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Adding Mexican Style Furniture Design to Chairs with Paint

Updated on September 1, 2012

Mexican design celebrates color and texture, using bold shades of red, blue and yellow alongside complex geometric patterns and images taken from nature. Mexican design encompasses primitive folk art and stylized artwork in conjunction with rustic materials and hand worked metals. The results in applying this complex style in painting wood chairs produce unusual and personalized furnishings.

Add Color

Basic wood chairs may be transformed into stunning pieces of furniture with a bit of paint. To create a Mexican style dining chair set, select four to six solid wood chairs with slat or solid backs.

Select two or three of the colors characteristic of Mexican design: red and pink, ocean blue and sunny yellow. Paint each chair a solid color and allow the paint to dry. Arrange the chairs so the colors alternate around the table.

Add Flourish

To personalize the painted chairs, add a specific design detail to each one. Use green and white paint to paint a flowering vine on one of the chairs. Use pink and yellow paint and add primitive renderings of zinnias or calendulas on a second chair. Continue with images from nature for all the chairs, but decorate each one with a different pattern and use a variety of colors.

Highlight One Image

You may be painting just one chair instead of creating a set. Use the chair as a canvas and create one stunning image. Paint the chair a bright blue and allow the paint to dry. Treat the back of the chair as a canvas and paint a sunburst on it. Paint the chair pink and create a stylized seashell for the image. Other motifs found in Mexican design include banana leaves, mangoes and geometric shapes such as harlequin and stripes.

Make It Old

An antique Mexican chair may have several layers of paint and show wear along the legs and on the seat and back. Mimic this look to create a rustic flair for your chair.

Strip the paint to bare wood. Apply a primer to seal the wood. Apply a coat of red paint and allow the paint to dry. Remove small patches of paint from the corners of the chair by lightly sanding with fine grit sandpaper. Apply a coat of blue paint and use the sandpaper in small areas near the bottom of the legs, exposing some of the red paint. Add a coat of yellow paint and apply the sandpaper technique to the back and seat, exposing both patches of blue and red. Use a small brush to touch up any areas you feel are not attractive or look too contrived. Add a crackling glaze to various areas to further the antique appeal.


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