Painted Highchair Refresh

6 Materials
3 Hours

When we reached the weaning stage I was determined to find a wooden highchair rather than go for a plastic option. I searched high and low on eBay and gumtree and finally found this one. It’s one of my favourite pieces of furniture but it’s also been the hardest to maintain.

This is the before, it was a very yellow tone with a shiny varnish.

I have previously touched this piece up 3 or 4 times. Due to the constant wiping the paint has not held up well to the exposure to water. I have ended up redoing in between all of our children and for the third, this time around it was a rush to get it finished before his first birthday!

The bottom section has help up well and has only been touched up once. It was just the top chair part and the tray that I have had to redo several times.

To prep I cleaned off the dried on food and removed as much the previous sealant as possible. I then sanded down the top section where the worn areas were.

I didn’t sand the entire top section simply due to time constraints in this season of life! I just focused on the areas that needed touching up to ensure the paint would adhere well. But ideally I would have sanded the entire top section and maybe even the whole piece and started over. But I was left with a much nicer fresh wood underneath for the new paint to be applied and any areas of old paint were smooth.

I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in the colour pure to repaint.

I applied two coats of this which gave good coverage.

Once it was all repainted, I took some sandpaper and lightly distressed the edges.

This time to seal I have used Polycrylic. Originally, and the first and second times I touched it up I used a clear wax to seal. However, this just did not hold up under the frequent cleaning and water exposure. Despite leaving to cure well in between coats and before use. The second time I used Polyvine decorator’s varnish and this appeared to work initially. However, once there was any break in the surface it would start to peel away like glue. So I have now used Polycrylic and although it is expensive to buy in the UK it does hold up well under water exposure.

The trick is to apply several THIN coats, allowing to dry well in between. I applied four coats in total to ensure it was well covered and I hope that it will be durable this time. I used a semi-gloss so that it would give better protection but without being overly shiny.

Here is the finished result. Initially I was worried that there would be a sight colour match issue between the top and the bottom but it is barely noticeable. I may end up redoing the bottom section too one day, but for now it is not a necessity.

The reason I wanted to get this piece done now was in time for our son’s first birthday so that I could take photos of him with his cakes (there were several!). And it was so worth it to get these pictures!

This piece has really been a project of trial and error over the years and I hope I will have found a lasting solution this time. But despite the extra work it has given me, it has been worth it to have the piece of furniture that I want. Thank you for checking out this post and I hope it inspires you in some way or gives you some tips!

To see more of this and other projects follow along on Instagram!

~ Rachel ♡

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  • William William on Feb 01, 2021

    You did a great refresh. Polycrylic is my go to. I may be biased but I mostly use Minwax products. Four coats is perfect ( I usually go with three). Once fully cured the finish will last.