Now that I’ve refinished the little play table for Elliot’s new room Its time to update the matching chairs and complete the set! I thought it might be fun to continue with the favorite countries theme and assigned each chair its own country.
Step 1: Choose Your Countries
We chose Japan, Spain, France and Ireland! The boys picked based on favorite places we’ve been and included one (Ireland) from our list of must sees! I considered hand painting each flag, but decided that might be more work than I have time for right now, so decided to try printing the flags and using Mod Podge to adhere and seal them to the chair seats. I printed test flags and spent some time moving them around before we decided on the four finalists and their placement.
Step 2: Gather Your Supplies!
I had quite bit of chalk paint leftover after painting the Union Jack table, so it made sense to stick with the same colors, Napoleonic Blue and Emperor Silk Red for the chairs. If you’re not familiar with chalk paint its easy to use, versatile, requires almost no prep, and dries very quickly.
Supplies: Blue Dawn, chalk paint, chalk paint brushes, lintless shop towels, microfiber cloths or an old t-shirt, blue painters tape, paint stir sticks, razor blades, drop cloth, ruler, scissors, clear wax or polyurethane (your choice), mod podge (I used matte, but Mod Podge also comes in other finishes), kraft paper, text weight paper.
Step 3: Choose & Prepare Your Work Area
Cover your work area and set up all your supplies. Initially I chose my front porch for this project and after contending with rain, wind, hot sun, bugs and dust I decided to bring my project inside. Chalk paint has little to no odor, so after covering my dining room table with kraft paper I was able to finish painting my chairs with ease. Chalk paint dries quickly, so the chairs were gone in time for dinner! Keep in mind this paint works best if it’s not too hot or cold.
Step 4: Let’s Get To Work!
Before you start painting it’s a good idea to give your chairs a quick wash with Blue Dawn and then rinse with water. Use your microfiber cloths to give them a good drying off and if there are any rough edges you might want to sand them lightly. Now you’re ready!
I applied three coats of paint with 30 minutes drying time between each layer and then left it to completely dry overnight. I repeated this process for each chair.
Depending on the look you’re going for there are different brush options. A round brush will give you less control over your brush strokes and if you’re going for a more aged look this might be the one for you. I wanted a very uniform brush stroke and used a flat brush to achieve this look. Chalk paint is quite thick, but I found that first dipping my brush into water and then into the paint made it much easier to spread.
Don’t worry if the first coat of paint looks a bit streaky, it won’t look like that after your second coat and by the time my third coat dried the finish was smooth and even. Not a brush stroke in sight!
STEP 5: Applying The Flags!
While you are waiting for your chairs to dry you can print out and prepare your flags. Because I wanted the flags to appear as part of the chair rather than as though they were floating on top I used text weight paper. Use your printers “best” setting to ensure your colors are rich looking. Take your time trimming them out as you don’t want any white to show when you apply them.
Brush the back of the flag with Mod Podge and place it carefully onto the chair. If bubble form under your image you can carefully run a clean credit type card over the image to try and gently work the bubbles out to the edges. The Mod Podge directions suggest waiting two hours before you take the next step and I only waited one hour on the Ireland chair which caused me to spend some time worrying how it would turn out. As it turned out I was able to smooth some of the bubbles after the first coat of Mod Podge dried.
Your next step will be to apply the top coat which will also seal your image to the chair. I applied two coats of Mod Podge in total and in the end I was really pleased with how the appliqués turned out!
STEP : THE FINISHING TOUCHES!
Now that the flags were applied to the chair seats I needed to give them a protective finish. I chose to use polyurethane as the final sealant because these chairs will be getting a lot of use by little hands!
Although I applied the chalk paint and Mod Podge indoors, polyurethane must be applied outside. We picked an open area in the yard, away from the driveway or anything else that might catch some of the overspray. Before getting started we used a microfiber cloth to wipe away any dust and then applied the first coat of sealant. In total we applied two coats of the polyurethane allowing two hours set time in between each coat.