Painted Old Chairs!

8 Materials
7 Days

Check this out! We scored a truckload of old chairs and a table!

An old closed restaurant was cleaning house and put an ad up on an auction site that my lovely wife Mariko follows. She saw "free furniture" and we were there the next day with a truck.

This is the score! There are 16 chairs and a table in that vehicle. My wife's family are famers, so we're lucky enough to be able to store the chairs we aren't working on in a barn.

The chairs!

These were in pretty decent condition. I needed to add extra screws to the legs, but no major repairs.

I wanted to remove the backs and seats to paint, but ran into trouble. The backs came off easily, but the seats wouldn't budge.

Painters tape it is!

The condition! Nothing a sander and a little elbow grease can't handle!

Sanding time! This is probably the most most difficult part.

We started with 120 grit and finished with 240.

After sanding down the parts for stain, we cleaned the chairs down with a rag and bucket of warm water.

Instead of a primer, we used Annie Sloan white chalk paint. There's no reason to use it, but we really wanted to try it!

Annie Sloan products are new to Japan and my wife went on an Annie Sloan buying binge. My bank account is crying!

The bottom of a chair!

This magical stuff is kakishibu! I am obsessed with it!


"Made from the fermented juice of unripe astringent persimmons, the color comes from the tannin molecules linking together and forming a coating. More than a coloring agent, kakishibu also has strengthening, antibacterial and waterproofing properties. Kakishibu was used in China and Korea, but reached its ultimate utilization in Japan. It was used as a wood preservative, waterproofer, insect repellent, folk medicine, and on washi (Japanese paper), fans, parasols, clothing and in sake production."

My wife is actually making her own now! There are a ton of persimmon trees around her family farm and she couldn't wait for the right time in the season to start. No joke, the process is stinky!

This is three coats of kakishibu. This stain darkens with age, so it takes and couple projects and some time to figure it out. I have some stuff that is dark brown now that started out the color of the chairs in this picture.

I used milk paint on all of the chairs. The colors are:

-Navy Blue

-Pistachio Green

-Emerald Green

-Wine Red


-Sand Brown

I had all of the milk paint in my workshop and it's a local Japanese brand. I had the Annie Sloan products too, so this project cost me nothing.

All of the chairs were waxed with Annie Sloan Clear Wax. The wax goes on easily and buffs to a smooth finish!

I'm very happy with the results!

Painted chairs y'all! These chairs sit around a table in my school and have held up perfectly to the wear and tear of students.

For more fun stuff and junk, check us out on Facebook and Instagram. We also have a new site

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Shirley Fee
    Shirley Fee
    on Oct 2, 2019

    Will your wife share her recipe for making the "Persimmon Stain"?

    • Leslie
      on Jan 31, 2021

      Hi Shirley, if you Google Kakishibu recipe or how to make Kakishibu you will get links.

  • Sissyc
    on Oct 6, 2019

    What happen to table

  • Julia Smithson
    Julia Smithson
    on Nov 30, 2019

    The table and light fixture are both lovely indeed! And they look so perfect together.

    But is the cat always allowed on the table?

    I am being sarcastic, the cat is adorable posing with the masterpieces! LOVE!

    • Bryan's Workshop
      Bryan's Workshop
      on Dec 2, 2019

      Hey Julia! I think you commented on the wrong post. I do have two cats though and they are adorable. Please share the post with the cat, table and light fixture. Sounds awesome.

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