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I’m one of those moms who has dozens of Pinterest boards FILLED with great DIY projects…yet I have not tackled any of those projects myself (insert nervous giggle here). So, when I told my husband that I wanted to buy a solid wood dining set and refinish it, he was doubtful…who am I kidding, even I was doubtful that I would be able to pull this off!

I got many surprised facial expressions as a response when I informed my family members that I was about to stain and paint an entire dining set, all by myself. The kind and friendly folks working at woodworking store, where I purchased the stain for my table, were the most shocked when I told them this was my very first major DIY project, and that I had never even painted a wall before (insert more nervous giggle here). One of the associates even tried talking me into starting with a smaller project that wasn’t as overwhelming as an entire dining set…but that never happened.

I have to say, I even started thinking that I may be taking on too much, but then I thought: Start BIG or go home! Really, my logic in the end was

  1. How hard can it really be- it looks so easy on YouTube…
  2. If I screw up, I can always sand down my mistakes and start over…right?
  3. If all fails, we’ll just cover the table with a nice table cloth and buy new chairs

After I convinced myself that I COULD tackle a dining set makeover by myself, I started to get to work. My first task was to stain my dining table- you can read all about that DIY project here, and find out how it went (hint, it turned out WAY better than I expected! Hooray!).

Next up on the to-do list were my chairs- The first step was to clean the chairs down thoroughly- which took FOREVER because of all the detail and curves on the chairs. After that, I took my sanding block and sanded the chairs down and gave them a good wipe; they were ready to be refinished at that point, and the most difficult part now was to decide how to refinish them. I must mention that I had sever anxiety about my chairs from the beginning, as I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Initially, the plan was to paint them black, but then I decided to stain them the same colour as the dining table.

I ended up staining one chair, just to see how it would look….I didn’t like the look of it, at all. In fact, I thought the dining space looked really dark, and needed to be more open, light, and airy and the dark table with dark chairs just wasn’t working for me. With that, my mind was made up, I would be spray painting my chairs a lighter colour.

My next dilemma was selecting the right colour of paint for my chairs- I wanted a colour that would brighten up my dining set, but that wouldn’t show my children’s dirty handprints. FINALLY, the decision was made, and I say ‘finally’ because it took me DAYS to decide- the chairs were all cleaned and sanded for about a week, and one of the chairs still had stain on it; needless to say, seeing them like this made me a bit crazy! The colour I went with was a glossy ivory, which was perfect because it was light enough, but not so light that it would highlight any stains left behind from my children.

My next issue was the weather- here in Alberta, the spring season is usually a combination of snow, wind, rain, and sunshine- and I needed the temperature to be at least 10 degrees celsius. Eventually, the sun joined us, and I knew I had just a few hours to get all SIX dining chairs spray painted before the sunset. Not only did I have a limited time frame to get things done, but my kids were with me…yeah…ummm….talk about pressure and anxiety!

I started off with getting the chairs into the garage and getting together all of the supplies; everything was good to go…except I couldn’t find my face mask. I knew I had a couple of masks in the house, BUT WHERE WERE THEY?!?! I’am not exaggerating when I say that I looked everywhere for them, but they were no where to be found! So, there I was- frantically searching for a mask, my kids were fighting, the chairs had been cleaned and sanded at least a week prior and were now in the garage, the spray paint was bought….and I just wanted this DIY project to be D-O-N-E!

That’s when my eye caught my daughter’s scarf, I grabbed that thing and wrapped it around my face and started my project. I know, I know, NOT the best solution (insert even more nervous giggle here), but I had to work with what I had. A couple of chairs in, a neighbor came by and gave me a mask to work with, I was blown away by the generosity of my neighbor, for the mask given to me wasn’t just a mask from the dollar store (like the one I was searching for in my home)- it was a brand new, still-in-the-box, high end mask with all the bells and whistles! Wow! And yes, I did go over with a box of chocolates to thank the neighbours a few days later.

mask

Anyways, I was spray painting away in my garage (and with my children playing on the driveway), when my oldest daughter fell on the concrete and hurt her knee. I had to take a short break to see if she was okay- which she was. I put the mask back on and went back to work…only to take another break after my son fell into the dirt…and I took yet another break after my other daughter got stuck in the mud (insert a not-so-happy mommy face here). I finally decided to get the kids inside the house, so I could finish up the project…but now they were peeking through the garage door to see the progress- every three minutes or so…Yup, it was “are you done yet mama?” EVERY THREE MINUTES…and then it was “he hit me,” “I’m hungry,” “she took the toy away from me,” ‘what do we do now, we’re bored,” and well, you get the point!

To make matters worse, I was NOT happy with the way the chairs were turning out: There were paint drips on parts of the chairs, major unevenness in coverage, and I was finding it difficult to successfully spray paint the legs of the chairs. I REALLY wanted to give up, but kept going anyways; I even had another neighbour come up to me and share some tips and give me some encouragement!

In the end, the chairs turned out…let’s just say, more rustic and vintage looking then I had planned…but still gorgeous!

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Here’s the AFTER:

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My dining set was now complete! I’m happy to say, all the drama that came with refinishing the entire dining set, all the work, the long hours- it was ALL worth it!

Chairs4© The Muslimah Mommy

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