Friday, July 31, 2009

Chair Makeover DONE!

So, I have completed my chair makeover that I first told you about here.
Once again I did not do step-by-step instructions, but they were pretty cut and dry, so I think I can explain a little bit of what I did.
For both chairs, I used a liquid sandpaper to take the finish off and get the chairs ready to be painted. This step also took care of wiping the down both pieces to get the dirt off them. The chair with the woven seat needed a little extra cleaning - I actually used a toothbrush to get the dirt and grime out from between the grooves in the woven part. Always remember that paint does not stick to dirt all that well! After wiping each chair down with the liquid sandpaper, I went over each chair looking for any paint drips from previous painting jobs and sanded them down with real sandpaper.
For the black chair, I did not need to prime since the color going on top was darker than the color the chair already was. I used a craft sponge to apply the paint, a trick I learned from this craft blog. I definitely recommend this technique to you and it is something I will do in the future - I found that it allowed you to control the flow of paint and kept it from getting all gloppy. Another plus - no brush strokes! The coats go on pretty thin with the craft sponge, so I ended up doing three coats and then a fourth coat where I went through and spot-checked and dabbed paint where needed.
For the cushion - that part got a little complicated. The cushion wasn't screwed in, so that made it easy to remove the seat! I turned the seat over and removed lots of rusty nails, staples and tacks in order to be able to get the fabric and cushion off the seat. There was a total of three layers of fabric, plus a very old (and gross) seat cushion. Once I removed all the fabric, I was able to apprise the condition of the wooden seat - not good. It was starting to crack and I was scared that if someone sat down, the seat might split down the middle. We were planning a trip to my parents' house for the following weekend, so I took the seat with me and my dad used it as a pattern to cut a new seat using wood he had in the garage.
Once I had a new-and-improved seat, I got work on recovering it. Since I had removed the padding, I bought foam from the craft store. It was about a half-inch thick and a terrible green color. Since I knew the fabric I would be using had a light background, I also bought muslin at the craft store to use as a layer between the top fabric and the foam to keep the foam-y green color from bleeding through. Muslin is pretty cheap and didn't add much to the cost of the project. Using a staple gun, I went through and stapled the foam then muslin then fabric to the seat cushion. I found the best technique was to staple the corners down first, and then work my way in, cutting and stapling until I had each layer stapled securely and didn't have too much excess foam or fabric.
When I finished with the stapling, I just put my new covered seat cushion on the chair and I was done! At some point I will probably get some screws to secure the cushion to the chair, but it's a chair that sits in a corner and looks nice and will probably only be used when we have guests and need extra seating.
For the white chair, I decided priming was probably a good idea since I was going to be painting it white. I already had white primer in my garage and again used a craft sponge to apply the primer. Once the primer dried, I took the chair out to the backyard and applied two coats of white spray paint that had a little bit of a sheen to it. Spray painting was the easiest way to make sure I covered all the areas of the chair evenly without any paint drips. The chair now sits in an extra bedroom at my desk where I keep my sewing machine. The room now smells like fresh paint - one of my favorite scents!


  1. What is liquid sandpaper and where can I get it? Where can I find a craft sponge? I'm assuming a craft store, but should I be looking for anything in particular?

  2. Liquid sandpaper is in the sandpaper/painting section of a hardware store. It is awesome and such a timesaver! What I call craft sponges are those sponge-y like things on a wooden stick. The sponge part is usually black and you can find it in different widths. Happy crafting!