‘Vintagy’. Yep, i just coined that term. Why would you do this to a perfectly fine piece of furniture you ask?

1) Because it’s fun.

2)Because distressed ‘vintagy’ Tolix chairs cost 3-4 times more than the new ones.

3)Because it involves chemistry and muriatic acid.

Ok, now lets get started. First step is to take your new Tolix chair (ours came in yellow) and give it a good rough sanding. You don’t have to be too gentle, 100 grit will do just fine. You’re not really looking to take the original paint off, you’re just helping the next paint color adhere to the surface by scuffing it up a bit.

Now you’re ready for paint. Don’t don’t don’t try to use a latex paint, or any kind of lacquer-based coating. Just enamel or a suitable enamel-based spray paint. We chose this ravishing orange color. Lovely, right? For the application, we use a compressor with spray accessories, but like i said, you can always use cans of spray paint.

Now that the painting is done and you’ve given the chairs adequate time to dry (24-48 hours), the fun part begins! Get out your orbital sander again with some 100 grit discs and go to town! Hit the edges and other places you would think would get the most wear down to bare steel. Then take some 220 grit paper and smooth out the sanding marks left by the 100.

Then…. RUSTING TIME! I find it really amazing that you can literally rust anything in an hour.  For this part, go get some muriatic acid from your local hardware store and some hydrogen peroxide from your local drug store. Take a capful (or a tablespoon if you want to get all technical) of muriatic acid and add it to a clean spray bottle. Take a full hydrogen peroxide bottle and dump that in there as well. Now spray all of the exposed steel with this solution.

Walk away.

Come back in 1/2 hour or 45 minutes.

RUST! Amazing, right?

The final step is wiping them all down with a soft rag and then paste waxing them to get a consistent sheen and to ensure that rust doesn’t get on your pants or jeggings or whatever.  Rub the paste wax on, give it a 1/2 hour, then buff it off with a clean, soft rag. And there you go! ‘Vintagy’ Tolix chairs!

Check ours out at the new Lou Malnati’s opening at Rush and Division.