Decorating Children Table And Chairs – When Asher (almost 7) was a baby, I bought this Ikea Svala table and chairs. Needless to say, I was a bit of an overly excited new mom. So while it would take over two years for Asher to show interest in putting his little bum on one of these chairs, you better believe I had those babies packed and ready for when that moment came! There they sat…unfinished wood…in the nursery…then in the playroom…collecting dust.
As the years went by, Asher eventually learned to sit on a small chair (wahoo) and eventually I made the table and chairs part of my decor. They got a coat of red spray paint and moved to the main level for full use.
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! To celebrate, the table and chairs received a new coat of paint and bonus checkerboard functionality. I loved this table and even made some cute cushions to sit on. But the boys soon boycotted the pillows as “girls” and showed no interest in checkers (or eating cherries).
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And as the years went by, all the red faded from the main level, so it was time to say goodbye to the checkerboard and cherries and say hello to something we can all live with. Enter the beach table.
Today I sanded the chairs and table with a palm sander just enough to rough up the poly and then painted the chairs with my free can of Glidden paint in Wood Smoke.
I painted the table mostly with wood smoke and then dry painted it with sky blue folk art acrylic paint while the wood smoke was still wet. After it was dry, I stretched it a bit so that some of the black underneath would show through. I love the way it turned out!
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The wall board is a Marshall find that I originally picked up for my craft room. I think it looks fantastic here and it’s the perfect place to see the children’s artwork. The bin on the desk was purchased from Gabriel Brothers and contains colored pencils, markers, glue and pencils.
The best part about this makeover is that the boys love the changes and they are still small enough to sit here! And yes, I’ll admit it. I can shed a few tears every day that they don’t want to sit here anymore.
Sniff. Sniff. They grow so fast. Now go get your babies, grandkids, or strangers’ babies (well…maybe not strangers’ babies) before they’re too big to sit at the children’s table!
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Every year, Edelstein gives seven to ten-year-old children a simple task: to build a chair that is unique to them, using only pine planks. Previous examples by Edelstein’s students include the Corner Chairs and the Alligator Chair.
During a series of weekly one-hour sessions, he guides them through a process that involves imagining, sketching, building scale models from paper, cutting and nailing wood, and then decorating their designs.
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Chairs created by Trinity School children in the autumn 2021 term include chairs that look like fantastical animals, chairs that take an abstract approach to form and a few that make creative use of masking tape.
Edelstein, a trained sculptor, has run the workshop for more than 18 years and has earned legendary status among students, some of whom keep their handiwork at home even after graduation.
Contrary to tradition, this cohort of students includes both regular third graders and fourth graders whose classes were disrupted the year before by the coronavirus pandemic.
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During this time, Edelstein adapted the workshop for online learning, had children from home go through the entire design process to the woodworking stage, and added an additional exercise where they would create an environment for a shoebox chair.
“We started talking about the same ideas of looking around and seeing that someone has made all these things, whether it’s a faucet in your bathroom or a light fixture, that the whole idea of design is something where you are constantly. live that they can participate,” Edelstein said.
“I haven’t considered whether you can actually do it,” he continued. “If we’re making it out of wood, you have to learn certain things about joining wood, whether it’s gluing and nailing, or using triangles to stick things like the leg against the chair.”
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Because the students wanted to give their designs physical form when they returned to in-person learning, Edelstein had them join the woodworking class the following year.
Designs from the combined cohort include chairs that resemble a searchlight, a dragon, a swan and a space chair. Others take a less literal approach.
One chair with a single board that reaches and bends high in the air was inspired by ballet. The two students originally wanted to do the same ballet theme, and Edelstein encouraged them to differentiate their designs.
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“I said, ballet is a wonderful idea, but what do you like about ballet?” he explained.
“Can you take some ideas or forms that are important to you and use them? Can you think a little more abstractly?”
“And she said, well, this is how I would stand in ballet — and this is how she raises her hand,” he added. “And I said, well, can we do it with wood?”
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The chair ended up being an abstract interpretation of the movements and positions of ballet, with one leg in the shape of a triangle symbolizing a bent plié leg.
Many children explored hybrid forms in their designs, combining their seats with shelves, desks or hooks to hang things, often inspired by their own interests, such as the idea of having a dedicated space for drawing.
One chair with a small arched entrance cut into the base was intended as a place for a child to hide. The aforementioned cyclops chair has a shelf that doubles as a mouth full of pointy teeth, so it’s very functional and creates a visual gag when people stick their hands in it.
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Some of the designs are simpler in form and come to life in decoration, such as the bookshelf bench painted in flat planes of blue, pink and – underneath – yellow.
“When they added color, I fell in love with it,” Edelstein said. “Because when you see it in real life, it’s shining from below. You’re like, ‘is there light down there?’ It reminds me of a painting by Dan Flavin. It’s very contemporary.”
In terms of decorating, Edelstein briefly showed the children various techniques such as paint, but they often already had clear ideas about what they wanted to achieve with the decoration.
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“When they have an idea of how to do something and they have the confidence, you’ll see them really experiment with materials to get the best out of something,” he said. “They will try to get what they are really interested in, even at this age.”
Edelstein thinks that it is the individuality of the chairs that makes them so memorable, and sees a lesson for adult designers in the approach of the children.
“Allowing personal nuances to come into your work is really important,” he said. “And that’s what you see in these kids. They’re very in touch with their feelings at this point in their lives.”
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“They don’t fight back,” he added. “They don’t adapt. They don’t think about whether it’s stupid or not. I think as an adult, you look at them and realize that maybe we can loosen something up.”
Other recent student projects include six furniture designs from Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm and a chair made from Transylvanian mushroom leather.
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