The Tale of a Yellow Chair (and a few tips for painting with enamel paint)

We live on a street where almost all the neighbors know the other neighbors. The kids run through everyone’s backyards and stop to play with toys that happened to be left out. If you go outside in the evening, be prepared to talk with the neighbor or another someone passing by. It’s a great place if you are making cookies and you realize you are out of sugar. It’s also nice that it’s so quiet during the days while everyone is at school or work.

A bright and cheery mustard yellow chair.

It’s perfect if you enjoy people being around.

It’s also been the best neighborhood ever for pulling some great pieces of furniture out of our neighbors’ trash. (Is that socially acceptable?) We have done this multiple times…mostly from our right next door neighbor. First was this dresser. Then it was a perfectly fine wooden cabinet that needed a hinge replaced. Then it was a great iron outdoor bench. And then it was a set of wooden kitchen table chairs. (This set of chairs is nicer than the ones we use at our kitchen table.)

I hate to admit that my husband and I have made a habit of checking their trash pile Sunday evenings when they carry it all out to the curb. Next ensues the conversation as to whether we walk over and pull something out while they watch or wait until after dark and hope no ones sees. It’s terrible, isn’t it.

A bright and cheery mustard yellow chair.

When they put these four black chairs in their trash, I didn’t hesitate to walk over and talk with our neighbor and ask if she really was getting rid of them. She said they were, and I simply requested if she minded if I took them.

This little blog and Etsy shop is slow going and often slow growing, but progress is being made, and I was wanting a few more photo props for products.

Peter brought me up all the colorful cans of paint that he could find leftover in the basement. I found what I considered the perfect mustard yellow. It had been down there from the previous owners, and we both knew it had to be at least seven or eight years old.

A bright and cheery mustard yellow chair.

After having some very unexpected trouble with drips, we looked a bit closer at the can and realized we were painting with enamel paint. We slowed down the process and ensured layer after layer was drying completely before we added another layer.

What started as a photo prop has currently turned into an end table. A cheery one at that. I was ready for a bit of color in the living room, and it’s the perfect (quite inexpensive) solution for now.

A bright and cheery mustard yellow chair.

From our little experience, here are a few tips we learned about working with enamel paint:

1. Clean and gently sand down your painting surface like you would with most other furniture paints.
2. Mix your paint really well. If it’s been sitting for a long time (like ours was), be sure to use a stir stick. You may be surprised how much has settled at the bottom even after shaking it for a while.3. Think thin coat after thin coat until you get used to working with the texture of enamel paint.
4. Enamel paint takes longer to dry than normal latex. Expect to wait a full 24 hours between layers. We did not do this with the first two layers and we found that putting on another layer almost re-moistened the first layer causing lots and lots of drips.

A bright and cheery mustard yellow chair.
5. Since we weren’t looking for a professional finish, we did not use primer first, but we’d recommend using primer (in most cases) when painting yellow on black.
6. Once the enamel paint has dried, it’s very forgiving. I figured I’d be sanding down a few places and re-painting, but once the paint dried, the drips and inconsistencies are not near as noticeable.
7. Enamel paint has made for a really great finish on this chair and also on another dresses we painted a few years ago. If you are looking for a more ‘professional’ finish, enamel may be a good option to consider instead of chalk paint or latex paint.

A bright and cheery mustard yellow chair.

2 thoughts on “The Tale of a Yellow Chair (and a few tips for painting with enamel paint)

    1. Kristin, I’m the same way. I even have a hard time donating when I feel I can repurpose something! She’s mentioned it’s just a bit more convenient for their family to not take the time to sell or donate. Good thing we are there to keep everything from going to the trash! 🙂

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