Fisher is now 7 months old, and was in desperate need of a high chair.  We looked all over to find one that we liked, but had no luck.  We wanted a vintage wooden one, but all that we found were ridiculously expensive.  Big plastic models were looming in our future when our friend Betsy spotted this metal gem at a vintage store for $20.  She grabbed it for us.  Jed was horrified.     

 The poor chair was all kinds of ugly, and Jed though there was no hope.  As eternal optimists, Betsy and I saw lots of potential.  I took the ugly duckling home and it sat in the garage for a while until we had time to get the project completed.

 The tray has already been sanded in the above pic.  It was originally the same color as the back below.  Ick.

 Ugly, oh yes she’s ugly.  On the other hand, she is very well made and easily folds to store flat against the wall.  The tray also removes completely so that it can be easily cleaned.  Awesome.  

 The tan seat and seat back had to go, immediately.  My mama and I went to visit City Craft, a great Dallas fabric store.  I wanted to find some oil cloth to recover the chair so that it would be durable and easily cleaned.  City Craft has a great selection, and had a sale going on.  I choose an oil cloth design in black and white that looks like Mexican papel picado decorated with birds, flowers, and calaveras (happy dancing skulls a la El Dia de Los Muertos).

 We removed the cushions and Jed sanded the ugly bronze paint off of the seat, tray, and back.  The legs and arms were already in pretty good shape.

 I removed the vinyl covers off of the seat and back, and then laid them out on my oil cloth.

 I cut a big square for each one.  
 Then I trimmed it down to size.  I had to trim it even more so that it would fit well.  

 Meanwhile, Jed painted the tray, seat, and back with a lovely light turquoise.  He had to do 3 coats to get it to look right.

 To recover the seats, I had to carefully stuff the oil cloth behind and under the seat and the back.  Then we hammered the seat and back in.  This was the trickiest part of the whole project.  I got a little frustrated, but persevered so that we could have this lovely creation.  

 What do you think?
 I love it.  

 I love the black and white, the papel picado design, the paint color, everything.  I’m a little obsessed with it, quite frankly.

Fisher loves it too.  
The metal makes a great sound when he bangs his little hands on it, and an even better noise when he bangs his sippie cup.  

 I love using vintage pieces because they are often so much higher quality than plastic crap from Target.  We love Target and have our share of plastic baby stuff, but are happy when we can have something a little more stylish and sturdy to go with the rest of our house.

 If you’ve made it this far, thanks for putting up with the insane amount of pictures in this post.  Like I said, I’m obsessed.

How have you used or repurposed vintage furniture or baby gear?
I’m sharing this project at some great blog parties.  They are listed on my right sidebar.  Be sure to check them out to see tons of awesome crafty ideas.  Thanks for reading.  
I also linked up at the PAINT IT Party at Design, Dining, & Diapers.

32 Comments on A Vintage Highchair Makeover with Tutorial

  1. WOW! All I have to say is an awesome exclamation of, “WOW!” Good job Becca and Jed! That high chair is absolutely adorable, and that level just skyrockets when Fisher sits in it! Super job!

  2. That is one awesome highchair and let me tell you why….I bought one of those expensive graco ones at BBRS and it had so many nooks and crannies that food was FOREVER stuck in it and was sooooo nasty! I got rid of it and next time I have a baby I’m finding a vintage one and redoing it {hopefully it will be as cute as yours is!!!} because simple designs are better!

  3. BEAUTIFUL job! I can’t imagine what price it would go for now! I just bought a beat up little bench/stool from the thrift store for $6. I removed the cushion, sanded the wood, and spray painted it brown. Then I removed the old upholestry from the seat. Crazy enough, the ‘batting’ that was used was PINESTRAW. This thing must’ve been OLD! Luckily, the board was cedar and in great shape, so I wrapped it in new batting, covered it in a lovely fabric, and went to town with my staple gun! Look for a photo soon in my ‘office redo’ post. You are so right about the quality of old vs. new furniture. They don’t make things nearly as sturdy these days! Fisher is precious by the way!

  4. WOW!!! I love the chair!! Talk about an ugly duckling, its beautiful now! Great job! I was searching for fellow Texan bloggers & found your site through a link on Texas blogging gals. Great job neighbor.

  5. Really nice. I can see why you are obsessed! Fisher is precious and so lucky to have such a cool chair.

  6. Thank you so much for linking up with me today!! I just love this project, and think it deserves to be seen in blogs everywhere. I’m your newest follower, btw 🙂 Hope to see you again next week!


  7. I have this exact highchair, I used it with all of my children (ages 14-7) and it was also used with all my siblings and myself, it was bough for my brother when he was born, he is now over 40 🙂 It has been re-painted/covered many times!

  8. this is so, so cute!!! way cuter than our newer one. we bought ours off some friends who were moving overseas. it was a great deal but i’ve always hated how bulky it is. yours makes me want to find an old “simple” one to fix up according to our own style!! love it!

  9. Love this! I have the same chair! It was my older brothers. Same bronze back,legs and foot tray. My mom used it with all of the grands and now I am using it with mine just looking to update!

  10. Oh my! So adorable! I am getting one of these that will need to be repurposed. I’m glad to have found this!!! It’ll be so helpful. What did your husband use to pant the chair and tray? Do you find that you need to add any harness to it? Is it necessary to sand it before adding more color? How did your husband sand it? Didn’t the seats need new padding? Sorry for so many questions! I’m so excited to re-do the one we are getting.

  11. I have a question- I am currently redoing mine, but I can’t figure out how to get the back off of it. It’s so frustrating and was hoping this would be a pretty easy project and has been up until now. Any tips you can give me?

  12. I am having the same problem as Jenn. My husband cannot figure out how to get the back and seat cushions off. Any tips would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance

    • My husband used a screwdriver to get the seat unattached. I remember it being difficult. Good luck!

  13. Great job on the high chair! This post is exactly what I was looking for. When I was born in ’63 my Mother bought the same type of high chair second-hand. It has now served three generations and is still just as sturdy as it was in ’63. However, as you can imagine, it’s looking really beat up – like the one you bought. My children think the chair is hideous, but I see potential. I have a couple of questions for you before I begin to refinish mine:

    1. How many yards of oil cloth did you use?
    2. Do you think I could use regular fabric (I want a Peanuts fabric) and then use clear vinyl to cover the fabric?

    Again, You did a great job! Your son is absolutely precious!
    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

  14. Good afternoon! I came across this blog because I’m currently in the process of restoring a very similar high chair. Originally it was mine from the 70’s. My parents customized it for my much younger sister and then my kids and nephew. Now it’s my turn for my grandson and future grand kids. Just curious if you have any sources for replacement parts or literature such as the owner’s manuals. thank you!

  15. Just purchased a vintage highchair like this one to redo! Would love it if you could share what products you used for the stainless steel that is baby safe! And if I need to replace the foam will it make it more difficult? Recommend using what is already there if possible?

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