Hello! You may remember my modern dining chair upcycle from a few months ago that I shared over on Sawdust 2 Stitches, well now I’m sharing the full tutorial here on Uncookie Cutter.
After I built my dining table, I had a hard time finding chairs that weren’t a million dollars. I wanted something that looked like the following chair.
It would have cost me over $1,000 to purchase six of those and that just wasn’t in the budget. So, I decided to see if I could recreate this modern dining chair look.
I thought about making chairs, but chairs have a backward lean to them and I don’t have the tools to make cuts like that. I searched long and hard and finally found some chairs that were in pretty bad condition at a library that closed in a nearby town.
The frame was in good shape, so I started ripping the fabric off. I had to remove a TON of staple and it took forever, but once that was done I sanded everything down and then I had a nice solid frame to work with.
To make the seat, I cut a template out of craft paper just a little larger than I really wanted it.
I got some pretty craft boards and used the template to trace and cut the seats out.
I cut the template a little big so that I could fit each piece to each chair and make it line up perfectly with all the slight variations from chair to chair.
Next, I had to figure out how to make the chair back. My father in law taught me a little trick about bending wood. I wanted it to have a slight bend to it so that it would be a little more comfortable.
I didn’t leave the jig in the water, after I took this pic I took it out and replaced it with a flower pot :). After the wood was nice and soaked, I used my clamps to bend and shape the wood to curve with the back of the chair.
I left it in the sun to dry completely, which took a day or more.
If you don’t completely soak the work, it will crack. I know because it happened to a couple of boards that I tried to rush. Likewise, if you don’t let it dry completely, it will loose the bend. If you screw it on, and then it continues to dry out, it will crack. So, make sure you give each step plenty of time.
After it’s completely dry, take off the wood so that you can paint the chairs and the boards.
I wanted them to look metal, so I used metallic spray paint, but I stained them in body first so that I wouldn’t have to use as much spray paint, and also, if I missed a spot it wouldn’t really be too noticeable.
I used Rustoleum Flat Iron and also used two coats of spray on polyurethane.
Next, it was time for the seats and back. I started with one coat of MInwax Special Walnut.
After the stain dried, I mix a little white paint with water, about half and half, and took a paper towel and rubbed it over very lightly. Make sure to blend really well as you go. This give it a little more ashy look.
After I painted the back of the chair back piece, I attached it with some countersunk holes and screws.
Once it was all dry, then I stained the front of the chair back.
Then I used some wood glue to glue the seats down. Then I had my ONE modern dining chair done. It did take some time, but totally worth it!
I added these sliders to the bottoms. They were the only ones I tried that stayed on, didn’t scratch the floor and slid nicely.
That’s it! See the whole dinging room HERE.
The whole project cost around $120, instead of over a grand it would have cost to buy new chairs and we love them! We’ve had them six months now and we use them every day. I did have to attach a couple of seats to the base with hidden screws, but I think that because I didn’t sand well enough before I tried to glue them on.
Pin it for later – Modern Dining Chair Upcyle
Thanks for stopping by, I’m so glad you’re here!