Our beautiful dining room table was wedding gift from one of my sets of parents. It has now filled two too-small kitchen dining spaces with its gorgeous girth.
When planning to have the in-laws over for Thanksgiving dinner this year, our lack of comparably solid, beautiful chairs became more noticeable. Up until now, we've had a folding chair and four little Ikea Stefan chairs I bought on clearance three years ago. Cute, yes, and mostly serviceable, though as a salesperson pointed out, built to support the weight of your average Swede. A climbing toddler can topple one of those suckers without even trying (although he does try, and frequently).
I headed to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and the Goodwill (toddler in tow, for topple-testing!), and found two solid-wood-constructed, heavy-duty chairs. Both were half-price on different sale days, and they didn't match. Different upholstery, different wood finishes and different builds. My mission? To make them look a little more like a "set".
Before: Stained upholstery, battered finishes.
After: New upholstery, new finishes.
To replicate this project:
1) Remove extraneous padding (like the back pad on the first chair, which was held in place with staples and hot glue) and toss.
2) Turn your chairs over and remove the screws that hold the upholstered seats in place. Set aside the screws, and take the seat off of the chair
3) If the chairs have been previously re-covered, remove the excess layers of fabric and staples. Set aside the seats and the screws.
4) Stretch new fabric over the seats. Turn face down, fold fabric edge under to prevent fraying, and shoot a few staples along that edge of the new fabric, making sure the staples go through all layers of fabric and into the wooden seat bottom. Pull tightly, and tack down the opposing edge in the same manner.
5) Repeat for other two edges. At corners, some people use a "package fold" but I don't prefer the square-ish edges this leaves. Instead, I make about a dozen tiny folds and overlaps, sort of gathering the fabric with my fingers as I staple. Set seats aside.
6) Sand or de-gloss the chair frames outside, then paint with a spray-paint/primer in one, using even strokes and building up several light layers. These dry more quickly than a single, heavy layer, and also leave a nicer finish.
7) Let dry / cure / air-out for a couple of days. Then bring back inside and reassemble to the newly upholstered seat bottoms.
Ta-dum! New dinner chairs. The kiddo loves them, and so do I!
You can find the fabric here, courtesy of Spoonflower (more about that in a future post). It's meant to be a stuffed animal kit.
The spray finish is a color called oil-rubbed-bronze, a brownish black with a very subtle gleam of metal flake. It's a satin finish.
Any questions about my process? Leave them in the comments section below and I'll do my best to answer.
(p.s. you can make these photos bigger by clicking on them . . . but you probably knew that!)