DIY: Office Chair Renewal

Welcome, dear painters! This Tuesday, I’ve decided to bring you yet another DIY!

But this one is a bit special, I must admit: it’s a much bigger project than the ones I usually do. I wasn’t entirely sure I could do it, but like other times before, I challenged my own self doubt and the doubts of others and won. So I have to admit I’m quite proud!

This all began with my need of an office chair that I could work in at home, you know, for studying and working at my desk. I used to have a wooden dinner chair there (part of the set we have around the house), but I started having a bit of back ache from sitting in it for too long. And then I remembered my dad had a very beautiful office chair in his shop, now left to gather dust and rust. I decided I couldn’t let that happen, not even if I had to wrestle both the dust and the rust. And I really did, painters, oh how I did! This is what the chair looked like before I touched it, after years of sitting mostly abandoned in a small, dark office space:

And this was, of course, after me and my mom wiped it down and cleaned most of the dust off. Still, not in a very good shape, was it? My mom said it would be very hard to get rid of all this rust and, of course, I had to agree. But I still had to try, because it was the perfect chair for my space (I love how simple and professional it is) and, more importantly, I got to keep a little piece of my father with me. I was committed from the start because it wasn’t just a chair – not to me.

I started by getting some sanding paper and sanding off most of the loose rust, so I could paint it afterwards. Here’s the results:

Make sure to take some precautions while sanding the metal: don’t inhale the rust or get it in your eyes. Definitely not healthy stuff! It takes a few hours of real grind work, specially if you’re using paper and not a special brush or power tool. But, as I think you can see from the outcome, it sure is rewarding! I got most of the loose rust out of the way and was ready for the real job: painting all that metal over!

I went to a paint store and talked a bit with the seller there. He pointed me towards a paint that also acted as varnish. No need for any other product, just that small can of paint from Hammerite! I also had to buy a small paintbrush and some synthetic diluent or thinner, but I think the three products came under 15€, so they weren’t very expensive.

I took the chair to a well ventilated place – in this case, my balcony – and put down a lot of newspaper. I used latex gloves and a small mask for better protection. I started to paint my first coat very carefully, since you have to make sure you’re not leaving any excess paint that could drip all over the surface. You want it to be smooth, not bumpy! After I finished, I waited about 5 hours before getting to the second coat (you’re supposed to wait 4-8 hours, according to the product). After every coat, I cleaned the brush with the diluent – a basic but very necessary step, don’t forget it if you want to keep that brush in good condition!

Always follow the instructions that come with the paint you are using and make sure you have the appropriate tools to go with it (like the paint brush, in this case). And of course, be safe and wise with the product (don’t eat it, put it in your eye, etc etc etc)!

Put in steps, it’s not really that confusing of a project – I only really just sanded the metal and painted it. Finding the time to do it is the bigger complication, but if you run out for materials on a Friday afternoon, you can definitely get this done in a weekend. And you’ll have a shiny, renewed office chair to improve your week!

One thing I can tell you is that it’s definitely going to come in handy for this next semester. College students never have a good enough chair for all the hours in the day that they have to sit in front of the computer and their textbooks 😉

To wrap it up, I’ll leave you with some “after” pictures of the final result!

Stay awesome,

Sofia

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