Color Transformation – Toddler Table and Chairs

Here’s a quick rundown of my latest project – painting a kid sized table and chairs.  It is a solid wood set from Ikea that was passed down to me from a family with three kids.  They were in pretty decent shape, but were a blah medium wood color and the finish was not smooth in a lot of places because there were teeth marks, glitter, and other things you’d expect after a few years of use by three toddlers.


This isn’t actually the before picture because I forgot to take one before I primed and a picture of the set post-priming.

Leksvik Chair

Step 1:

Primed Table and ChairsI sanded the chairs with 120 grit sandpaper.  I used a sander for the seat and legs, but did the rest manually because it’s tough to get in all those nooks and crannies!  It’s not essential to sand everything, especially if you’re using oil based primer, but it helps with bonding.  I sanded more thoroughly in areas where there were bite marks or glued on glitter to smooth things out.  If I was being very thorough, I would have used wood filler too, but I didn’t care enough to do that.

Step 2:

I used oil based primer.  I’ve never used oil based primer before, but I heard it’s very durable and my dad had some leftover, so I gave it a shot.  Since it was stinky, I did this outside.  I think the primer was a little old and chunky because some areas didn’t go on that smoothly, so after it dried, I did some light sanding by hand with 220 grit sandpaper.  It wasn’t perfect and some of the texture showed through the paint, but I didn’t care enough to fix it.  Next time, I might try Zinsser Smart Prime, which is water based, but supposedly as durable as oil based primer.

Step 3:

I can’t resist buying paint samples when they’re on sale and last Memorial Day, I stocked up on some really fun Benjamin Moore colors from OSH.  They were only $2.49 a can!  I painted the table “Sun Kissed Yellow” and the chairs “Rocky Mountain Sky” (blue), “Calypso Orange”, “Fresh Lime”, and “Bonfire” (red).  BM’s paint samples only come in flat finish, which isn’t great for things kids are going to have their grubby hands all over, but I knew I was going to put a glassy protective coat over the paint, so that was okay with me.

The blue took 2 coats.  I think the other chairs took 3 coats of paint.  And I swear the yellow took a million.  Ok, not a million, but maybe 5?

I painted inside because the BM paint was virtually odor free and I got to watch a lot of episodes of Mad Men on Netflix while I painted.  Priming outside hurt my old lady back.

Step 4:

PolycrylicI applied two coats of Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic Protective Finish in “Clear Gloss”.  This stuff has the consistency of water, but is cloudy, so if you use too much at once, it doesn’t dry clear.  You need to apply very thin coats, which I found a little challenging because sometimes it felt like I wasn’t getting any on the chairs or table.  After the first coat dried, I was reassured that it was in fact adhering and that I could be very light with my application.


A bright and cheerful set that is very wipeable and will hopefully stand up to years of abuse.

Painted Table and Chairs

Painted Table and Chairs Pushed In


I got the table and chairs for free and had the sandpaper and paint, so the only thing I had to purchase was the Polycrylic Finish.  It was $20 at OSH and I used a $5 off coupon, so this project cost me $15 total.  Also, I have almost the entire can left, so I probably only spent $1!  I supposed you could count the 5 cans of sample paint I purchased for $2.50 each, so that’s $15 + $12.50 = $27.50 for a fantastic looking table and chairs.

Now if only I could teach my boys to sit on those chairs while they eat!


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