Have you seen these saddle stools? They were everywhere for a while, and for good reason. They are inexpensive, don’t take up much space and you can put them just about anywhere. We had four of these in red. You know, from the mustard yellow, red, and dark brown days of decor gone by? Ours were about $20 each from Costco, if I remember correctly. Here they are from an old photo.
Once upon a time, I was inspired by a now-defunct blog. They showed a makeover that knocked my socks off and I set out to do the same to our blah stools. I did this in the spring, so I don’t have any photos of the process, but I will walk you through it – there is nothing tricky about it, I promise.
First, I sanded the seats completely down to the bare wood. I used a palm sander like this one above. By the way, I think our sander is from 1972. Steve assures me it is not, but in that case, palm sander technology (or packaging) has not come very far since then. Anyway, I went through more than a few squares of sand paper (I started with coarse, then went to medium once most of the paint was off). Don’t worry if you cannot get some of the paint from inside the grooves – that will add lovely pantina later!
By the time I finished, I was covered in fine red dust, but it was worth it!
I used a damp cloth to wipe down the stools and get them free of dust. Once they were dry, I coated them with two coats of stain (I think it was Early American by Minwax). I used a brush, let the stain sit for about 15 minutes and then wiped off the excess. After 2 hours, repeat the process again. When you wipe them after 15 minutes and the color looks good, then stop the process. Let these dry and then coat with the recommended number of sealer coats (usually 3, but read the can).
Once the tops were done and lovely, I painted the legs with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. I did 2 coats the first go around, but did not apply my sealer wax correctly. Because they were not sealed properly, they had a lot of dings and scratches and I recently touched them up. The good news is I can show you the process from here!
Once I had the legs covered with the chalk paint and dry to the touch, I took my wax brush and worked the wax into the paint all around the legs. Lightly buff with a soft, dry cloth. You don’t want excess amounts of wax on the legs or you will have to work extra hard to get the excess off the next day once it has hardened a bit. If you have never used the wax or unsure if you are using it correctly, you can search Annie Sloan’s videos on how to clear wax , because that saved me.
With the wax applied (and the excess removed), let the stools cure over night. The next day, you can buff with a soft, dry cloth again, this time more vigorously. You should end up with a lovely, hard sheen on the furniture. It is hard to show in photos, but the video I linked to above says you can feel it when it is done right, and you really can. Just run your hands over the surface until you feel the smooth, non-tacky surfaces all over.
Although I had to redo part of these stools, I am so glad that I finally mastered the art of waxing the chalk paint. I love, love, love these stools with this makeover and I am always happy to reuse something I already had on hand – one less thing to buy, one less thing to get rid of!