DIY · Home Decor

A Sad to Glad Chair With a Thrifty Re-do

Here’s a story about a very unloved chair that found happiness under my guidance. OK, I’m just goofing. In reality though, it WAS an unloved chair. The thrift store had marked it down several times and ended at $22.00 and they still could not get rid of it. Until I happened along that is. The chair was solid, the cushions were in good shape, it was comfortable and in a style that I like. What’s not to love? Oh yeah, the totally outdated upholstery fabric and the has-been white washed finish on the pale wood. That was OK though, because I have paint and I know how to use it.

thrift store chair
I I removed the upholstery on both arms and the batting off one arm before I thought to take pictures to share. THEN I took pics at every step of the re-do. Now this is the only surviving picture of this chair from my old camera of several years ago. It is blurry, but you get the idea. The other pics are taken just last week. They are not the detailed process, but they show what happened along the way.

Les was not convinced when he came by with the truck to pick the chair up. I would not have called him because I knew what he would think- that I had lost my mind. He said as much when he laid eyes on my special find. Unfortunately the chair was just too big to fit into my car.

After stripping the blue upholstery, it looked better immediately. A coat of white paint came next and then, after that was dry, a coat of black acrylic paint followed… Oh! I left the upholstery fabric on the back side of the chair and just painted over it with the black acrylic paint.

back of an upholsterer chair painted with acrylic paint
Back of the chair with two coats of black acrylic paint. This was painted before I added the cream colored drop cloth fabric that you see in this picture.

When the paint was dry (I left it over night) I gave it a good sanding. The goal was to be able to see just a bit of white and the original wood showing past the black paint.

Now, for upholstery- my favorite upholstery fabric is a painter’s drop cloth. It is made of heavy cotton, usually unbleached and CHEAP! I get a 9‘ x 12‘ piece from Harbor Freight for $8.00 when it is on sale.

chair body covered with an inexpensive drop cloth
Chair body covered with an inexpensive drop cloth.

I covered the body with the drop cloth by cutting out pieces and stapling them right on to the wooden frame. The staples are covered with braid and a glue gun.

detail of braid covering staples on a chair
Braid covering the staples and attached with a glue gun. Some of you may wonder if that glue holds well enough. Believe me, where I made mistakes, it was nearly impossible to rip the braid off the drop cloth fabric. I should tell you though, I use a very large, hot glue gun with industrial type glue sticks that I bought in the Sears tool department years ago.

I thought that I wanted a contrasting fabric for the cushions. I sewed the top cushion and then was not sure, so the bottom cushion has just been wrapped for, oh let’s see now…about two years. Well, I have finally decided that after the holidays, I am going to cover the cushions with the more natural colored drop cloth.

Recycled chair in black and white.

The happy ending to this story is that the chair that Les hated at first sight has become his favorite because it is so sturdy and comfortable. In fact, that thrifty chair is the most popular chair in the living room with visitors. (In spite of my indecision on a cushion fabric.)

Woman reading in chair
Stephanie in “The Chair”. By the way, here a link to a free pattern for that crocheted afghan. It was the first time that I had ever done cables. They turned out to be easier than they look.

7 thoughts on “A Sad to Glad Chair With a Thrifty Re-do

    1. Thanks Claudia. I still tease Les about that being his favorite chair now. He says that it really is sturdy and he sits with it propped back on two legs like guys do. Hmmmm…he may be secretly trying to break it. LOL

      Like

    1. Thank YOU Tierney. Yeah, the drop cloths are CHEAP at Harbor Freight. We even used them for my sister’s media room. The walls were brown sound proofing stuff so we dyed the cloths with brown RIT dye and they matched perfectly. Since the cloth is a heavy cotton canvas, they really blocked out a lot of light.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s