DIY and Crafts

How to upcycle a vintage wooden chair

Fiona Ralph chats to upcycling expert Antonia Marino of Voodoo Molly about restoring vintage chairs and discovers how to do it at home in 5 easy steps


How to upcycle a vintage wooden chair

Renovating a wooden chair is simpler than restoring an upholstered one. Pick a chair that’s structurally sound and timeless in style, yet has that little spark that gets you excited.

  1. Take lots of pictures of your chair – front, back, inside and top. Taking ‘before’ photos is a useful reference for future projects.
  2. Clean your chair with water and detergent to remove every scrap of dirt, oil, wax, grime and any stickers.
  3. Lightly sand the chair. You don’t need to strip off existing paint or varnish – just give it a quick once-over with 120 grit sandpaper, then wipe off the sanding dust.
  4. Pop open a tin of Voodoo Molly Vintage Paint and have some fun! Use a synthetic brush and paint quickly but carefully. Watch out for drips and paint build-up on edges. It’s easier to remove these when the paint is wet rather than waiting to sand back when dry.
  5.  If you want to distress the chair, wait until the next day and lightly rub back edges with 120-180 grit sandpaper. Be strategic and thoughtful so it looks natural.

For more information, video tutorials, to buy Vintage Paint, or to book an upholstery course with Mollies Make & Create, visit

Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Jane Sharyn Cairns/

Home experts are just a click away