Restoring a Stokke Tripp Trapp

April 23, 2019 in DIY / Motherhood

I’m not usually the person who has luck finding name brand items at thrift stores. Vintage lamps and cute dresses for my daughter? Check and check. But when it comes to recognizing things that people love, I’m pretty clueless.

However, one thing I do know a lot about is bougie baby stuff. I was cruising the back room of our local Salvation Army this weekend looking for a matching pair of walnut nightstands when I spotted something I recognized.

“Is that a Stokke Tripp Trapp???”

I texted a photo to my friend and stepped back for another look. It certainly looked like a Tripp Trapp, and it had a Stokke label on the bottom rail. This was the real deal— for $15!

I have to say, I was pretty pleased with myself when I tossed it into my cart. There were a lot of people cruising around the store, clearly looking for stuff of value. None of them recognized this posh high chair!

Sidenote: Salvation Army doesn’t seem to do any research on the donations they get. Seattle Goodwill is more aware of the brands they have and prices accordingly (and then puts all their “good stuff” on ebay, etc). Something to keep in mind if you like the thrill of finding a good deal.

Lecture over— On to the Tripp Trapp restoration!

As you can see from the photo above, the chair was pretty scratched up and looked like someone had left it in their garage for a few years. Here’s what I did to get it looking like new.

Step One: Wash


I started by scrubbing it down with hot water, soap, and a mildly abrasive sponge. Most of what looked like dirt turned out to be areas where the finish had worn off, so washing didn’t improve its appearance much. C’est la vie!

Step Two: Sand

Left: before sanding, Right: after sanding.

Next, I took it apart with an Allen wrench and sanded each piece individually. I recommend getting a little mug or cup for all the screws and pieces. They’re all the same, so you can mix them together.

It took some elbow grease to bring the wood back down to an unfinished state, because I still haven’t bought a sander. YES, I DID THIS ALL WITH MY HANDS. I’m positively rippling with new muscles.

Step Three: Paint

After a bit of googling, I decided that spray paint would give me the best results with the least worry. I used Krylon Chalky Finish in Misty Grey. It took me a little more than two cans to get an even color (and three trips to Lowes— next time, I’m buying more than I need and returning any unopened cans.)

When it was dry, I added a final layer of protective coating. I had a tough time finding a coating that wasn’t glossy, but the woman at Lowe’s recommended Krylon ColorMax Flat Crystal Clear. It went on super smooth, I could hardly tell where I had sprayed it.

Stokke Tripp Trapp: Before and After

Aw yeah, look at that fab new Stokke, showing off it’s fresh coat of paint!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how this project turned out. There are a few drips and imperfections that I decided to leave as is. It’s going to be used by children, and I don’t want to be the kind of mom who melts down when someone inevitably scratches it up.

Refinishing the Tripp Trapp was part one of the little breakfast nook makeover I spontaneously planned after ripping out an ugly light fixture. Next up, I’m going to “hack” the IKEA Ingo table, I’m excited to share how it turns out!

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  • Reply Esther Lee August 11, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Looks amazing. I’m getting ready to spruce up one too. Can you share what kind of sandpaper you used?

    • Reply kathie August 15, 2019 at 8:40 am

      Hey Esther! I used a medium grain sandpaper, any brand should do.

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