How To Make over An Adirondack Chair, Pallet-Style! (with stencils)

Love rustic pallet furniture? This guide shares how to create a charming and rustic pallet-look on an adirondack chair makeover easily with stencils!

Love rustic pallet furniture? This guide shares how to create a charming and rustic pallet-look on an adirondack chair makeover easily with stencils!

Happy summer! And if you’re anything like me, I scour the curb and Facebook marketplace for great deals on outdoor patio furniture to help not only beautify the great outdoors, but to add comfort too!

So, remember my little rustic shed out back?

Take the tour of this rustic garden shed made from reclaimed wood, and learn how to make one yourself! Click to full tutorial.

Rustic garden shed sign HERE

Last year the garden shed got a total revamp, from the ground up! Read Save The Shed Series HERE

Next up was creating that cute rustic garden shed sign along the side.

And as cute as this little rustic garden shed looks, it looked a little lonely. I felt it could use a couple of rustic chairs beside it, being that the shed is tucked under a massive shade tree.

So I’ve been scanning Facebook marketplace, the bidding sites and of course, the free sites I participate in as well. I’ve been on the lookout for a couple of durable adirondack chairs in wood tone to create a yard sitting area that offered built in cup holders. A folding adirondack chair would of course be an added perk.

And then one day there they were… my adirondack chairs dream popped up on my screen!

Almost…

Learn how to clean old wooden adirondack chairs by simply using a pressure washer. Click to see the astonishing after result!

Adirondack chair before

 

Two classic adirondack chairs both coming with their own ottoman had most definitely seen better days. They were left out year around, and were listed as quite rickety. Yup, they were a mess.

But for free, hey, the price was right, even if they didn’t fold up for storage. I reasoned if I could add some adjustments and cushions to get these in working order again, I’d just get covers as well.

They had the roomy armrests I was hoping for with nice high backs at what seemed like a comfortable angle.

But knowing what I do about how well reclaimed wood pressure washes up, I didn’t let their deterioration stop me whatsoever!

Learn how these gritty adirondack chair ottomen got an instant makeover with just a pressure washer! Click to read full tutorial.

Adirondack chair ottomans!

 

But the bonus to landing this outdoor furniture is that they came with adirondack chair ottomans as well!

I will admit, upon pickup, my heart sunk a little when the chairs easily wobbled back and forth with the touch of one finger. At that point I didn’t even know if I could save them. But it was worth a shot for free, right?

And I reasoned, if I couldn’t fix them, they could become adirondack chair garden art with vines growing all over them.

So it was time to roll up the ‘ol DIY sleeves and try and save these adirondack chairs! So my garden shed could have some friends.

Well, not only did I manage to save them, an unexpected adirondack chairs makeover, pallet-style treatment came into play that truly makes them look one-of-a-kind!

So if you come across some old wood adirondack chairs, here’s one really easy, unique and rustic pallet furniture makeover that may be right up your alley too!

How To Makeover Your Adirondack Chairs, Pallet-Style! (with stencils)

 

Supplies I used:

 

Pressure washer

Cordless drill

Orbital sander

Dome-tipped stencil brush

Shipping Crate Stamps stencil

Organic Coffee stencil

(another fabulous stencil is Pallet Stamps stencil which came out later!)

Fusion Mineral Paint in Coal Black (get 10% off)

(get all Fusion Mineral Paint products for 10% off HERE)

Learn how to clean and sand old adirondack chairs for an instant revamp! Click to read full tutorial.

How to clean old adirondack wooden chairs

 

Before putting too much work and effort into the chairs, I decided to clean them up first to see if the wood was even worth saving. My trusty pressure washer makes cleaning outdoor furniture a breeze!

1. Place the chairs on the lawn, then set up a pressure washer.

2. Slowly pressure wash the chair wood until it comes out clean.

Don’t forget to turn them on their sides, as well as upside down.

And I personally just use water for cleaning without soap. I find it does a great job if you use enough pressure and a good pressure washer tip that cleans deeper. (try the green pressure washer tip)

(be sure to check out the video near the end of this post to see the chairs being cleaned!)

Learn how to clean and sand old adirondack chairs for an instant revamp! Click to read full tutorial.

Pressure washed adirondack chair comparison

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And let me tell you, while I was pressure washing the first adirondack chair, my jaw dropped open. I couldn’t believe the gorgeous wood hiding behind all that mildew and grime! They don’t even look like the same chairs.

To the left is the untouched adirondack chair. To the right is the pressure washed chair that is still wet. Isn’t the difference astonishing?!

This is why I don’t even bother cleaning reclaimed wood with a scrub brush. My recommendation for cleaning reclaimed wood is always with a pressure washer since it does all the work for you!

I’m assuming these adirondack chairs are made out of cedar, so therefore, this kind of wood can last a very long time without added sealer. They just need to be kept up. But if you don’t want to worry about upkeeping wood, you can always be on the lookout for different styles that offer resin, plastic or other wood.

