Since I began upcycling, crafting, and decoupaging, I have wanted to make an Americana art piece. I was uncertain as to what the object would be. I was waiting to see what life, or thrifting was going to place in my path. Then one day, I spotted this chair in a Goodwill Store. The chair needed a bit of TLC, and had some issues. Most of the finish was worn off the chair, and the spindles and legs were loose. The chair passed “the sit test” I sat on it and I didn’t end up on the floor! Nothing I thought a little love and wood glue wouldn’t fix. Despite it’s problems, I knew this chair was something special. The chair displayed several design elements I found intriguing, and the chair style looked very “American” to me. I will be honest, I didn’t actually know anything about this chair, but I knew one thing- I liked it.
A woman behind me saw me looking at it ,and said “That’s a Windsor Back Chair.” She was from New England and these chairs are popular in that area. Then she simply walked away. She was eyeing it up, but I had a tight grip on it. By now the chair was in my cart and rolling with me out of the store. The chair cost $5.99, but for this I think I would have paid a little more, so it was a great deal!
When I got home, I did some research on the chair and It had several of the Windsor Chair Design elements. I found this great website for a company that makes these chairs Gummel Chair works and they feature an interesting history of these Windsor Chairs Beginning with their origins during the reign of King George in England to the shores of New England and the Early American Colonies. It also states it became “preferred” in some circles to paint these chairs to bring out their unique design qualities. This made me feel better about painting the chair, and since I did not have the space to keep the chair out year round, I thought it would be a nice to showcase the chair during the patriotic holidays. Having a reproduction in need of some work seemed exciting and the “perfect” Americana project candidate, It also happened to come along at the perfect time. The July 4th holiday was quickly approaching, and I had to submit an original project for the new Green Crafting Book The Green Crafts Lifestyle .
Red, White and Blue Acrylic paint
Decal, Print, Patriotic decorations for decoupage
Foam Brush to apply Mod Podge
Paint Brushes of various sizes
I cleaned the chair before I got started with a damp cloth.
I primed the chair with two coats of a white latex primer.
I applied the Mod Podge with a foam brush to the seat surface generously. I took the patriotic image I was using and carefully glued the image to the seat. I used my hand to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles. If you have one available, you can also use the rubber Mod Podge, or roller tool to do this as well. Once dry, I applied a layer of Mod Podge with a foam brush over the image to seal it. Now it was time to paint the chair. I used a red white and blue color scheme and continued the pattern featured on the patriotic image for the chair seat. Once the visible parts of the chair were dry, I flipped the chair over and painted underneath. I then cut out some small white stars I wanted to decoupage to the top of the chair to add some additional flare. I applied Mod Podge to the top of the chair with a smaller paint brush and applied the stars to the chair.
Once the chair was dry, I carefully inspected the chair for any painted areas that needed touching up, and added additional paint needed to these areas. I allowed the chair to dry thoroughly overnight in front of a stand up fan. The next day, I applied 2 coats of Mod Podge over the entire piece using the foam brush for larger surfaces, and a smaller paint brush on the smaller areas and chair legs.
An Upcycled Windsor Chair draped in Americana Decoupage:
Before and After: