Monday, April 8, 2013

Mahogany Rose Back Chairs turned Shabby Chic

     My first blog post ever!  Later on I’ll post more about who I am, how I got started in painting furniture, etc.  For now, I’d like to concentrate on the mistakes I have made with the hope I can spare others of the same time consuming missteps.  So let’s get started:

    We have all seen these Mahogany Rose Back chairs.  The intricate carving of the rose and leaf pattern, coupled with the delicate sloping legs makes these gals a tempting project.  Once they’re rehabbed and painted, they really do create the ultimate Shabby Chic design.  

    It makes sense to learn to use ASCP on a smaller, manageable project, right?  I know how to take off the seats, slap some paint on them, distress a little, add some new fabric, reattach and enjoy the fruits of my efforts!  

      So off come the seat cushions.  I’ll deal with those later.  I've read you don’t need to do anything before using ASCP, just start painting…but I’m old school.  I scuffed them up with 100 grit sand paper and wiped them down well to “clean” them.  Enter stage left, ASCP Old White.

    Sorry there are no pictures for the next horrifying steps…but after the first, second, third and fourth coat, I was befuddled.  I thought this stuff was supposed to cover really well.  Why do I continue to see areas of the red mahogany peeping through? What's up with that?  And to add insult to injury, I kept painting all four chairs.  Don’t they say a sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different outcome?

      FIRST LEARNING CURVE MISTAKE OF MY ASCP JOURNEY:  Use something to help block  the stain from bleeding  through. Here is a good explanation from the Purple Painted Lady: 

   This article helped talk me off of the ledge!  

     After some light sanding, I applied my new best friend, Zinsser Shellac right over the 4 coats of paint.  

   No more bleed through!  Hoorah!  I’ve only put in about 20 hours so far into these 4 chairs.

   The distressing and waxing were pretty straight forward.  I wasn’t going to dare using the dreaded dark wax, so now the frames are complete. 

   Let’s turn our attention to the seat cushions.  I’ll just remove the old fabric, add a little foam and poly dacron   and reupholster.  I failed to take pictures of the first 7 layers (yes, 7 layers!) that needed to be removed.  So you’re seeing layer #8, that ugly green, #9 red stripe and then #10 green stripe.

     My very kind hubby helped me peel off the fabric.  We had the football play offs on TV, and slowly pulled away a lot of staples and upholstery tacks.  What was I thinking…of course there would be multiple layers of fabric?  These chairs were at least 60 years old!  SECOND LEARNING CURVE MISTAKE, ANTICIPATE!

   I tack on the new fabric to the first seat cushion, and place it on the frame of the chair.  I’m so excited to see I am nearing the home stretch.  WRONG!  The seat cushion won’t fit into the frame of the chair.   What the heck?  I take off 10 layers, add two layers and this thing does not fit? 

   See how the tacky green cushion fits just fine but my newly reupholstered cushion won't squeeze into the frame?

    After regrouping, I scaled back the amount of poly Dacron that wrapped around the edges, pulled as tightly as I could while stapling, and finally finished the reupholstering.    Viola!  The finished chair: 

    I had a pretty 42” round maple table with scalloped apron that got the Zinsser treatment first, then 2 coats of ASCP and 4 coats of poly acrylic.  I envisioned this set would be used in an eat- in kitchen and thought the poly acrylic made more sense than wax.

   I am happy to report she was adopted by a lovely couple (Hi Michelle and Jason!)

   And this concludes my first blog post ever!  Stay tuned for more "learnings"! because I've had plenty of    them. :) 


  1. A great job! So far I've been lucky with not needing to seal my projects before using the ASCP, but I guess I'd better buy in some primer ready for when I have my first 'mishap'! I've only just found your blog, and plan to become a follower.

    Judi in the UK

  2. I cannot believe that you ruined those beautiful mahogany chairs. If they were original finish you just destroyed their value.

  3. I agree! I am trying to find some mahogany rose back chairs and was horrified by the white paint!

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