How to Make Hat & Sock Seats (AKA Paint Dipped Chairs)

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

When I mentioned to my son that I was planning on painting just the tops and bases of these chairs, I described it to him as giving them all hats and socks. I thought that was kind of cute until he went on to add that “the hats will eat the socks and then the chairs will poo them out.” Five year olds are certainly hilarious.

Of course, these are the Windsor style chairs I picked up for my sister’s dining room.

DIY Dipped Chairs Before

Photo from the Gumtree listing.

Originally, they had a worn and dated two-tone stain complete with plenty of chipped, shiny varnish. The finish was so opaque you couldn’t even see the lovely timber grain beneath.

I had visions of a much more natural and contemporary look, using a simple mid-brown stain with some soft blue-grey accents.

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

Getting to this point wasn’t exactly simple!

Sometimes old varnish flakes off really easily – and, of course, that’s exactly what I imagined this old varnish would do when I optimistically decided to buy these chairs. Though the existing finish was incredibly stubborn! Each chair took two coats of stripper followed by copious amounts of electric sanding (I used a palm sander with medium grit paper) followed by lots of fiddly hand sanding (again, I used medium grit paper then fine paper to finish). All up, it probably took around six or seven hours to take the entire set of chairs back to raw timber.

Chairs After Sanding

I left some of the more obstinate stain and varnish around the tops because I knew I was going to be painting over it.

I know it probably seems like there must be a better way, though short of using a professional dipping or blasting service, there’s really no other option. I was so desperate at one point I even went out and bought a soda blaster! Sadly, it was no match for the gummy varnish. In case you’re interested, I did try it on some other old furniture and it worked okay, though it’s certainly no magic bullet. I found it left the timber very rough, plus it’s slow going, messy and the soda is pretty pricey.

Anyhoo, with the chairs finally ready, I gave them each one coat of stain (Feast Watson Prooftint in Oak – which I had left-over from a previous project). I chose to stain them, rather than leave them natural, because I wanted a nice contrast between the timber and the paint. Plus, although it’s hard to tell from the above pic, the natural timber has quite a bit of orange in it which I didn’t want clashing with my sister’s honey-toned floors.

Once the stain was fully cured I added the “hats and socks”.

Creating a paint dipped effect is a pretty straight forward process…

STEP 1  |  TAPE

DIY Dipped Chairs - Step 1

First I taped off the lines, ensuring the tape edges were smooth and well adhered. Getting the lines perfectly straight along the back rests was a little tricky due to the offset and angle of the spindles which creates a bit of a visual illusion.

STEP 2  |  PRIME

Priming Dipped Chairs

Next, just to be safe, I used a stain blocking primer. I probably wouldn’t have bothered if I didn’t already have some in the shed.

Note: I’m sure most of you have heard about the “perfect line” trick which suggests using the base paint colour first to seal the tape and conceal any bleed. Of course, my base was stain, not paint, so I decided to experiment by using a similar toned brown craft paint. I actually found that it made no difference. My lines were all nice and crisp regardless, which I think can be attributed to the smoothness of the wood. I imagine on a more textured surface there would be more chance of bleed and this technique would be beneficial.

STEP 3  |  PAINT

DY Dipped Chair Tutorial

Once the primer was dry I applied two coats of paint. I created a custom colour using a variety of water-based paints I already had. The major component is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg Blue.

Hat & Sock Seats

I went slightly deeper with the socks by adding a dash of charcoal to the paint. The difference is only subtle though creates a bit of interest.

STEP 4  |  PEEL

DIY Dipped Chairs How To

With the paint still wet from the second coat I carefully peeled the tape away. It’s important not to let it dry as once it ‘bridges’ over the tape there is a high chance it will chip as the tape is removed.

DIY Paint Dipped Windsor Dining Chairs

To finish the chairs, I sealed them with a few light coats of clear spray poly.

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

Am loving the way they turned out! Here’s hoping they work in my sister’s dining space.

And speaking of my sister’s dining space, I now have everything needed! Will try to pull the room together and hopefully share next week.

 

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PS I haven’t forgotten about the table base tutorial. Stay tuned for that too!

DIY Paint Dipped Windsor Chairs

UPDATE
You can now find the completed dining room HERE.

 

 

The New Furniture for the FREE Dining Room!

I’ve found stuff!

This pendant light on eBay for $72…

Budget Friendly Gold Pendant Light

I knew I wanted something modern and gold and somewhat impactful and this seemed to fit the bill. Let’s hope it also fits the space!

On Gumtree I came across a set of four Windsor style chairs for $40 (listing states $50 however the price was negotiable)…

Windsor Style Chairs from Gumtree

So glad I bought these to remind myself just how much “fun” stripping chairs back to raw can be. They’re not exactly what I wanted though will do just fine. I think the dated two-tone stain must have been putting buyers off because I’ve seen similar sets sell for lots more. I’m not totally sure yet however am thinking about a natural ashy stain with a blue-grey dipped effect. We’ll see.

