Adirondack Chairs Refinishing: DIY Tutorial

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She’s back! Here is my mom’s latest DIY project tutorial on refinish Adirondack chairs. I’ll let her take it from here:

DIY with Mama Jen: Adirondack Chairs

Don’t you love a great deal? I could do a daily post for the next 5 years on all of the fantastic ways Craigslist has helped us rid our home of extra belongings and how it has added many treasures to our trove. Today’s post is about an addition — two Adirondack chairs!!

The wonders of Craigslist

One of B’s favorite pasttimes is scanning our surrounding towns listings on Craigslist for items for free/sale. I typically have a couple of wishes on my ‘projects I’d love to do list’ and a low ball price in my mind that I am willing to invest (my favorite price is always free).

Now, I am not usually one for waiting when inspiration strikes, but patience with Craigslist has proved to be the way to win. After a few great scores, waiting now seems to add to the thrill of the chase!

Of course, you never know who you’ll meet on the other end of a Craigslist listing but you can usually pick up a person’s vibe by their post description.

But side note: There is nothing for sale on Craigslist that is actually immaculate, no way, no how!

For example, this particular seller accurately pointed out that the chairs didn’t match, that they were in good structural condition and best of all candidly revealed that she was selling them because she didn’t enjoy refinishing furniture as much as she thought she would (sometimes with DIY you have to tap out, I can relate). By her choice of words, I knew that there would be a serious amount of elbow grease and tedium needed to bring the chairs back to their glory days.

adirondack chairs DIY
Chair on left: How we got it; Chair on right: After scraping

Next, B made the arrangements to look at them and $40 later we hauled them home and took them into the basement — affectionately referred to as the “beat lab,” our creative/make a mess space.

[Natalie’s Note: I think it’s worth noting that Jonathan, my younger brother, once named the office in our home his “beat lab” when he was writing a poem to a hairdresser he had a major crush on who was moving into a different career…hahaha]


(These are all products I used on the chairs. If you purchase through a link, Natalie will get a small commission.)

  • Putty knife
  • Wire brush
  • Sandpaper
  • A Dremel (this one is ours)


Let’s get started

  • Wear protective gear! Who knows what type of paint was used for all 3 layers I removed.
  • Remove all old loose paint. If you want a finish that will withstand the elements, don’t cut corners here! I used a putty knife, wire brush, and sand paper. But, the best tool of all was this attachment for the Dremel that B purchased for me as a surprise. It made it possible to knock off the loose paint between the chair slats.
  • Prime the chairs. I find painting on our craft table puts my projects at eye level. Why? Because it is kinder to my joints than crouching on the floor. I used this latex primer.
  • Two coats of paint. I used this Rust-Oleum paint. My color inspiration came from the National Park signs.
Photo: Piedmont Fossil via Flickr
  • Time invested: 2 hours per chair not including dry time for the primer and paint.

  • Sit and enjoy the view!

achairs2 adirondack chairs DIY

Natalie and Casey doing a one year anniversary photo shoot sitting on the chairs
Natalie and Casey doing a one year anniversary photo shoot sitting on the chairs

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