When you leave class you'll have a fully assembled chair, but painting will be finished in your own shop. Some students get right on this, others wait. 

This painting overview has been put together as a reference for whenever you get to it.


Chairs are painted with milk paint, a nontoxic water-based paint generally made from milk and lime with pigments added for color. I recommend The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company's paint, although other brands are available. A pint of dry paint will be enough to cover one chair. I also recommend adding an anti-foam agent to your mix.


  1. Mix your paint powder, water and anti-foam. My formula is 2:1 water to paint with a few drops of anti-foam. One-third of a cup of each should get you through one coat. 
  2. Filter your paint with a paint strainer, cheese cloth, or pantyhose.
  3. Apply paint using a high quality soft bristle brush. Let dry overnight.
  4. Rub out the finish with 00 steel wool. (Use 0000 steel wool after the last coat of paint.)
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 four until you've applied 3 coats of a single color or 4 coats of a layered color (e.g. black over red).

If you're doing a two-color paint, such as black over red, do two coats of each color.


Two coats of an oil/varnish blend will be applied over the paint for added durability. You can buy pre-mixed oil/varnish blends such as Waterlox or Danish oil, but I recommend just making your own. My recipe is boiled linseed oil, a high quality spar varnish (such as Behlen) and paint thinner/mineral spirits mixed 1:1:1.


  1. Brush on and wipe off the mixture. Wipe until all bleed-out of oil is gone.
  2. Let dry a full 24 hours between each coat.


A paste wax will provide a final layer of protection to your chair. I recommend a paste wax such as the beeswax and carnauba wax based Briwax. Other high quality paste waxes will work fine too. Follow the instructions then you're done!