Pressback Dining Chair Makeover – Before and After

After my awful DIY fail on Tuesday with these dining chairs, I finally had success yesterday after re-stripping, re-staining, re-shellacking, and then cerusing the seats to go with my refinished dining table.  And I finally got to use my new paint sprayer for the first time.  I love it!  It was so fun to use!  More on that in a second.  First, here’s how my chair turned out.  (I only got one finished because I ran out of spray primer.)

pressback chair makeover - 9

I think they look so much better than the original dull orange finish.

pressback chair makeover - 1

And of course the seats got the same treatment that the table top did.

pressback chair makeover - 11

Definitely a step (or ten) above the original worn finish.

pressback chair makeover - 2

And I really love how the stained seat contrasts with the bright white paint that I used on the rest of the chair.

pressback chair makeover - 10

And as far as the design on the back, I didn’t do anything to highlight it.  I just painted it all white, and left it at that.

pressback chair makeover - 12

I actually love how subtle it looks now.  I know many of you would have antiqued it, or distressed it, or brought out that design with some dark wax or something like that.  But you know me…I’m not much of one for distressing and antiquing.  Plus, a cerused seat + an antiqued/distressed/highlighted design on the back = competing designs that are way too busy for my taste.

Anyway, here’s a before and after view.

pressback chair makeover - 13

And now, let’s talk about my favorite new toy!  Errr…I mean…tool.  🙂

My paint sprayer!

new paint sprayer

I absolutely LOVE this thing!!!  I’ve been wanting to buy a paint sprayer for quite some time now, and never could decide on one.  I looked at all of the ones that Home Depot and Lowe’s carry.  The big professional ones were way more than I wanted to pay, but the smaller ones made more for DIYers just looked like they had so many parts to clean.  Plus, I read such varying reviews about all of them.

Well, this one (it’s called Critter) is very highly rated on Amazon*, with 4.6 out of 5 stars with 110 reviews.  That impressed me.  Plus, I really liked the simple design and the price (it’s $50).  You do have to have an air compressor, but since I would imagine most DIYers have an air compressor already, that makes this paint sprayer very affordable.

But my two favorite things about this sprayer (the two things that sold me on it, at least) are (1) the super easy clean up (I’d rather clean glass and metal instead of plastic parts), and (2) the fact that it uses regular ‘ole glass Mason jars.  No fancy/specialized container needed for this sprayer.  Just Mason jars, which you can usually find at the grocery store with the canning products.  It does comes with one jar, but multiple jars would be incredibly handy of you’re working on a big job, like spraying all of your interior doors.  Just mix up several jars ahead of time and have them ready so that you don’t have to keep stopping during the job and adding more paint.

And did I mention that it sprays beautifully?  I was really amazed at the incredibly fine mist of paint produced by this paint sprayer.  So if you’re in the market for a paint sprayer, be sure to check this one out.  I highly recommend it!

Please be aware that that’s an affiliate link, as is any link with an asterisk (*) by it. If you click on that link and make a purchase, Amazon will pay me a bit of commission. 🙂



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. The chair came out really pretty! I’ve been shying away from getting a paint sprayer because the fact that they are hard to clean up, etc put me off. However, I like that yours looks simple and as you say, doesn’t have many parts. Also, the price is a keeper, too! Might have to jump on this as I will be building and painting a lot this fall for a craft show.

  2. Wow Kristi it looks wonderful. I don’t care for distressed furniture either and I think this chairs looks amazing!!! Now, can we see it with the table?!!! Thanks for the tip and the sprayer too. Absolutely loving your blog!!

    1. You might have to wait a while to see it with the table. 🙂 The table is back inside, and my house is a total and complete wreck from the kitchen being torn apart. As soon as things get a bit put back together, I’ll get a picture of them together. 🙂

  3. The chair is beautiful !! I too have been looking for a paint sprayer, thanks so much for this information – do you know if I could use it to paint interior walls? Does a lot of spray fly all around?

    1. I’m actually not sure about using it on interior walls. I don’t see why you coudn’t. I didn’t have a lot of overspray, but then again I was using it on an incredibly windy day, so alot of my paint was being blown away from me by the wind.

