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.

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

Step 1: Clean

I scrub the chair using a mild soap and water

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.

Step 3: Adhesive

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

Step 4: Applying the adhesive

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

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.

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.

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.


The chair is now outside again and looks great.

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

We've had a few showers and the water just runs off the 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 77 questions
  • 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!

    • Beth
      on Oct 14, 2019

      Of you have a Tuesday Morning close by, they have a very large selection of pretty printed napkins, at reasonable prices.

  • DC
    on Oct 13, 2019

    Really beautiful and I am going to try this. Just one question, won't the pattern fade out in the Sun? I know the sealer will protect it from the rain, but does it also protect the colour from lasting? I am thinking I will just be left with white tissue in a years time. How has your chair held up?

  • Kathy Chojnacki
    on Oct 15, 2019

    Am I the only one who wonders why you didn’t cover that last bit of the chair? It’s really cute though.

    • Hb
      7 days ago

      I personally like the white spot on the bottom of the back of the chair . I also like that she left some of the leaves at the bottom . It makes it look more real somehow . Otherwise it would just be a mass of purple . I also personally would have left the chair seat images on the diagonal and left the seat half white like at the 3.03 minute spot on the video Negative space enhances an image . I think this is soooo much better than the plain chair . Kudos to the creator !

Join the conversation

2 of 286 comments
  • Tomi
    on Nov 5, 2019

    Absolutely beautiful! I will definitely keep this project in mind!

  • Artsy
    on Nov 28, 2019

    Beautiful chair! I had to laugh Kathy C ‘ s question. It’s obvious she’s not very artsy.

    I will definitely try this. Thanks for sharing!

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