Chair-ishing This One


If you caught our post on my trip to Round Top, then you may remember this guy.

I picked the chair up for $25 and Chris promptly teased me for investing $25 in what essentially belonged in a dumpster, but I saw the hidden potential and was determined.

The first thing that needed our attention was the intricate back detail.  The wood was cracked apart in several places.  I put on my doctor cap, filled in the gaps with wood glue, and placed a clamp to hold the two pieces together.

After a little mending, I began sanding down every inch of the chair.  The chair had originally been covered in a dark stain and varnish.  Much of it had peeled away and I used a sanding block to get rid of the rest, or at least sand it down to be an even surface.

It was finally time to paint!  I decided to go with a cream color and ended up using a can and a half of Rust-oleum’s Satin Heirloom White spray paint found at Home Depot (this sucker took a lot of paint!).

A few spray paint tips (80% of these are coming from Chris):

  • Shake can well and often
  • Hold the can approximately 4-6″ from surface
  • Spray in short strokes
  • Start and end off target area
  • Spray in short bursts
  • Don’t do heavy coats, do many light coats
  • Hand off to Chris to do whenever possible

Unfortunately, he’s been catching on to that last tip lately and made me take care of turning the chair from trash to treasure myself.  I found the above tips really came in handy though and am proud to say they are now 100% Julie tested.

First coat.

Second Coat

Third Coat (finally done!!)

The next step was finding a fabric for the cushion.  I wanted something in a neutral color so we could move the chair around throughout the house without recovering it.  On a venture to Joann’s, I found the cursive fabric below called Pen Pal Parchment by Waverly.  Perfect!

As I argued with Chris in the aisle that it didn’t matter that I had no idea what the French words meant, he pointed out that what appeared as the word “savage” was written across the center of the design.  Ugh, see what I live with??

The fabric was normally priced at $26.99 a yard but all Waverly fabrics were 50% off, plus I had 20% off coupon.  For the 1/2 yard I needed, it was a grand total of $5.40.  Cha-ching.

Now all I needed to do was to convince Chris to take time away from our pantry project to figure out how the heck to assemble a seat cushion from scratch.  Easy enough.


Let’s get a few things straight. First of all, Julie told me the chair cost $10, not $25. Second, the C-clamp and wood glue was actually my idea- Julie handed me a very dilapidated chair and simply said “fix it”. Third, I did at least half of the painting, and 100% of the labor involving the plywood, cushion, and covering were done by yours truly. So give credit where credit is due, Julie.

Anyway, refinishing the chair itself was the easy part. The hard part was making the cushion. For the dining room, we simply put new fabric over old fabric on existing cushions- no sweat. This time, though, I had to make a base, a cushion, and cover the cushion without any lumps.

I started by tracing out the shape of the chair one on side of a 1/4″ thick piece of plywood:

I then used a handsaw (I had another project drying in the garage, so I didn’t want sawdust flying everywhere) to cut out the overall shape.

From there, I was able to make more marks for finer cuts, before sanding the edges of the final product.

After cutting the foam cushion to size, I used hot glue to adhere it to the plywood.

It’s best to use a heavy object to ensure proper adhesion. Like your butt.

Next, I fitted the fabric over the cushion and had Julie position it to her liking.

I pulled the front edge of the fabric over and stapled it to the underside of the plywood. I then pulled the back edge over, ensure a tight and uniform look between the two sides.

After that, I stapled the sides over and carefully crafted the corners to appease Julie.

About an hour later, I was finally done. I carefully set the cushion atop the chair and got underneath to determine the best way to fasten it to the frame and… CRACK! I shot out from under the chair for fear I might get shards of plywood in my eyes. I looked up just in time to catch Julie sitting on the chair with a surprised and guilty look on her face, and I immediately knew what happened- Julie had decided to sit in the unfinished chair with the force of a bullet and had cracked the plywood base. Ugh, see what I live with??

I guess I have a new project now.

After (sort-of).



Filed under Before & After

2 responses to “Chair-ishing This One

  1. Pingback: The Dark Night (Stand) | DO or DIY

  2. Pingback: Chandy Candy | DO or DIY

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