  4. how can I paint furniture and it not always stay TACKY / STICKY when sitting items on it ? Am I using wrong kinds of paint ? Thanks for sharing all your GREAT projects !!

    1. I have that problem also. All the end table & dressers I have painted (used latex for easy cleanup) are now marked up on the tops. My things were painted white but I don’t remember what the name of the color was. It’s going to make repainting the tops tough.

  5. Oh I really am loving this technique. Itching now to try it. But I’m up to my eyes in a kitchen reno with painting cabinets. But I will doing this next. Great job once again kristi. Cheers

    1. i did add a small amount of water to mine, but I’m not sure if it was necessary. I’m not the best at reading instructions, so I’m not sure what the instructions say. 😀

  6. The chair looks amazing! I have had that paint sprayer in my wish list for months already. So glad to know it works great. I think I will have to “pull the trigger” and buy it for painting my kitchen cupboards!

  7. LOOKS AWESOME!!!! So glad that it all worked out – and I love the paint sprayer that uses mason jars! It screams DIY girl when a Mason Jar is involved!

    1. I used painters tape to cover the edges and the back of the seat that extends beyond the chair back. Then I used a plastic garbage bag to wrap the main part of the seat. I just wrapped it around the seat and taped it on the bottom of the seat.

    1. I’ll work on that. 🙂 Right now my house looks like a tornado went through from all of the kitchen mess. As soon as I can get some of it cleaned up, I’ll get a picture of them together.

  8. The chairs look great! I love the seat and the carving in the back is still visible with the paint but not overpowering. Great job!

  9. Thanks for the info on the paint sprayer. I have been looking at them at Lowe’s and HD for some time now. The table and chair turn out fantastic. I really like this technique. I will definitely have to try it in the future.

  10. The chair is a beauty! What a wonderful dining set to have … I know, you will drag them out for extra seating! But I think they should be out somewhere and not hidden away! You’ve made me a believer in cerusing a strong grained wood for sure. Also, thank you for the paint sprayer info. I have been wanting one since I plan to paint my kitchen cabinets this year and this one would be great! Does it take different size Mason jars?

  11. Very nice, I love the contrast of the white with the cerused wood seat. I’m not a fan of the heavy distressed look either.
    The thought of having to clean all the parts of a paint sprayer never appealed to me but this one looks manageable plus it has a cute factor with the mason jar attached. 🙂

  12. This is wonderful! I almost love the chairs more than the table for some reason, lol. I hope you come back to this thread and answer all the questions. I’m seriously considering refinishing my table, chairs and side board now that I’ve seen how easy it is to get a fresh new look (and I’m not talking about how easy all the work is but how easy one can actually DIY something like this.) I just need some consistently warm weather now. Such a great project! Thanks so much for sharing all your experiences with us!

  13. Win! I’ve always backed away from those press-back chairs, but this one is fabulous! Glad you left out the distressing. And as for that paint sprayer, I believe this is going to be a hit with just about all your followers. I have a different brand that has been in the box for several years. It looked just too complicated. I’m ordering the mason sprayer! Cannot wait to get it going!

  14. I have always loved this particular dining set. You did an excellent job! I love it even more after you put your special touch on it. 🙂

  15. I have been at this paint sprayer for more than a month. I am so glad it was a good one…!!!
    The chairs and dining table are fabulous. I love the options of the last post that you showed 10 tables. I am going to update my kitchen table but use gold paint for the top….thanks for all you share!!!

    1. I’m also going to use the gold paint on my dining table, but am now thinking of doing the chair sets gold also. You did an awesome job love the white, just love it.

  16. I’ve had that sprayer on my Amazon list for awhile and just haven’t bit the bullet. I’m glad to hear that you like it. I’m more likely to make the investment now.

  17. Kristi I love the the way the way the chair looks. I cannot imagine how fabulous the wing chairs will be , that these will just be back up chairs! I cannot tell you how many paint sprayers I have gone through jost because of the cleaning hassle. I just asked my husband if the big yellow thing in the garage was an air compressor that could be used with thing other than his nail gun…..he said yes! I will be buying that sprayer and using your link! I have three cases of mason jars in the garage, and ten pieces of wicker that need to be painted. Thank you for the tip!!!