Also on Gumtree I found this round dining table for only $1…

Gumtree Dining Table

I know it’s not the prettiest specimen though I just need the top. Am planning on stripping it back to raw then refinishing it to coordinate with the chairs.

In addition I’ve made a table base using a $7 length of merch grade pine…

DIY Table Base

I totally surprised myself by knocking it up, all alone, in one afternoon. Obviously it still needs to be finished. I’m thinking simple white paint for a light, fresh feel and to contrast with my sister’s wooden floor.

Note: I haven’t created a tutorial for the table base because, well, I was just making things up as I went along! Be sure to let me know in the comments if you’d like to see one.

Remember, I have a grand total of $200 for this room makeover based on how much I was able to sell the original furniture for. As things stand I’ve spent $120. This leaves me $80 for a few DIY supplies, decor pieces and possibly some wall art. I think I may actually come in under budget!

 

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UPDATE
Due to popular demand I have published a full tutorial for the DIY table base. Find it HERE.

 

Catch up on my previous posts about this room makeover HERE.

A Plan for the Free Dining Room

The furniture is sold!

Dining Room Sold on Gumtree

The dining setting fetched $180 and the light went for $20. This gives me a grand total of $200 (I know, don’t be too impressed by my amazing math) to overhaul the space. What a nice round figure.

In all honestly, I was hoping for a tad more though this will absolutely suffice.

So now, onto the fun bit – decorating!

Like many people, my sister doesn’t really know her interior style. In fact, she’s not even sure she has one! In a way this offers an advantage as it provides lots of flexibility, though with flexibility comes indecision. And I think we all know how awesome I am at making decisions (insert sarcastic emoji here).

So, with no clear scheme to dictate the direction for the new design, I’ve taken some cues from the surrounding rooms and furnishings along with the general vibe of the house itself.

And I’ve landed on Transitional.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, Transitional is basically a blend of classic and contemporary.

This makes it sound like you can simply throw anything together, however Transitional is generally a considered collection resulting in something quite clean, fresh and understated. It can be a tricky balance to strike, though when done right is a lovely fusion of sophisticated and homey.

How you meld the old and new is entirely up to you. Here’s my vision…

PENDANT LIGHT

Lighting can set the tone for a room and make a real statement. I see something quite modern and geometric with exposed bulbs, probably finished in brass to help lift the space (there is lots of wood and a dark leather lounge in the adjoining living room). Given there is no defined dining room a substantial pendant will help anchor the table and define the zone.

Brass Pendant Lights

Note: As here in Australia all electrical work must be certified, paying an electrician to install a pendant light is simply unavoidable. And in my case it’s an expense which would most certainly blow my tiny budget out! As there’s simply no way around the cost, ordinarily I would factor it in as additional, however we’re lucky to have a good friend who’s an electrician and will do the install for free.

DINING CHAIRS

I love a classic dining chair. Nice ones can be pricey, even second hand, so I’ll probably be looking for something a little neglected and unassuming I can elevate with a little bit of paint. My initial vision included Windsor or Bentwood style chairs though I’m doubtful I’ll be able to find a set within budget. So, I’m now also looking at more generic cottage style chairs, which seem abundant and affordable.

Classic Dining Chairs

Given my sister has young kids she doesn’t want anything with fabric – who can blame her? I’m thinking of a two-tone dipped look though am still undecided on colour. I’m guessing that lovely coral will not get past her husband though :)

DINING TABLE

To off-set the traditional chairs I want a modern dining table. The problem with that being modern dining tables are expensive! Even the second hand ones get snapped up super quick for far from cheap. My solution at this stage is to make my own! Well, the base anyway. My sister wants a petite round table and I figure I should be able to find one for pretty cheap, remove the legs and add my own new stylish ones! I’ve been crushing on the angle braced style and think it shouldn’t be too hard (famous last words?) to DIY something.

Cross Base Tables DIY

I did consider simply using a cottage style table (which are abundant and affordable and would have looked quite sweet) though decided I want a bit more edge, and something which can “talk” to the light fitting. Again, I’m still undecided on colour for the table though am thinking a timber top with a painted base to provide some contrast against the wooden floor.

So, there you have it. Of course, all of the items in my inspo pics are waaaaaay over budget and probably much more fancy than any I’ll be able to find! Remember, I need to source comparable pieces for $200 collectively, and this includes the expense of any DIY materials and final styling decor too. That said, I’m all about the power of a well considered space and believe money should be no obstacle!

Still…wish me luck.

The good news is this should be a relatively quick makeover because at present my sister’s husband is less than impressed about having to eat dinner on their outdoor table!

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UPDATE
You can now find the finished room HERE.

 

Free Printable Blue & White Ceramic Wall Art

I’m a little ashamed to admit I started writing this post around four years ago.

At the time I had just finished refreshing my parent’s bedroom and was going to add some art to a remaining blank wall in the space. I decided on blue and white ceramic paintings (mum adores blue and white anything!), created several digital images and then changed my mind. I can’t recall for certain though think I must have concluded it was going to make things look too busy.

