Up-cycled leather dining room chairs

Abby here again! Hello!

One fine day in the Tall Dork and Matching home, baby C and Matt were taking a nap and I was lazily searching the internet. Until I saw these gems being tossed on a local freebie page on FB and had to have them!


I jumped into our bed shocking Matt awake. I mischievously told him I had to go run an errand and he knew what that grin meant: we were getting more free junk for the garage. Not this time Matt!!! These beauties were getting up-cycled asap.

If you read in our previous post, we had recently mixed up a beautiful stormy blue batch of homemade chalk paint and dip dyed our dining table with it. But that’s as far as we have gotten in the dining area. A table. We knew we wanted to do a built in bench around 2 sides of the table and we have a high chair, so we only needed 2 chairs. Lucky find I guess.

Heres our lonely dining room tableHere’s our lonely dining room table

Now these chairs weren’t in ideal condition. The legs were rusty, both chairs had paint, marker, and pen on them as well as a few minor rips. But I could see past it! These chairs were going to be so handsome

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We have attached affiliate links at the end of this post at no additional charge to you. We will earn a commission when you link though and purchase.

Things you’ll need for this project:

 – Otter oil – or some sort of leather conditioner

– Chalk paint

– Brush

– Cloths for cleaning

– Chair leg caps

– Hair spray

– Soap

– Magic eraser

– Crazy glue

– Electric drill or a screw driver

First thing was to clean these chairs and take them apart


For the leather I firstly cleaned it with soap and water. That managed to dissolve most of the paint. Then I attacked the marker with the magic eraser (which I soaked in soap and water for an added kick) and it worked miracles! I scrubbed away at the pen but just couldn’t get it out.

My day job is as a hairdresser and I had read online that hairspray works for this sort of thing. So I was optimistic. I sprayed directly to the penned area (not like you would apply it to hair!) then scrubbed it out with the magic eraser. I won’t say that it completely worked, but it did dull it quite a bit! Thank you trunk full of hair product!

Now make sure after every step where you are using anything abrasive to condition the leather. It can dry and crack pretty easily. So after every scrub I applied otter oil which also helped with the stains.

For the legs I first removed the leg caps. They were nice, but were missing a few so I decided just to replace them all. They are basically just big thumb tacks attached to the leg so they came off pretty easily with a few wacks of the back of a hammer.


Then I sanded the rust off of the legs with the sander – heres a tutorial on removing rust for more details

Once everything was clean, smooth, dry, and conditioned I brought them inside to paint. I wanted to make sure I painted all the way to the bottom and had no paint build up so I propped up the legs using cutlery. This was a great way to elevate the legs enough to not have paint pooling at the bottom.


I painted the handles as well but it was hard as they don’t really sit still on anything. So I did a rough job for now, but more on that later.

I did 3 coats of paint then 3 coats of water based poly – waiting the appropriate time between coats to dry fully.

Photo_1567215325137.jpgOnce everything was dry, I reassembled the chairs. Screwing the legs and handle back on.

It was much easier at this point to take a small brush and carefully paint the handles now that they were steadily attached. I managed to only get a little drop on the leather, but it’s chalk paint so was super easy to clean up.

I crazy glued the leg caps to the legs and let them dry.

We are getting so much closer to having a finished dining room!!!


Have you tried this project? Tag us on Instagram for a change to be featured in our stories! @talldorkandmatching

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