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.

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Have a question about this project?

10 questions
  • Deb
    on Nov 20, 2018

    Beautiful job. My daughter in law would die to have these chairs. Gave me some inspiration for her. Is the Kakishibu available in the US?

  • Eliza Spear
    on Nov 20, 2018

    Please let us know if after waxing the chairs still darken with age as you have said happened with previous projects. Would love to know.

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Nov 20, 2018

      Yes, it still darkens!

      The sunlight causes kakishibu to darken. These chairs have three coats of kakishibu and will get a little darker over time, but still look similar to this color. A chair left in the sun will be a different shade compared to a chair never being in the sun. They get a tan. :)

    • Rebecca H
      on Nov 27, 2018

      These chairs are gorgeous. Perhaps it would be best to substitute a more permanent and durable product on the wood which would give the same similar look, yet won’t change color over time or in the sun. All that work without the risk involved.

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Dec 9, 2018

      That's a good idea! We are eagerly anticipating the tan though. It's one of the best things about kakishibu.

  • Andy
    on Dec 29, 2018

    Why milk paint? I have seen many projects using this paint. I don't know much about it. Why is it special? Thank you...

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Jan 1, 2019

      Hey Andy! Check this out:

      Milk paint:

      • Adheres to almost all clean, porous surfaces
      • Environmentally safe, non-toxic and anti-bacterial
      • Non-flammable
      • Dead flat finish
      • Solvent free
      • Fast drying
      • Odorless when dry
      • Comes in deep rich colors
      • Longest lasting paint known
      • Colors can be blended, by the user, to produce many tints and shades.
      • Permanent colors; will not fade
      • Easily cleaned up with water
      • No VOC's
      • Indefinite shelf life as powder in sealed bag

    • Trudy
      on Jul 23, 2019

      Do you have to seal it?

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Jul 23, 2019

      Hey Trudy! It's recommended that you seal milk paint, because it's very porous. Any furniture wax will do the job.

  • Pamela Sanderson
    on Apr 5, 2019

    We got the same chairs from a pizza parlor and have used them for extra seating for guests. I could never decide what color to paint them. This solves my problem . Now which color for the bottom of my oak table hmmm?

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Jul 21, 2019

      Awesome! Please make a post! I'd love to see the colors you pick! I'm in the same predicament with an oak table. What are you thinking?

  • Dani
    on Apr 22, 2019

    turned out amazing...can I get kakishibu in Minnesota USA? ??? and thanks for sharing this great idea

    • Francesca
      on Jul 20, 2019

      Dani, its on $24.99

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Jul 21, 2019

      Thank you! The brand on Amazon is the same brand I have and it's the same price! It'll start to turn to jelly about a year after opening. You'll need to boil it back to liquid.

  • Ginny Rauer
    on Aug 1, 2019

    will they need to be stored out of rain & snow?

  • Christine Delfino
    on Oct 2, 2019

    More of a statement I love your wife lol I tend to do the same thing Bravo, well done

  • Shirley Fee
    on Oct 2, 2019

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

    • Dana Raymond Stuhlreyer
      on Oct 9, 2019

      Hi Shirley, it says in the article that she got it from I hope this answers your question. Have a blessed day!

    • Shirley Fee
      on Oct 9, 2019

      Hi Dana, yes I saw that, but the article also stated that she was making her own now. Thanks for the reply and wishing you a Blessed day as well. Enjoy , Fall is finally here in Ohio!

    • Bryan's Workshop
      on Oct 11, 2019

      I will! It takes about two years to make and it's almost there. I'll post it once it's ready.

    • Shirley Fee
      on Oct 12, 2019

      Thank you Bryan, look forward to it!

  • Sissyc
    on Oct 6, 2019

    What happen to table

  • 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
      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.

Join the conversation

4 of 124 comments
  • Deb
    on Oct 10, 2019

    It is a beautiful color. Great job

  • Lana
    on Oct 31, 2019

    Wow, what a great haul, all those "needy" chairs & a table too!!🤩👍 You did right by those chairs, for sure, with the wonderful colors to compliment your "persimmon stain"!!⭐⭐⭐⭐ I hope you'll post the table when it's done! Thanks for sharing your project! 🤗🌏📲👏👏

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