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Monday, May 9, 2011

French Blue Painted and Distressed High Chair Tutorial

This is the after of a highchair bought at the thrift shop and refinished..

And this is the before. It looks sort of distressed and OK in this photo but the previous owner had painted a water based paint over an oil based varnish so the paint was peeling off in an ugly shabby, but not chic, way. Like nail polish applied too thick it peels off in little clumps. I've seen antique French furniture in a pretty bluish gray finish and wanted to try to recreate that look in this high chair.  I used her post as a framework but added some of my own steps as I have been antiquing furniture for about 10 years but haven't done this bluish gray technique before.
To read my tutorial click the read more button below

 First the white paint needed to be sanded off with an orbital sander. I left some of it on but got the paint off in the crucial areas.

 A small sample jar in a brighter blue was mixed  with a little water to thin it out so I could paint it on easier and it gives a more milky and chalky finish. Sample jars are great for doing small projects. 

Here is the first coat painted entirely in the brighter blue.

For the next coat I mixed the blue with white and watered it down a little to lighten it then brushed it roughly over the darker blue with a dry brush, not covering the first coat completely. I then lightly brushed only the white over after the second coat with the dry brush. 

This is how the chair looked after the three coats were dry.

Next, take some rough sandpaper and rough up the finish a little.

Apply the glaze. Mix a little burnt umber and burnt sienna acrylic paint with water and rub it on with a rag.
 It will soak into the sanded parts and the cracks giving an aged look to the blue.

If its too dark you can rub some of the glaze off before it dries.

This is how Gigi kept busy while I worked. The old painting with water trick!

 To finish, I applied an oil based varnish to the chair to protect the finish and make it easy to wash because Lord knows it is going to get filthy..


  1. I have this high chair. I bought it at a thrift store for a few dollars and refinished it black. Now it is wobbly and covered in dried on food. Your chair makes me want to get it back out and see if I can get it sturdy again so I can paint it like that. So Pretty.

  2. Love it :) It seems that great minds think alike lol. Thank you for visiting me! I'm now your newest follower.

  3. Hi,
    This is superb craftsmanship. It truly is excellent work. I would love to have one such at my place as well.

  4. LOVE IT! I was truly amazed when doing a google search & I came across this post. I just finished a set of chairs in almost the exact same way.

  5. It looks great! What color blue did you use? I'm wanting to paint some chairs in my kitchen the same color.

    1. This is perfect!!! I just bought an old high chair from the goodwill today. I has something in mind just like this! Thank you for such a beautiful display. Am I able to pin the on Pinterest?

      Cheryl C.


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