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The Real Truth About Deconstructing A Chair

The old saying “They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To” DEFINITELY applies to old chairs. The Real Truth About Deconstructing a Chair is those things are put together to stay! However, this DIY Deconstructed Chair looks great now.

Are you a jump-right-into-the-middle-of-a-project kind of person? This practice has served me OKay over the years. However, I seriously made a mistake when deconstructing a vintage chair.

Since I did not realize this beforehand, I jumped into the project with a flathead screwdriver, hammer, needle nose pliers, and A LOT of skin. This was a mistake, for sure! Although I’m thrilled with the results, the scars may be a reminder for the rest of my life. LOL

Before and After DIY Deconstructed Chair

Here is the result of all my hard work, including fun pillows.

the Real Truth about deconstructing a Vintage Thrift Store Chair

Then what the chair looked like initially!

Seeing this cute vintage chair for only $5.00, I jumped on the deal. Proudly, I brought it home to begin the adventure of deconstructing it. Little did I know what was in store for me! LOL

Check out another favorite DIY here!

Vintage Chair for only $5.00

The Project Begins

Tearing the dry rotted fabric off the frame was the easy part. Because the fabric was somewhat dry-rotted, it pulled away quickly. Check out all the staples left behind as the material is torn away. At this point, I was excited. Not discouraged at all. LOL

Down to the Frame – DIY Deconstructed Chair

Now we are down to wood and staples on the DIY deconstructed chair! Although there was a moment of disappointment when I saw the large gap in the back of the chair, quickly, a solution came to mind.

Still optimistic that the project was almost finished, removing the staples began. Boy, what a miscalculation.

Deconstructed Chair stripped down to frame

Hours Later……

Finally, all the staples have been removed! This is the part that took hours and hours to complete. Your hands and fingers will pay the price when you don’t use the proper tools.

Replace back slates for deconstructed chair

My husband helped me to fit two pieces of wood into the back of the chair. Because we don’t want anyone falling out the back of the chair, do we?! LOL

Stain new wood of chair to match the originial stain.

Because this is a deconstructed look, you don’t need wood filler. Just sand with a fine-grit sanding block until the areas are smooth to the touch.

Why Stain the Raw Wood?

Why should you stain the raw wood? If you want the paint finish on the piece to apply evenly, it’s best that all the wood matches before adding paint.

Therefore, you’ll want to stain the new wood and any unstained portion of the chair and choose a stain to match the stained areas of the chair as close as possible.

For this step, I used a quick-drying gel stain in Walnut.

Paint Chair Frame

Next, paint the entire deconstructed chair frame with your choice of color.

I used Old White Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. If you want some of the original stain to show through, paint one full coat and a light wash for the second coat.

See an easy tutorial on how to use chalk paint.

When using a dark wax, you need to be cautious.

To achieve the desired color, mix 50/50 clear and dark wax to age the piece! Add a 1/2 teaspoon of Mineral spirits to the wax and brush it over the piece with a chip brush.

When you wipe away the excess, the mineral spirits remove paint from the edge of the piece for a perfectly aged look.

Because this is a distressed finish, you want to allow the dark wax mix to settle into the crevices on the carved legs and arms.

Almost Done

The springs were in great shape but needed to be covered. Here is a cushion of burlap and batting to cover the springs. Because you will still add another cushion over the top, this is a flat cushion. You can use a staple gun to attach it to the frame.

New cover for chair springs.

A distressed ruffled cushion from Navy Ticking Fabric was added to finish this project. A hand-painted pillow and a farmhouse-style lumbar pillow add comfort to the back of the seat.

The After image of deconstructed chair with new seat cushion and pillows.  Painted old white by Annie Sloan.

Using proper equipment

Here is the loose change found in the chair; however, it wasn’t enough to compensate for the lack of proper tools. Because I learned from my mistakes, I have since invested in appropriate tools for removing staples and tacks from upholstered furniture.

Tools used to deconstruct the vintage chair
Three Piece Upholstery Tool Set
These tools are not expensive and will save you a lot of time and heartache.
I learned that proper gloves are a must.

Golden Stag Gloves

DIY Deconstructed Chair Today

The After image of deconstructed chair with new seat cushion and pillows.  Painted old white by Annie Sloan.

How do you like the DIY Deconstructed Chair?

It’s exactly how I envisioned it, but removing all the old upholstery materials was a lot more than I bargained for. Because I now have property tools, believe it or not, I’m already starting to pull some staples from another thrift store find.

Thank you for stopping by! Hopefully you are not discouraged to try a project of your own. I have learned from my mistakes and hopefully given you the tools and encouragement to begin a project. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions and your comments are always appreciated.



the Real Truth About Deconstructing A Chair
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the Real Truth About Deconstructing A Chair


Sunday 29th of August 2021

Rachel, I’m about to undergo a transformation of my parents’ first piece of furniture, an old rocking chair with an upholstered seat. I was trying to see what you placed under the springs. I’m not sure if I need to use a thin (fiber?)board to support the cushion. Everything is completely deteriorated and I suspect Mickey moused over the years. It’s hard to imagine the original arrangement of support and upholstery. Please advise what you used as the bottom support. Thanks, Pat

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Tuesday 31st of August 2021

Pat, My springs were very secure and I didn't add any support underneath the springs. If they are deteriorated, I'd probably add a piece of plywood to the bottom of the chair to support the springs. You might want to check with a professional upholster for advise to be safe.


Sunday 18th of April 2021

You are soooo right, the tools are a game changer!. I covet my staple remover, but adding the gloves is a must. Thank you for the great pictures and easy to follow directions! Beautiful job 🥰

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Monday 19th of April 2021

Robin, Yes, I will jump right in without getting the proper tools. Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate your input.


Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

Where can you purchase the tools you suggest?

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Thursday 3rd of September 2020

Jan, If you click on the highlighted description of the tools, it will take you to the shop. Any of the highlighted words are linked. I hope that helps. Rachel

Carolyn Bornhoft

Saturday 23rd of May 2020

Love that chair!!! I would love to make one I'm going to keep my eyes open for one. Once good will reopens.

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Tuesday 26th of May 2020

Carolyn Thank you for stopping by. I can't wait to see how your chair turns out. rachel


Saturday 23rd of May 2020

Lovely. You are so talented. You truly must enjoy doing things like this. Keep up the good work. Carole

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Tuesday 26th of May 2020

Carole, I appreciate these sweet compliments. I hope you enjoy exploring more of my blog. Rachel