Carolyn's Upcycled Chair Towel Rack

By Carla Jordan

Carolyn Hawthorne,



These days, everyone's buzzing about upcycling.  Like recycling (only prettier), upcycling is about finding a new decorative way to use something instead of tossing it onto the junk heap. That makes DIY projects, like Carolyn Hawthorne's latest, the hippest game in town and something everyone wants to try.  So when Carolyn told us how she used Olde Century Colors and Briwax to transform a beat-up antique chair seat into this stylish new towel rack, we asked her to show us (and you!) how so we could all try it, too.


Carolyn Hawthorne,



"With only its seat left intact, this old chair appears too far gone for anything," says Carolyn, owner of Bloomfield Treasures Antiques & Primitives (Bloomfield, NB, Canada). "Yet this chair was ideally suited for my project because I only needed its seat and front legs."  And her go-to paint?  "I love Olde Century Colors.  Its quality is amazing and the paint is very durable," she says. "Adhesion to furniture is excellent and, in most cases, very little sanding is required.  The finish is washable and doesn't require a sealer.  The nice soft sheen looks beautiful.  I especially like the Lamp Black color.  I always had a hard time finding a black that didn't have a navy undertone. Olde Century Colors' Lamp Black is a true black."



Old chair

Olde Century Colors Lamp Black #1022 acrylic latex paint

Briwax #BRICL, color-dark brown

Circular saw


Four 1-1/2" finish nails

Carpenters glue

Two drywall anchors


Piece of wood approx 1" x 3" (strapping works well or a piece of reclaimed wood scrap). The length will depend on chair seat width.

Sanding block-120 grit

Paint brush

2 pieces of cotton cloths




Measure 4" back from front seat of chair and cut the seat horizontally with circular saw.



Carolyn Hawthorne,



Cut spindles that attach back legs to front off flush from the front legs of the chair.


Carolyn Hawthorne,



At this point you will have two legs and a 4" piece of seat attached together.


Carolyn Hawthorne,



Measure seat width and cut a piece of 1" x 3" wood (from strapping or reclaimed wood scrap) to match it. Measure approximately 2" from each end of wood piece and drill holes (this will be where your screws will go to attach the finished towel rack to the wall).


Add carpenters glue along cut end of chair seat, then place wood piece flush to glued area and secure it with four 1-1/2 " finish nails.


Lightly sand entire piece to ensure there are no splinters that will catch.


Paint chair legs and spindles with Lamp Black paint.  "Olde Century Colors dries very quickly so, within an hour, it's dry to the touch," notes Carolyn.


Apply a coat of Briwax with cotton cloth to chair seat and and attached wood piece. Wait approximately 5-10 minutes, then buff with clean cloth to reveal a smooth hand-rubbed finish.


Place screws through the holes and hold up to location on wall where you want to mount towel rack.  Gently push screws into wall to make a mark position. Insert drywall anchors into wall, then use screws to mount towel rack.


Carolyn Hawthorne,


Add towel & decorative accessories.



About the Author

Carla Jordan is a nationally published design, cooking/entertaining and lifestyle writer.  Her work can be found in well-regarded magazines and newspapers; as well as online.  She resides in a Dallas-area home of many colors because she can't resist painting this, that and everything.