This summer we were on the hunt for a vintage highchair for our daughter. She’s growing so quickly and will soon be joining us at the table for meals. From the start, I knew I didn’t want one of those large, plastic highchairs from a big box store. I had my heart set on something sweet and feminine, a high chair that looked like a piece of furniture and that would blend seamlessly with the rest of our home.
I scoured flea markets, garage sales and online marketplaces but didn’t come up with anything. It is by sheer luck we now own this beautiful vintage piece and it’s all thanks to my parents.
While out driving one weekend this summer they spotted this gem sitting in front of an old barn (along with a lot of other odds and ends). I’m very much like my dad, I love hunting through other people’s unwanted treasures on the search for something special. So he, of course, wanted to stop and take a look, but my mom insisted they just pass on by. That was until my dad pointed out the old highchair he spotted (I had them on the hunt for one as well). They pulled over and began chatting with the gentleman selling the pieces. He had been cleaning out his barn and was finally getting rid of the highchair that his children and grandchildren used. It was pretty dirty and a little scratched up, but overall in very good condition so they scooped it up for a steal.
As soon as I saw it I knew it was perfect. It was dainty and charming, everything I wanted in a highchair for our sweet little daughter.
It was one of my favourite projects I tackled this summer. This is what it looked like before cleaning and painting.
- TSP All Purpose Heavy Duty Cleaner
- Sandpaper and blocks (I used both a fine and medium grit)
- Latex primer
- Paint (I used Benjamin Moore ben Zero-VOC paint in Cloud White)
- Paint brushes (I used 1.5 inch brushes)
- Drop cloth
- Zinser Bulleys Shellac Spray
- Remove any hardware from the chair and set aside. Like any painting project, it’s important to start with a clean surface. Prepare the highchair for priming and painting by giving it a really good cleaning. I used TPS All Purpose Heavy Duty Cleaner to ensure I removed all of the dust and grim. I then washed it down with plain soap and water and let it dry thoroughly.Submerge the hardware in a bowl of white vinegar and let it sit overnight. Then wash with warm water and dish soap and dry completely.
- Next, sand the highchair to remove any marks and create a surface that the paint will adhere to. Our highchair was in pretty condition and only had a few nicks and scratches so I sanded it using fine and medium grit sandpapers (the sandpaper blocks were really helpful to sand all of the nooks and cranny’s of the spindles). Once you are finished sanding the chair wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust.
- Now you are ready to start priming. I used a 1.5 inch paint brush and a latex primer to prime our highchair. Priming is important because it ensures the wood is ready to properly absorb the paint. When priming put on very thin coats, in our case it only took two coats of primer to cover the highchair.
- We used Benjamin Moore paint in Mountain Peak White. Again I used a 1.5-inch brush and applied very thin coats of paint. It’s important to keep your coats thin to avoid drips and a sticky finish. I added three coats of paint to ensure the highchair was completely covered and there were no streaky spots. Remember to go slow and take your time, it will make all of the difference in the end.
- Next seal your highchair to protect the paint from future scratches and stains. We used Zinsser Bulleys Shellac Spay.
I am so happy with our beautiful little highchair. It fits right in in our dining room and kitchen. And I hope it becomes an heirloom piece we can pass down from our children to our grandchildren some day.