  18. I do not think the chairs would have turn out this beautiful if you had done something else with them. They are perfect. Well, the one chair you showed is perfect. Will we get to see a picture of the table and chairs together ?

    1. Yes, I’ll show y’all eventually. I need to get the other chairs finished, and then get my house put back together so that it doesn’t look like a tornado went through. 🙂 This kitchen remodel has really taken its toll on just about every room in my house.

  19. I have this same table and chairs and thought about pitching. Now I want to try this… it beautiful.

  20. Wow, Kristi it looks magnificent. You are such an inspiration. The chair is beautiful Thanks for the tip and the sprayer too. Absolutely loving your blog. Thanks for sharing all your GREAT projects!

  21. I have these same chairs and want to do the same treatment on them. Question…how did you keep from getting the white paint on the chair seats? Especially since you used a paint sprayer. LOVE the way they turned out!! You did an awesome job.

    1. I used a lot of painters tape, and then wrapped the main part of the chair with a plastic kitchen gargage bag. Just wrapped and the taped it on the bottom of the chair.

  22. Wow Kristi, the chair looks awesome. Way to go!! I am very interested in the sprayer you used. But would like more info. Where did you paint the chair? In an enclosed space? How to prevent over spray? Would appreciate some info on this. I have some furniture to paint and this looks like a great option. You can email me if you don’t want to go into it on the blog. But a tutorial might be helpful for lots of us. Thanks in advance. Keep up the great do it yourself projects. You inspire me!!!!

    1. I actually just painted it in my back yard. I don’t really have a great place for spraying furniture, so I put a scrap piece of plywood out, and then set the chair on it. When I sprayed it, it was actually quite windy outside (if I waited for a pretty, non-windy day here in central Texas to paint, I’d never get any painting done!) So the wind carried away any overspray. I didn’t really worry about it since the overspray would have been completely dry by the time it hit anything.

      I eventually hope to have a spray booth of some sort just to protect from the wind. I’m sure I used at least two times more paint than should have been needed just because of the wind!

  23. Now you have me thinking I want a sprayer! Unfortunately, I don’t have a compressor so it would be a bigger purchase…….suppose it depends on how much I’ll use it because it must be cheaper than buying spray cans……will think on that!
    Your work and ideas are inspiring as always, Thanks!

  24. When you painted your chair, did you turn it upside down to do the legs? I have 2 of those pressback chairs in my attic. You got my wheels turning.

  25. I need help. I want to buy an air compressor, how many gallon air compressor should I buy for stuff like you do? 3gallon, or 6 gallon or 19 gallon? What do you have?

    1. Becky, I have this Porter Cable 6-gallon 150-psi pancake compressor, and I absolutely LOVE it!

      (That’s an affiliate link.) 🙂

      You can buy it on Amazon, but I actually bought mine at Home Depot right around Christmas when they had a special package deal. I paid about $150 for a combo set with the compressor plus an 18-gauge nail gun that shoots up to 2-inch finishing nails, a 16-gauge nail gun that shoots up to 2.5-inch finishing nails, and a staple gun. Unfortunately, I think that package deal was only a holiday thing. I haven’t seen it in the store since Christmas.

  26. Absolutely Fabulous. The chair looks amazing. You are really a talented person and work and thoughts are very inspiring. Tutorial might be helpful for lots of us. Keep up the great do it yourself projects.

  27. I love the cerused table and chairs. I was wondering how much liming wax you used for your table and 6 chairs? I am looking to do the same with a 96″ table, 6 chair tops and the top of a China cabinet but unfortunately have to order out of country for the liming wax. Any help you get give me with quantity would be appreciated. Thank you so much.

    1. Oh, that’s a hard question to answer! I used almost an entire can of liming wax, but I also did part of the table, and then stripped it and started over. If you’re also doing a china cabinet, then I would suggest just going ahead and buying two. You’ll definitely have almost an entire can left over, but I’d just hate for you to run out in the middle (or towards the end) of your project. And perhaps if you don’t use the second can at all, you can return it.