Chippy Chair How To

before/after chippy chair

Wondering how to make a chair chippy?

I had this lovely wooden chair come my way. She had pretty curves and lovely legs but she was very blah don’t you think?


I decided to spread my wings and step out of my comfort zone from my usual style of painting and try a few new techniques. I love the versatility of milk paint. I can cover something with solid coverage, I can cover solid with some distressing, I can blend colours, I can put it on and let it chip randomly, or I can control chipping as I did with this chair! LOVE it, and oh what fun I had with this one!

As with all pieces, a little prep goes a long way – I removed the seat and gave this piece very light scuff sand (it took me less than 60 seconds) and cleaned it as it had many years of dirt on it! Total prep time less than 5 mins. Including time to try to find my sanding sponge that hubby may or may have not put away. Just sayin’

sanding prep

And, um, as always ignore the lovely is what it is :)

I decided to use a couple of colours that I have not used a lot and I adored the outcome! Miss Mustard Seed’s Trophy and Apron Strings.

Trophy and Apron Springs

One coat of Miss Mustard Seed‘s Trophy with a bonding agent was put on quickly. I loved the look this colour has, and I have plans to use it as a solid on a large custom piece next month (can’t wait).

bonding agent chippytrophy

Once the first coat dried I gave it a very quick and super light sand with a high grit sandpaper, just to knock it back again and ensure a smoother final surface, then I used hemp oil here and there with a small brush on the chair where I wanted chipping to happen  (it will work as a resist) I then painted the entire chair with Miss Mustard Seed’s Apron Strings – a lovely coral colour that I have been using a lot lately!

hemp oil application

When painting over hemp oil, don’t try to “work it in” simply cover with an even stroke and leave it. Really. Leave it. Resist the urge to paint back and forth and work it in. It will resist (that’s what you want). So, one even coat over. Don’t brush back and forth. Don’t do it. Just leave it. Got it??

Add the second colour to get that chippy look

Apron Strings

I left the piece and when I came back the next morning I may or may not have squealed at how much chipping was going on. I’ll never tell. But seriously, it was chipping in all the right place. I was a little happy about this. I grabbed my sanding sponge – that was put away in the right place (just sayin’) and gently started to the sand where the chipping was happening.

random chippy

In some places, it chipped down to the wood, in others to the Trophy – love that  – When sanding I usually go in circular soft motions to control where it peels vs where it is just cracked. Then I stood back and decided I kinda liked stepping out of my box and trying new things. This chair was kinda cool.

I did finish this chair off with Homestead House no VOC polyurethane, as you want to seal the chipping. You can wax over a chippy piece if it’s not too chippy. This one was in need of poly to ensure no further chipping happened.

I then debated what to use for material on the seat, and had a little brainstorm (happens every now and then) and covered it with one of our coffee bags. I’m so happy with the way this turned out!

chippy Aprong Strings chair

I don’t think she is blah anymore, what do you think? Have you done anything in a chippy finish?

before/after chippy chair

Thanks as always for popping in,



*This blog post was updated in September 2021. Front Porch Mercantile is no longer a physical retail store and has grown into Front Porch Lifestyle. Now Wendy offers her services as a business coach to other creatives while continuing a blog more focused on living a creative life.



Wendy, John + Front Porch Lifestyle

Wendy, John + Front Porch Lifestyle



  1. Sue at Blu

    You rock girl! …just sayin!

  2. Pia

    Love it AND the fabulous tutorial- you rock Wendy! Just sayin!! Xoxo

  3. Kristen

    Love the transformation! I love apron strings – I have an unopened bag just waiting for me to try out soon!

    • Wendy

      Hi Kristen, you NEED to open that bag and get painting! :)

  4. Heather

    Totally adorbs Wendy!! Love the chippy factor, the color and the fabric you used!!! Thanks for sharing at Monday Funday Link Party! I pinned and tweeted it! Miss you girlfriend! xo Heather

  5. Tarnished Royalty

    Hi Wendy! Just wanted to pop in and say that I like your new bio photo! It’s very welcoming and natural! ~Ann (CM classmate)