Learn how to clean and sand old adirondack chairs for an instant revamp! Click to read full tutorial.

How to pressure wash all reclaimed wood

 

I always recommend pressure washing old wood before using any other cleaning method. It’s fast, easy, eco-friendly and the machine does all the work for you. Here’s a few tips on how I clean all reclaimed wood:

  • Hold the pressure wash wand further away vs. too close at first to test out the pressure. Adjust as needed.
  • Do a test run on an underside first.
  • Remove all the grit, while attempting to leave some patina if possible.
  • Keep moving the wand vs. holding it in one place, so you get a nice even clean finish with no wood gouging.

Watch how in a video further down!

Read more tips on The Easiest Way to Clean Reclaimed Wood HERE

Learn how to tighten up loose joins on old adirondack chairs. Click to read full tutorial.

How to repair loose adirondack chairs

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3. Tighten all the chair joins with a Bosch or Makita cordless drill (my favs!) and outdoor wood screws.

Repairing these adirondack chairs was simple! Since they were assembled with screws, all that was needed was to tighten each join up. Grabbing a few new outdoor durable wood screws, I replaced some screws while tightening others until the chairs no longer wobbled. It worked!

Learn how to clean and sand old adirondack chairs for an instant revamp! Click to read full tutorial.

Sanding outdoor wood chairs for a smooth finish

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4. Once completely dry, sand the wood with a palm sander until the desired smoothness is reached.

The chairs were left outdoors overnight to dry, then were ready to sand the next day.

A palm sander was used at first, then I ended with 1000 high grit sandpaper by hand wrapping it around a sanding sponge.

All angles of the chair were sanded, with most of the focus placed on areas where you touch or sit on the chair.

The wood finish ended up being butter-smooth!Learn how to clean and sand old adirondack chairs for an instant revamp! Click to read full tutorial.

Sanded wood chair comparison

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Left: dry chair freshly pressure washed

Right: sanded with an orbital sander, ending with hand sanding using 1000 grit.

What is really cool about sanding with an orbital sander is that I managed to get all the previous wood treatment off the chairs! See how orange the chair on the left still is before sanding?

The sanded wood turned out PERFECT. A rustic vibe that resembled pallet wood!

Wood pallets come with lots of black ink markings. Random numbers, words and such, depending on what’s being shipped.

What an opportunity! That’s when I grabbed a couple of crate styled stencils to further enhance the pallet wood look…

Outdoor protection?

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I didn’t use any topcoat nor outdoor wood protection. I chose to bring the chairs inside the shed all winter or during rainy weather instead.

However you can also purchase adirondack chair covers to keep them safe from the elements. I love the organic wood-look and they looked this good all summer and winter long by bringing them in.

View the stencils: Organic Coffee / Shipping Crate Stamps

Where to find pallet wood stencils

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I decided the stencils Organic Coffee and Shipping Crate Stamps would team up nicely, being that they both have pallet style graphics, such as weights, dates, random numbers, etc.

Perfect for this Adirondack chairs makeover, pallet-style!

Plus, the word coffee… exactly what I’d be using these chairs for!

Note: Pallet Stamps stencil was launched after which is another awesome choice!

How to stencil wood to resemble pallet wood

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  1. Decide where you’d like the images to be. 
  2. Load a stencil brush with Fusion Mineral Paint’s Coal Black, then dry off most paint until your brush feels dry.
  3. Hold stencil in place, then tap or swirl paint through the stencil to achieve the desired effect.
  4. Space out the images in a random way, rotating thicker and lighter images to balance it all out.
  5. If working with two chairs, pretend both are one so you can design them to look awesome beside each other.

Learn more tips on how to stencil at: Everything you need to know about stenciling HERE

I love styling pallet markings. You can’t do this wrong!

And here’s how they turned out!

Adirondack chairs makeover, pallet-style!

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Come on over and have a seat! I’m having freshly ground coffee made in a french press! What can I get you?

Love rustic pallet furniture? This guide shares how to create a charming and rustic pallet-look on an adirondack chair makeover easily with stencils!

I mean, can you even?! The adirondack chairs makeover, pallet-style and their footrests turned out so beautiful!

While the pallet stamps are discreetly done (so it looks authentic vs. crafted), they add so much style!

The cute little black and white lumbar pillow is from Ikea. Find other similar lumbar pillows HERE

Love rustic pallet furniture? This guide shares how to create a charming and rustic pallet-look on an adirondack chair makeover easily with stencils!

And yeah, my beloved coffee beverage (see coffee stencil here) will be placed right on this wide chair arm! More times than I’m even willing to count.

As for the wood finish, I plan to leave them as-is, and while I did plan to pick up some outdoor adirondack chair covers for when they are not being used, I ended up placing them in the shed instead.

Aren’t those footrests just the best though?! When pushed against the chair, they totally look like official adirondack loungers. So SO cool. What a best chair find!

Because one chair arm got a message, this one gets one too!

Fun fact: 462 from the Organic Coffee stencil stands for my birthday. April 6, 1962.

