Alicia W
Alicia W
  • Hometalker
  • Middletown, PA

New Life for an Old Chair

5 Materials
5 Days

I had an Adirondack chair which really needed help. I was going to paint it then I had another idea.

new life for an old chair

The paint is chipped but it's still in good condition.

new life for an old chair

Step 1: Clean

I scrub the chair using a mild soap and water

new life for an old chair

Step 2: Napkins

I purchased printed napkins and cut out the individual flowers. For this project I used 3 packages of 20 napkins = 60 napkins but the amount will vary depending on the size of the napkin print and the size of the piece you are covering.

new life for an old chair

Step 3: Adhesive

I mix three parts white glue with one part plain water.

new life for an old chair

Step 4: Applying the adhesive

Working in small sections, I brushed the glue/water mixture onto the chair.

new life for an old chair

Step 5: Applying the napkin

Once the glue is applied to the chair, I laid the napkin on top of the glue carefully smoothing it into place

new life for an old chair

Step 6: Applying more adhesive

Once the napkin was in place, I applied a coat of glue/water mixture onto the top of the napkin. As I brushed it on, I smoothed out any remaining lumps.

new life for an old chair

I continued the process over the entire chair.

The napkins will be lumpy while they are wet but once the dry, they dry smooth.

I allowed the chair to dry 12 hours.

new life for an old chair

Step 7: Varnish

This chair will be used outside so I had to really protect it from the elements. I used Rust-Oleum Marine Coatings Spar Varnish. This is the sealant that is use for boats.

I applied one coat of varnish to the entire chair, allowed it dry for 24 hours then applied a second coat. I allowed that to dry for 24 hours and applied a third coat - according to the directions on the can.

new life for an old chair
new life for an old chair


The chair is now outside again and looks great.

new life for an old chair

And it stands up to the wear and tear of my dog jumping on and off of it. I love it!!!

new life for an old chair

We've had a few showers and the water just runs off the chair.

new life for an old chair

My daughter though I had painted on the design and was so surprised when I told her it was napkins! Who would have thought?!?

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 75 questions
  • Angi Molthan
    on Feb 28, 2019

    Is that a Scottie?

  • Joan Stanley
    on Apr 8, 2019

    Did you use both layers of the napkins or just the printed one?

  • Sally Petrucci Jensen
    on Apr 20, 2019

    Where did you buy your purple hydrangea and white background napkins? All I can find are blue or pink with a cream background... I'm having my back yard landscaped and have a small white pergola that I want to create a reading nook under and this chair would be absolutely perfect!

Join the conversation

2 of 275 comments
  • Carol Bellinger
    on Apr 3, 2019

    That is an amazing chair. Great job. I love the fur baby too

  • Debbie
    on Apr 12, 2019

    I needed to paint my chairs out side also. after I watched this I had the guts to go and do mine but I used newspapers from around the world. let me tell you turned out awesome

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