As promised, here is a step-by-step guide to painting windsor chairs black. This project took us about two weeks to complete, but only because we did not work on it daily. Transforming these chairs was truly a labor of love.
Where did we get the chairs? Chris bought six windsor chairs for a steal at an estate sale. They were made of beautiful cherry wood, and, at the time, we had no dining room chairs. It was a deal we couldn’t pass up.
Why did we paint over CHERRY wood?! Because our living room and dining room flow into each other and all of our furniture in those two rooms are made of wood. Thus our main living area feels like a heavy, brown, masculine space. We needed something different and modern.
How much did this project cost? Supplies cost about $60. Chris’s dad let us borrow his electric sander (life-saving), so we didn’t purchase any tools besides paint brushes and sandpaper. Obviously, we already owned the chairs.
Now, the nitty gritty details:
First, let me preface by saying this really wasn’t difficult, just very time-consuming and detail oriented. Research and understand what you’re getting into before starting a project like this.
I used the electric sander to rough up the surfaces of the chairs so the paint would stick. Chris followed, sanding the hard-to-reach areas with sandpaper.
Next, we cleaned off the chairs, removing the dust with a vacuum.
Then, we painted the chairs with black milk paint. We used milk paint because, historically, craftsmen used it on windsor chairs. Also, it’s durable with a matte finish. We used sponge brushes to avoid streaks.
After the first coat, we lightly sanded the chairs with a steel wool. The wool left some fuzz on the chairs which we removed with a cut-up T-shirt.
Our chairs required three coats of paint due to the dark wood color. Once we finished the third and final coat, we applied wax and buffed the chairs by hand.
A few things you might be wondering: Why no primer? Why didn’t you sand the chairs after the last coat of paint?
We didn’t use a primer because, when and if the paint wears or chips, we wanted the natural cherry wood to show, not an unnatural white or grey color.
We actually started to sand the chairs with 400 grit after the final coat, but the sandpaper was far too rough. Luckily, we tested the sander in a small area first. The sandpaper altered the finish from the matte, so we just skipped that step.
All of this to say, our cramped hands, aching backs and shivering in the garage were worth it. The chairs add a much needed “pop” to our dining room. Plus, we enjoy the satisfaction of looking at them every day.
General Finishes Milk Paint in Lamp Black
Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax in Natural
Sandpaper – 120 grit for initial sanding, 400 grit for final sanding but didn’t use
0000 grade steel wool
Ask questions or voice opinions in the comments! I’d love to hear feedback.