And now you know that sometimes there are some hidden meanings in the stencils I create.

As luck would have it, these adirondack chairs are positioned to help you sit up straight, vs. lean too far back which I’m so grateful for!

How to choose the right adirondack chair for you

 

Every adirondack chair feels different. So here’s some adirondack chair shopping tips before you purchase some yourself…

  • sit in them before purchasing to ensure they the lounge angle is comfy for you
  • add chair pads to increase their comfort
  • ensure the wide arms are large enough to hold your beverages
  • check the return policy
  • watch for a reasonable price in stores or online

How to protect wooden adirondack chairs from the weather

 

  • store inside a shed during rainy or winter weather
  • preserve the wood with an outdoor sealant if desired
  • ensure chairs sit on concrete pads or something that isn’t absorbing like lawn, long-term
  • use adirondack chair covers when the chairs are not in use
  • choose collapsible adirondack chairs if possible

So after having them a year, I did find storing the adirondack chairs inside a shed to be a top notch way to help preserve the wood from winter weather. But the chairs do eat up a lot of space since they don’t collapse. Next round, I’ll be on the lookout for collapsible.

I still may add some adirondack chair covers (to save shed space!) and I did manage to get some adirondack chair pads later which really helped for added comfort.

So all that’s left to do now…

… is to grab a coffee…

… and sit out back under the big ‘ol shade tree on my little adirondack chairs makeover, pallet-style, and enjoy the view.

They’d also make comfortable seating for a deck, porch or patio too!

I would suggest before you invest a bunch of time or money into an adirondack chair makeover, that you ensure they offer the appropriate lumbar support you need since they are all so different.

Here’s hoping my clean up offers the longevity I’m hoping for!

Pressure Washing Video

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Click above to watch a short video on the easy pressure washing process!

Take the tour of this cozy yard with a rustic garden shed and two newly revamped adirondack chairs, pallet style! Click to read more!

I think the shed looks BFF happier already…

Think you’ll give this pallet-look a go on a future project soon too?

Love rustic pallet furniture? This guide shares how to create a charming and rustic pallet-look on an adirondack chair makeover easily with stencils!

Create a crate look on any project with these stencils:

Organic Coffee / Shipping Crate Stamps

Check out many other crate-styled stencils HERE

Other pallet projects:

 

Learn how to make pallet wood chairs and sofas!

View creative pallet chairs to make HERE

Learn how to add pallet wood markings with stencils to your projects with these inspiring ideas!

Check out other pallet-styled projects HERE

Visit other Organic Coffee stenciled projects!

See other projects made with Organic Coffee HERE

Visit many other DIY projects HERE

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Categories: All Cool Projects, DIY, Furniture, Junk Drawer, Old Sign Stencils, Outdoors, Reclaimed wood projects, Seasonal, Signs, Summer
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24 thoughts on “How To Make over An Adirondack Chair, Pallet-Style! (with stencils)

  1. I happen to have two painted white old rickety adirondack’s that could use a makeover. Bet I could pressure wash them while leaving a bit of the more sturdy spots of white for a shabby chic pallet wood look. I’ve also got two kid size little ones that when I saw them last I think they were painted forest green, but don’t hold me to that. Either way, I’ve got pallet stencils and I know how to use ’em!

  2. They look amazing! I love your stencils ? One could curl up and take a nap ? it look so inviting, such a beautiful place too!

  3. They turned out beautiful! I love to see when older items get a makeover and not sent to the trash. If you ever want to clear coat them, I can recommend Dixie Belle’s Gator Hide. I just got done doing a paint makeover on my kitchen cupboards. I added a coat of Gator Hide so that the cooking grease & mess would come off easier than with just paint. It has a very low sheen & dries so quickly after applying. I’ve used it on small accent tables that I have outside also and it holds up so well to the elements. Great job Donna!

    • Thanks Sharon! And for your product recommendation too! I plan to leave them as-is because I love the finish but if I feel a need for something, I’ll certainly consider your suggestion! Sure appreciate a good review!

  4. What a fabulous find and can’t beat that price! Oh, my word, the shipping crate Adirondacks and my favorite shed on the web are the perfect combination, making such a wonderful rustic vignette and backyard retreat.

    • Thanks Marie! After gutting my yard of all flowerbeds a few years back, it’s a welcome sight to see some cute stuff enter the picture again! Be careful what you wish for…

  5. Adirondack chairs with footrests!!! What a perfectly sublime find, especially for the mistress of rustic, woody makeovers filled with character. Love how they turned out Donna. Your stencils definitely take them up a notch. If you didn’t know any better you would swear that they were made from pallets.

  6. Lovely, lovely,lovely. I have 2 chairs (sans foot rest) in the same condition. Got them on Marketplace for free. Thank you for the guidance on restoring them. One question though, wondering about the split wood on the arms, any plants to shore them up?

  7. These are fantastic! I can’t believe what your TLC accomplished and then the pallet touch! LOVE!!

    Wish I could sit there and have a coffee with you. It looks amazing!!

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