finish wrapping, is where the most challenging part is.
On the last wrapping, I pass the twine under the chair leg, just like in the picture, and bring it up on the front side of the chair.
Now that I brought twine up and on the front of the chair, I continue weaving up and down, front and back instead of right and left.
I use a small rolling pin -or a thin piece of wood, and I pass it through the weaved twine just like in the picture.
As you see, I lift four strings, then leave four down and then lift four strings again and so on. The reason for doing this, is simply because of the pattern that I chose as I mentioned earlier.
Next, I tie the twine around a small piece of wood or plastic so that I can easily pass it through the weaved twine.
Here comes the weaving again. I follow the same idea as before. 4 wrappings-1 wrapping around the side-4 wrappings. (Not sure if I write this right.)
The only difference is that I pass the twine once above the weaved twine and then below just like in the picture. I continue weaving the twine alternately, up and down, front and back, for every group of four wrappings.
I follow the same process on the bottom weaved twine just like on the top right after I pass it from the top. I guess the picture does a better job explaining the process.
If you feel that a thin wooden stick might make it easier for you during weaving, feel free to use that.
I continue the same procedure for both bottom and top of the weaved twine until I reach the other side of the chair. You can see the result on the following picture.
Now you also see how the pattern is formed with the gaps in between weaved twine.
Wherever needed, I push the twine with my fingers so that the shape of the pattern is the same on the entire surface of the weaved seat.
Towards the end, the skein of the twine can’t fit anymore and this is why I take the thin wooden sticks out and it’s when I use the packing needle. When I reach the end, I make a knot underneath the chair so that it’s not visible. See next picture to understand how it looks.
Even though the weaving could finish now, I thought about emphasizing the twine with white thread. If you ask me, I think it looks prettier this way.
I use the packing needle and follow step’s 4 process with the twine. You can get an idea how it looks on the following picture.
As a side note, the packing needle is required here since there’s no space to use your fingers.
The chair is now ready and it only needs a bit of decoration to make it even more beautiful.
For my chair, I decorated it with a small wooden bird that I found. I painted it and then stuck it in the middle of the chair’s back.
The rest of the spots that don’t have any decoration, I used stencil with texture paste.
I place the stencil at the back of the chair so that it’s stable. Then, I mix a bit of green color with the texture paste and with the use of a small paint scraper, I apply the mix directly on the stencil.
After removing the stencil carefully, I let it dry for a while and then I make a pass with varnish. You only need to apply varnish on the spots that you added colors. Not the entire chair again.
Our little chair is ready!!!
How did you like it? If you ask me, I loved it!
Good luck with your creations!