Refinished Thrift Store Chair Using
Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Stain
Refinished Thrift Store Chair Turned Coastal Cottage Chic
I’m using an outdated and rather dark thrift store chair and updating it with a beachy driftwood finish fit for any vintage seaside cottage and I’m using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish.
This is my second refinished thrift store chair project and turning it into a beautiful piece of furniture to fit my beach cottage. Like the first chair, this one was purchased for under $30 and it needs to be completely stripped of both its dark finish and outdated fabric.
Once you find that special chair, here are the materials you will need:
To start, you will need to remove all the fabric. This may entail removing screws and I had to take the chair apart in order to remove the seat. Here is what you will need for each step:
Removing the Fabric
- needle nose pliers for helping to remove staples – and there will be MANY, MANY staples.
- flat head screw driver – helps with removing staples
- patience, patience, patience – removing the many staples is the most tedious part
Stripping the Finish
- Furniture stripping agent such as Klean Strip Paint & Varnish Remover or other safe stripper
- steel wool #0000
- sandpaper #150, #220 and #320
- mineral spirits
Refinishing and Re-upholstering
- Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish
- Fabric of your choice
- Piping (optional)
- Chip brush
- Drop cloth
- Spray on glue for foam Elmer’s Craft Bond Spray Adhesive Multi-Purpose
- Tacky glue (but only if using piping) Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive
- good quality staple gun
Above is the original thrift store chair
It’s in good condition, but not suitable for a vintage seaside cottage. I wanted that weathered look that I keep seeing in Ballard Designs and Restoration Hardware. I am always inspired by the pages of Ballard Designs and they have a Bergere style chair with a weathered finish that sells for $800 or more. Same with Restoration Hardware. I know I can recreate the weathered finish with Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish stain AND I can find a fabric that will suit my decor perfectly.
A key to re-upholstering the chair is to keep all the original fabric pieces, including any padding or backing. This way you can use them as pattern pieces. Make sure to mark each piece and even take pictures during the removal process that you can refer back to.
Take pictures and mark the pieces. Once all the fabric has been removed, you can start stripping the finish.
I used an environmentally safe spray-on furniture stripper so as not to have hazardous chemicals seep into the ground water. This particular stripper took longer and more elbow grease but I’m good with that. There are plenty of environmentally safe paint removers available. To help remove the finish, I used #0000 steel wool especially in the hard to get areas.
Fully Stripped of Finish and Fabric
The chair completely stripped, sanded and cleaned with mineral spirits. Any chemical residue from the stripper or original finish will hinder the results of the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish. So I need to test the results using the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish stain.
My first chair project turned out darker than I expected because I did not test the results first. This time, I knew I wanted a lighter and more brown toned finish that would pick up the taupey brown tones in my chosen fabric. I also wasn’t at all sure what type of wood the chair was made from. Since the more tannins a wood has – the darker the color will be when using the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish. It’s really important to test the results in an inconspicuous area first.
As it turned out, diluting the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish solution gave me the color I was looking for. Instead of mixing 1 packet with 1 cup of water – I mixed it with 2 cups of water.
Here I am testing the finish against my chosen fabric which is Magnolia Home Indoor/Outdoor Sea Island Spa. It has a beachy, cottage feel and even looks a bit vintage to me. The colors are perfect!
I seriously considered using the Driftwood Liming Wax to give it a lighter finish as I did with my first chair project but then realized I wanted a more driftwood, weathered finish. A finish that was completely matte like a found piece of driftwood.
Re-upholstering the Chair
I’ve been sewing since I was 10, but if you are not confident in your sewing skills, this might be where you want to take the chair and original fabric pieces to an upholstery shop to complete the project.
Cut out all your fabric pieces using the original pieces as templates, which hopefully you saved and marked. Same with any backing pieces. Sometimes you may need to replace the cushioning or backing pieces.
One thing I learned along the way was to use a spray glue good for closed cell foam such as Elmer’s Craft Bond Spray Adhesive Multi-Purpose to lightly glue ONLY the fabric backing to the foam. DO NOT glue the actual fabric to the foam – just the backing materials. This really helps keep everything in place while you are re-covering the chair.
Another great tip is to fold and press your fabric under about 1/4″ before applying to the chair using a staple gun. This way, you end up with a nice clean edge instead of frayed fabric edges. Much less messy. I also used piping to cover up any exposed staples and Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive to apply the piping.
Total Cost for Refinishing and Re-Upholstering Thrift Store Bergere-Style Chair Using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish
The total cost for this project was about is about $115.00 and that included:
- $25.00 for thrift store chair
- $24 for a 3 yards of fabric
- $12.99 for the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish
- $10.00 piping
- $13.00 Elmer’s Craft Bond Spray Adhesive Multi-Purpose
- $6.00 Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive
- $12.99 environmentally safe paint and varnish stripper
- $8.00 for incidentals such as staples and sandpaper