We had an uncommonly warm weekend, so I decided to finally work on painting this stool that’s been hanging out in my garage, waiting for some attention, for almost a year! I picked it up on one of my first antique outings when the stay-at-home orders were lifted. I had no idea what I was going to do with this stool, but I think it was $12 or $15, so it was hard to pass up. It’s sturdy, has a great shape, and pretty turned legs, and I almost always find a good use for an old stool. They are a great size and height to use as a small side table or a plant stand, so I have them all over the house!
I liked the shape but I did not like the beige paint color. It wasn’t the worst beige ever, but I wanted to change the color.
I liked the chippy white that was happening underneath and thought about trying to sand off all of the beige, but I decided against that about two minutes into sanding! This is why you like painting things like this stool, Marian. It’s an easy update, especially for something with a bunch of little crevices.
So, I sanded just enough to rough up the surface. (Even outside, always wear a mask when sanding!)
For this project, I decided to use Mango Paint. It’s owned by one of the sweetest and most creative women I know, Melanie of Mango Reclaimed. She sent me some paint when I was working on my new book (you can preorder that HERE if you haven’t already) and wanted to write about several different paint options for various projects. Mango Paint is a chalk-type paint, so it has good adhesion and I thought it would be a nice option for painting this stool.
I used Sophia, a soft, creamy white.
To apply the paint, I brushed it on with a 2″ angled sash brush. A tip I’ve shared before is to start painting pieces like this stool upside-down, so it’s easier to reach all of the undersides and insides of the cross pieces and legs. It really does give you a better finish and helps you catch drips easier, too.
The first coat, as is almost always the case with white, looks a little streaky.
I decided to paint gently around the feet to retain some of the exposed original cream paint and raw wood legs. When I am painting an old piece of furniture like this stool, I don’t want to smother it and make it look brand new. I want to let it be old and even highlight some of the quirky, unique marks it’s earned over the years.
It was looking much better after the second coat, but I ended up doing a third quick touch-up coat just to hit the most visible areas.
I love the texture of the old paint that showed through. Some people might want to sand that smooth, and I might do that on some pieces, but I liked the texture on this piece. I did sand out my brush strokes, though!
I did decide to distress the piece lightly with 150 grit sandpaper to bring out some of that texture and to make the transition on the legs from the new paint to the old look a bit more organic. (HERE is a post on tips & techniques for distressing a piece of furniture so it looks natural.)
I picked wax because it would be easy to apply in all of the little nooks and crannies of the spindles, it wouldn’t yellow the finish, and it would provide durability while keeping the finish “soft.” Again, I like to let old pieces look old and wax really does that.
Because this piece has a lot of curves and crevices, I used a wax brush to apply the wax, brushing it on in circles and working it into the detail. The key with waxing is just to use a little bit. Similar to lotion you apply on your hands, the wax will be absorbed into the surface and any excess wax will sit on top and be sticky. So, easy does it with the wax! (You can find several waxing tutorials HERE. If you’d like to watch the progression of the stool makeover, I shared it on my Instagram Stories HERE.)
I didn’t get a picture of it, but I buffed out the wax with a microfiber cloth to make the finish nice and smooth.
And here is how the stool turned out after painting, distressing, and finishing it..
I have been pulling the stool from my drafting table over to use as a little side table when painting at my easel, so I thought that would be a good place to use my freshly painted stool.
This stool is a perfect place to set my palette while I’m painting…
But I can also use it as a little side table in other parts of the studio (or the house for that matter.) It’s light and easy to just pick up and move around.
I am secretly excited to see how it looks in a few years when it gets spots of paint all over it. I was admiring the patina that is starting to build up on my easel just the other day. I find something very lovely about it.
And I am so happy I painted carefully around the bottom of the legs to retain the charm of the natural wear.
It really does blend the best of a fresh coat of paint with the beauty of a chippy, worn finish.
If you’d in the mood to see some more furniture makeovers, you can find a whole bunch (almost 12 years worth) HERE.