Distressed Wooden High Chair Tutorial {In Pink}

When I initially settled on a theme for my niece’s first birthday party, the item at the top of my list that I wanted to tackle was the high chair.  I pictured it old and wooden, painted pink and slightly distressed.  And I knew it would be a focal point of the event.  I just needed to track one down to use as my canvas.  The problem with old wooden high chairs is that although they are often in poor condition, they can be pricey and hard to find.  I managed to locate one on Craigslist for $30 and for an added bonus, it wasn’t in such bad shape at all.

high chair cover


original high chair{This is the original high chair, photo taken by the owner, before it was painted}

I found this Americana Decor paint at Michael’s craft store and it was as easy to use as the little jar promised it would be.  There was no need to sand the chair before applying the paint.

paint blog pic {The creme wax and the soft-touch varnish didn’t seem to be that different, so I got both in case I wanted to test each of them out, but ended up only using the creme wax}

I started with one coat of the pink chalky finish paint and then let it dry.  This paint dries very quickly, which makes this project so easy to complete in one afternoon.  Once dry, I painted a second coat and let that dry, too.

painting blog pic{For this high chair, I used about one and a half cans of the pink chalky finish paint to cover with two coats}

Remove the tray and paint that separately, making sure to turn over when the top is dry, so that you get the bottom and the sides, too.

tray blog pic

Then, I began sanding to distress.  When distressing, I focused my attention on the edges where natural wear and tear usually occurs.

sanding blog pic

To make the distressing look authentic, stick to the edges and the high points of the furniture that would have been touched most often.  Such as the arms of the chair where hands rest and the foot bar where little feet tend to lay or kick against.  I also sanded the seat of the chair, going over the curves.

sanding on the bottom blog pic

sanding again

Next, I applied the clear, creme wax with a slightly damp, clean rag.  The wax offers a soft, smooth finish and not much is needed, so apply sparingly.

creme wax blog pic{I did go over the chair with the sand paper once more after waxing, so that I made sure to rough up the polished look a bit}

Things You Will Need:

1.  Wooden high chair.

2.  Americana Decor (or another brand) of paint in your desired color in a chalky finish.

3.  Americana Decor (or another brand) of clear creme wax, varnish or dark wax, depending on the final look you are trying to achieve.

4.  Old rags.

5.  Paint Brushes.

6.  Sandpaper.

bird's eye view blog pic

{Additional Tip}

1.  Dark waxes can be used on top of clear waxes to add an even more authentic, antique look.  Since this was my first go at this, I stuck to the clear wax, but I am looking forward to trying the dark wax next time as well.

high chair complete

Stay tuned for photos after the party this weekend, so you can see the finished product with the one-year-old model sitting pretty in her new chair!

Hope you find this helpful if you, too, are looking to paint and distress a high chair for a kid’s party!


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