Art DIY Mackenzie

Before + After: Vintage High Chair

April 7, 2011

Before Mackenzie hit the six month mark, I really wanted to have a high chair ready to go for her. We started feeding her avocado at five and half months and just propped her up on our homemade nursing pillow, but I wanted her to be able to sit in her own chair at the table with us. We have a bébéPOD, but Mackenzie always spits up in it and seems uncomfortable. So, I started hunting around for a high chair that would suit our needs.

There are lots of great high chairs on the market, from eco-friendly versions made from bamboo or sustainable hardwoods, to basic, plastic high chairs. I wanted a solid one that would last, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. So, I decided to look for one on Craigslist that I could refinish. I lucked out and found one for just $15. That’s a solid $100 cheaper than if I had bought a wooden one new.

Chris and I have refinished old furniture before, but I really wanted to get this right, so I followed this tutorial from The Frugal Girl (mostly, anyway). I sanded it down, primed it, and painted it white.

I reattached the old hardware, but I will probably need to replace it. I also made new safety straps from vinyl webbing and parachute buckles since the old ones were worn out.

Then, I sewed cushions for the seats. I didn’t have a pattern for this, but it was super easy. I just cut foam that we already had to fit the seat and seat back, used the foam to trace a pattern onto the fabric, and followed the same technique one uses to sew pillow shams. I love how they turned out, and they cushion Mackenzie’s bottom perfectly. 🙂

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  • Reply Kristen@TheFrugalGirl April 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Oh, your highchair looks super great! Good job! 🙂


  • Reply Tiffani March 11, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I have the same exact high chair except it was mine when I was growing up! My mom held on to it and now I have it 🙂 With that being said, we are looking to refinish it but will probably just stain it again instead of painting it. Did you take a part each piece? Mine doesn’t seem like you’re able to but I’m not sure. Any advise would be helpful as I don’t refinish much! 🙂


    Dee Reply:

    How fun! I am still really pleased with this high chair. Unfortunately, though, I couldn’t take it apart piece by piece, which just meant a lot of careful sanding around the curves. Since I used spray paint, I had to be careful about drips, etc., a well. Since you are staining, though, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I hope your project turns out well! Feel free to post a link when you’re finished. I’m sure others would love to see another version of a similar project.


  • Reply Jason Anthony June 7, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Hey there!! Im so glad i came across this because i do believe i have this exact same high chair that ive always wondered about. Would appreciate any info you might could give me on age, maker, value, etc… Dont know where you are but im in Arkansas, my name is Jason and heres my number if texting would be easier…. Thank You!!!!


    Dee Reply:

    Hi, Jason! Thanks for commenting. Unfortunately, I do not have the historical background for this chair. I purchased it off of Cragislist for about $10, and just because I liked the style and it was in solid enough condition that I could “refurbish” it for my little one. You might check Etsy, though — there are many similar high chairs there going for quite a bit more than the $10 I paid. I do know the style is called “Jenny Lind,” if that helps. Try this link to see what I mean:


  • Reply Michelle May 28, 2016 at 8:13 am

    This is so cute! I’m in the process of doing my own high chair for my granddaughter and am looking for great inspiration. I love the dish set on the tray. Does it stay put? Does it have suction somehow? I see this post is several years old but do you remember who makes this? Any info would be great. Thanks!


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