Let’s Get Crafty: Refinishing a Highchair


Every so often I go through a season of wanting to refinish and repurpose things. Sometimes this season lasts a few months and sometimes I start with a project that is just difficult enough that I throw my crafting towel in early. So far this has been a good season! It all started with the early preparations for Annabelle’s first birthday. Although I’m still not quite sure where the last year has gone, I have to say I’m excited about this celebration! After scouring Pinterest for all sorts of ideas for the occasion, I landed on a highchair. While we already have a fully functional highchair that we use on a day-to-day basis, it is one of those plastic ones that straps to a chair. Don’t get me wrong! I love it and I’m not a highchair snob, I just wanted something a little more appealing to the eye for pictures. So then began my search for a reasonably priced, fixer upper highchair. As with most specific items I am searching for, I was able to find one on craigslist. It was a great deal, but definitely needed some TLC. Here is how I started!


I first searched Pinterest for inspiration for exactly how I wanted this piece to be refinished. When looking at a used piece of furniture, I always try to take into account the quality. Is it real wood? Is it unique? Is it better to be restored to it’s original state? With this piece of furniture I decided to leave some of it original quirks, but enhance it’s features just a bit. I chose to go with paint AND stain. I wanted to paint the body of the chair and stain the tray as to leave some of the nicks and scrapes that were left. Sometimes it’s best to embrace the history!

There are many ways to go about painting furniture. You could use regular latex paint, chalk paint (I like to make my own), spray paint, and the list goes on. My personal preference for chairs, smaller pieces, and furniture with spindles, is to use spray paint. So I did! I chose a dark stain for the tray because it matches the wood that we have throughout our house.


I started by spray painting the chair. I have found that it is better to spend a little more money on a better paint like the Krylon paint and primer. If you buy the cheaper stuff you end up needing more cans to completely cover your surface and it can cost you more in the end. I did about 3 coats and then checked for touch up areas. If you paint thinner layers you may need more coats, but I’m too impatient, lol.

While waiting for the paint to dry I sanded down my tray with a fine grit sand paper. I tried to remove as much of the shiny coating as I could, but I was ok with it not being perfect. After sanding it, I gave it a good wipe down with a clean cloth. I gave my stain can a good shake and used an old cut up T-shirt to rub the stain on the tray. I did one coat and then waited about an hour to see if I liked the shade. I decided to add one more coat of stain just for safe measure.

I let the chair and the tray dry for about 24 hours and then I applied my top coat or sealer. I spent some time and did some research on the best sealer option for a highchair. After all, she would be eating off it. I came across this product called Bulls Eye Shellac by Zinsser. It is non-toxic and All-Natural.  It was just a bonus that I could spray it on instead of using a brush. Gotta love that!


After everything was dry I reassembled all of the tray pieces and voila! My beautiful, revamped highchair was complete! The entire process took about 2 working hours and about 2 days if you include dry time. I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. I love bringing some life back into beautiful, old pieces.


What was your latest repurpose or refinish project? How did it turn out? I would love to hear from you! See you again next week!


Facebooktwitterlinkedinrssyoutubeby feather