DIY projects

Revive a vintage wooden chair with paint and fabric

Repairing and rejuvenating second-hand furniture is a fun way to decorate your home with personality and flair – without breaking the bank. If you don’t know where to start, be inspired by this fantastic furniture flip. We transformed a tired vintage chair into a throne that’s fit for a princess. Here’s how to complete this DIY project yourself: 



Give all the timber surfaces a light sand using 120 grit sandpaper and wipe away all the dust using a clean, damp cloth or a dusting brush. 

If there are any holes or dents, fill these in with Resene EzyFill Quick and allow to dry before sanding smooth and wiping away the sanding dust.


Seal the deal

Varnished wood that cannot be painted on directly, so use a brush to apply a single coat of Resene Waterborne Sureseal on the varnished areas.

Resene Waterborne Sureseal is especially designed for interior areas and hard-to-paint slippery surfaces such as varnished furniture and Lockwood® finishes. Allow to dry.


Add some colour

Using a good-quality paintbrush, apply two coats of Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel, allowing dry time between coats. We used the colours Resene  Saltpan, Resene Spitfire and Resene Gelato.

Painting the rattan backrest is a fiddly job and may require detail paintbrushes to paint the hard-to-reach parts of the chair.


Reupholster the seat

Once the paint has dried, it’s time to upholster the seat of the chair. Cut the foam padding to size and secure into place with upholstery tacks. Then stretch and pin the decorative fabric into place.


Take a seat

Well done! You’ve just given a tired old chair a beautiful new look.

More tips for easy furniture repair and rejuvenation

With the rising cost of living, these furniture upcycling tips will save you money, while also preventing waste going to landfill.

Which paint should I use when upcycling furniture?

Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss and Resene Enamacryl gloss are well suited for painting furniture. These Eco Choice-approved waterborne paints are hardwearing and durable and ideal for items such as chairs, which receive a lot of wear and tear. If you prefer a matte look, try Karen Walker Chalk Colour paint and wax.

How to restain an old table

To rejuvenate an old wooden dining or side table, sand back the surface using an electric sander, making sure all the varnish has been removed. Wipe away any dust using a clean, damp cloth. Apply Resene Colorwood natural wood stain using a paintbrush or speedbrush in smooth strokes, following the grain of the timber. Wipe off any excess stain.

Maintain a wet edge to avoid lap marks in the stain, and allow the first coat to dry before applying a second coat. Protect timber stained with Resene Colorwood by applying Resene Aquaclear waterborne urethane varnish using a brush and following the grain of the timber. Resene Colorwood and Resene Aquaclear are only suitable for indoor surfaces.  

Which stain should I use on outdoor furniture? 

To rejuvenate outdoor furniture, use Resene Furniture and Decking Oil for a lightly oiled look, Resene Woodsman wood oil stain for a coloured stain finish or Resene Timber and Furniture Gel for a non-drip option for fiddly furniture and small jobs.

Paint over a vase, jar or bowl

Bring new life into ageing or discoloured glass or plastic vases by applying one coat of Resene Waterborne Sureseal before painting with Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel or Karen Walker Chalk Colour, available from Resene ColorShops. Or use leftover Resene testpots for your topcoats and paint a design to suit your room’s colour palette.

How to age or use an antique effect on furniture: 

  • Ageing with petroleum jelly: Before painting the furniture with either Resene Lustacryl or Resene Enamacryl, wipe small blobs of petroleum jelly on areas of the furniture that would naturally wear over time, such as edges, corners or handle. Then apply two coats of your paint. Once the paint is dry, wipe away the areas with petroleum jelly to expose the timber beneath before coating the bare timber and painted surfaces with Resene Aquaclear.
  • Ageing with Resene FX Crackle: This special product creates the look of flaking paint. Simply paint one coat of Resene Lumbersider Low Sheen in your chosen colour and allow to dry, before applying one coat of Resene FX Crackle. Apply a final coat of paint in a colour that contrasts with the base colour. The Resene FX Crackle coating will shrink, causing the topcoat to crack and allowing the basecoat to show through.
  • Ageing with Karen Walker Chalk Colour and Karen Walker Vintage Wax from Resene: Karen Walker Chalk Colour creates a matte finish that’s ideal for a soft-looking finish. To age your furniture, apply two coats of Karen Walker Chalk Colour and use a cloth to buff Karen Walker Vintage Wax, concentrating on the grooves and corners. For a softer look use Resene Karen Walker Soft Wax.

Furniture projects are the perfect opportunity to experiment with your paint and colour choices – you might just find yourself some new favourite finishes to use for other projects around your home.

Updated May 2024: Resene Waterborne Sureseal is recommended for use on glass prior to topcoating, in place of Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer.

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