So with no good excuse to print, frame and hang the art (in order to give purpose to, and provide photos for, a blog post), these lovely free printables have been sitting in a folder on my computer… doing nothing…for four years!

Well, yesterday I stumbled across them again and realised that was just plain stupid! So here they are.

8 FREE Printable Blue & White Ceramic Paintings

This set of free printables includes eight high resolution blue and white ceramic “paintings”. For your convenience I’m offering them in two different standard sizes: A3 and 11″ x 14″. Of course, you could always shrink them to fit smaller frames if desired, or matte them and use even larger frames. Additionally, the prints themselves can be somewhat enlarged (by around 30%) whilst still retaining decent quality.

Free Printable Blue & White Ginger Jar

Free Printable Blue & White Ginger Jar

Free Printable Blue & White Vase

Free Printable Blue & White Vase

Free Printable Blue & White Vase

Free Printable Blue & White Ginger Jar

Free Printable Blue & White Ginger Jar

Free Printable Blue & White Vase

A3 Blue and White Ceramic Free Printable Wall Art             11x14 Free Printable Blue and White Wall Art

Once you click a download button above you will be redirected to Google Drive to download the files. Files are saved in zipped folders. Download the entire folder via the arrow icon at the top right of the screen before extracting the individual files. If you’re unsure what to do or have any trouble, feel free to ask. I’m happy to help.

If you have a large format printer you could always print theses at home otherwise you can have them professionally printed through any good print store. Prices for standard document prints of this size generally start at around $2, whilst high quality photo prints may cost anywhere from $10 upwards.

I created these digital artworks by applying a painterly effect to some product photographs I found online (of course, I sought and gained permission to use each image first). You see, at the time I was looking for blue and white ceramic art I really struggled to find anything within my budget so figured there was nothing to lose by giving things a go myself! I’ve spoken before about the ease and awesomeness of converting photographs into paintings and if you’d like to learn more you can read my previous in-depth post HERE.

I’m thrilled with the results and am so excited to share them with you!

Here are a few different framing and configuration ideas…

Free Printable Ginger Jar Painting Wall Art

Free Printable Blue and White Painting Art

Free Printable Blue & White Ceramic Painting Wall Art

Free Printable Ginger Jar Art

If you’re after a grid of nine there’s no reason you couldn’t reverse and repeat one of the images – I’m sure it would look fine.

And here’s a lovely vignette I stole from Pinterest with a couple of my prints edited in…

Blue and White Free Printable Art

LA DOLCE VITA

 

I hope you find them useful.

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Free for personal, non-commercial use only.
Reproduction, republication or redistribution in any form is forbidden.

 

In other news, my sister’s dining room furniture has just sold! I’ll be back soon with an update including details about my plan for the space.

 

8 FREE Printable Blue & White Ceramic Paintings

 

The Dining Room is Listed!

There’s something exciting about listing old stuff for sale.

The anticipation of an offer, the fun of playing “shop”, and the prospect of a little windfall.

More than anything though is the sense of freedom which comes from purging those extraneous items, and the ensuing promise of a fresh start – for both yourself and the pieces!

And that’s exactly how my sister is feeling about selling her old dining room furniture.

Dining Room Before

In case you missed my last post, I’m planning on making-over my sister’s dining space for FREE by essentially “swapping” her old items (being the pendant light and dining setting) for new ones then re-styling the area. Should be some fun!

Of course, to get the ball rolling I first need to sell the current pieces and for that I’m enlisting Gumtree.

One of Australia’s largest online marketplaces, Gumtree offers a super quick, easy and free (with upgrade options available) listing platform. And with millions of monthly visitors selling success is basically guaranteed!

Although getting started selling on Gumtree is really simple, there are a few little things you can do to optimise your listings…

RESEARCH PRICE-POINTS

Check the price of comparable items (both new and second-hand) to ensure you set a reasonable and realistic price which will be attractive to buyers.

USE QUALITY IMAGES

Not only will good photos draw buyers attention to your listing, they can form part of the description. For this reason, use clear images and be sure to highlight the positive aspects, along with any negatives (if necessary).

BE DESCRIPTIVE

Mention item features such as materials, colours and dimensions, along with the condition and any notable defects. You may also like to include a brief history and your reason for selling.

With these selling tips in mind I went about creating my listings…

Gumtree Listing

Gumtree Light

You might notice that the dining setting looks a bit different. As mentioned in my previous post, being eight years old it had seen better days so we gave it a quick spruce-up by refinishing the damaged table top and reupholstering the worn chairs.

Dining Setting Before and After

Here are a few of the other pics I used in my listings…

Gumtree Listing

Granted, they’re not as ‘blog-like’ as my usual shots though they aren’t supposed to be :)

Now I can not wait until these items find their new homes. Not only will it mean a fresh chapter for the pieces themselves, though it will also finally reveal my budget for this dining room refresh!

And who can argue the win-win in that?

YOU CAN CHECK OUT MY GUMTREE LISTINGS HERE

 

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