Chalk Painted Church Pew with DecoArt

In: Home Decor Tutorials
chalk painted church pew

This post contains products I received at no cost for review, please see my disclosure for more details.

Happy Summer Everyone!  I’m sure everyone is having an amazing one!  If not, you should give it a try, summer is great 😉

So, yes, I realize I am still not finished with my Mom’s Riverside Bedroom Makeover.  Your probably discreetly whispering, “What kind of daughter is she?  What’s taking her so long?  Her poor mother…” and blah, blah, blah…  Well, let me tell you that my mom spends just as much time as me in the pool so it’s her fault also!

Anyways, as I slowly finish her ceiling, I’ll share this really cool chalk painted church pew makeover from two cut up pews I found on the side of the road.  Actually, it was one really long pew that was cut into two pieces. (It wasn’t stinky though.  The name is misleading.)  I know, who the heck would leave such an amazing find on the side of the road…  Dumb.

Basically, I had a twelve foot church pew that was cut in the middle with the center support still attached to one side.  Get it?  Here’s a pic to give you an idea…

One sided church pew

One sided church pew

What I needed to do was make it into one six foot pew using the two decorative legs.  This proved a bit more difficult than I had envisioned since each side weighs like a hundred pounds.  That’s an exaggeration, but they are super heavy and cumbersome.

The Re-build

Step 1:

Remove decorative side from one of the pews.

I chose the one I did because the veneer was not as damaged and I thought it would be easier to repair where it was damaged.

After removing the trim that hid the nails holding the side on,

Trim hiding nails in church pew

I tried to pull out the nails using every tool in my tool box.  They proved too smart for me.  So I did what anyone else would do in a fit of frustration.  I kick it a couple times and it fell off!  WooHoo!  I think I received a little help from above on that one 😉

Removing side of church pew

Step 2:

I cleaned out as much of the old glue as I could using a chisel so that the pieces would fit snugly together.

Step 3:

I decided that pocket holes would hold the pieces together nicely.  I took apart my Kreg Jig and clamped the inner part onto the pew where I wanted my pocket holes.  The same way you would use the Mini Kreg Jig.  I put three on the back of the seat and two on the bottom.

disassembled Kreg Jig to use as a Kreg Mini

Step 4:

Then I added glue to the joining edges and attached them with 2″ Kreg Screws.

Cherry church pew

Boom!  one- six foot long church pew and a dog photo bomb!!  Plus, I still have the other one to play around with and maybe build my own sides :)  (Right now I’m smiling like Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation.  Minus the mustache.)

Okay, great, so now I have a cherry church pew, but honestly, I don’t like cherry so much.  It reminds me of the 90’s the same way Dr. Marten’s do.  Not what I want hanging around my house.

Enter DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint.  Again.  I chose to use this instead of my own recipe for a couple of reasons.

1. This is a truly awesome piece and I wanted it to turn out perfectly with little room for error.

2. I didn’t want to have to sand this giant thing in between every coat.  No fun.


I opted to use the color Primitive lightened up a bit with some Everlasting.  In more describing word terms- taupe and white.  Then I wanted it antiqued just the right amount so it looked like it had been around for years aging in all the right places.

DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint and Creme Wax

The Paint Job

Step 1:

After filling in all of the broken veneer and holes with wood putty then sanding, I mixed my paint colors to a lighter taupe color.  I had to mix up another batch in the middle, but I wasn’t too worried about getting the ratios exact because the dark wax would hide it.  It took two coats to cover the dark cherry.  I also had some stain bleed through, but again, not that worried about it.  You can purchase Stain Blocker from DecoArt if you are concerned about it.

Church pew painted a taupe color or Primitive in DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint

Step 2:

After allowing it to dry, I gave the entire piece a coat of clear wax.  If you don’t do this before the dark wax, the dark wax will stain the paint and will not give you the look you want.

Applying clear wax to DecoArt Primitive Chalky Finish paint

Step 3:

I don’t have any pictures of this, sucky I know, but this part is super messy and pictures just couldn’t be taken at this point.

Using my brush I painted the piece in small sections with a thin coat of dark wax, then wiped off with a clean rag.  Wiping and smearing as I went to get it in all the right places.  When it got a bit too dark, I brushed on some clear wax and wiped until it was the right tone.  The clear wax will remove some of the dark wax like an eraser.  Super awesome and forgiving.  Just the way a church pew should be.

All in all, this piece took me about five hours of painting time to finish.  Not so bad for an amazing piece of furniture in my home that was literally a piece of garbage.

I am in love with the end result.  How about you?

primitive chalk painted church pew with dark wax

Primitive chalk painted church pew with dark wax


  • loritpets

    What a find. I can just imagine telling my husband to stop so we could pick that up, whiplash, as he hit the gas, that’s what. It was a lot of work but so totally worth it. Good job Erica, this is amazing.

    • Erica

      Haha, luckily my husband wasn’t with me because that is exactly what he would have done! He wasn’t too happy to help me unload it from the van when he got home from work that day though!

  • Sue Pekarek

    Don’t they know church pews are treasures not to be thrown away let alone left on the side of the road? Great find Erica and it turned out wonderful.