Saturday, October 29, 2011

the $15 chairs and a helluva lot of elbow grease

So, remember these chairs?

I had been looking for a pair of nicely shaped chairs to do an easy update on. I was worried the ones I'd ended up finding were actually going to be a bit more work than a simple re-paint and re-cover

Well... I was right, they were.

First of all I removed the seats and put to one side. I had to sand off all that thick black paint on the frames by hand - my electric sander was too unwieldy to deal with the curves. I went through all my sandpaper so I went and bought some more.... and then I went through all of that.  There were so may globs of thick black paint it was so gross. I swear the previous owner must have just poured paint on them.

Then I had to address the broken back. There was glue residue so someone had tried to fix them before and not very well so I sanded it all back to get two smooth edges and spread a little wood glue on them and wrapped in blue tape to hold in place over night whilst it was drying. Then I removed the tape, filled in the remaining gaps with wood filler, again left it over night and sanded off the excess in the morning, ready for painting.

It took 3 coats of primer and sanding between each layer to cover the colour and get the right base for the paint. I went with a creamy colour - Behr's Stable Hay in a semi gloss, 2 coats. lovely.

So then I thought the seats were going to be the easy bit - Just undo the staples and re-cover with my lovely new material (a red/beige Waverly print from Joann's).

Not so.

There were about 200 staples in EACH chair and 3 layers of material. I even roped my poor mum in to help when she was over visiting.


So the foam and batting was moldy and needed throwing out. One chair had an MDF base that was bent and the other had a wood base that must have been from another chair because it didn't actually fit the frame! It dawned on me I would have to replace all of the seat, sigh. I guess you just don't find out this stuff until you peel it all back.

Anyway, I bought some 1/2' thick plywood and a saw (yep I now own a saw!).  I used the bent MDF seat as a template and marked out where I needed to cut and got sawing. It was actually pretty easy once i got going. I did the second and then just sanded off the rough edges to get it nice and smooth.


I bought 2' foam and some batting from jo-anns and cut to size. 2' foam is pretty tall for a seat but that's what I wanted. I pulled the batting as tight as possible to try and round out the square edges and stapled. Once they were covered I positioned the fabric so the image centre was on the centre of the seat and pinned at the front so it wouldn't slip.


Then I stapled it in place, dropped them into the frames and voila, finished AT LAST.

I really like them and think it was worth the effort and additional cost (about $20 in foam, batting and  plywood) but I will definitely think more carefully about the condition of whatever I buy next!

Linking to
 All Things Thrifty - Week of Chairs Furniture Feature Fridays

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"ooooops paint". Aces.

I was in Home Depot buying wall paint (we have 2 lime green walls I've lived with for 2 months and will not live with them any longer) and by the paint mixing desk there were lots of cans of paint with 'oooops' written on them. These are evidently tubs of mis-mixed paint for sale, CHEAP.

I spied this:

This was aces for 3 reasons

1) lovely pale green colour
2) its Behr premium paint - primer and paint in one
3) the best bit. It was $2. TWO DOLLARS.

Now I must simply find something fabulous to paint.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Hmmm I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

I picked up these chairs for $15 for the pair.

An impulse buy - Great shape, solid wood BUT....

1) they are already painted in thick black paint and have been viciously, horribly distressed with what looks like a chisel rather than fine sandpaper - not sure if the surface will be revived with a good sanding so I may have to get paint stripper as well, eek

2) one of the chair backs is broken - will need to glue and fill gaps, eek.

3) both are wobbly, eek.

4) the seats are covered in paint splattered green velvet (gross) which I will need to replace but I have never reupholstered ANYTHING, EVER. Double EEK.


This may be a mistake. But a $15 mistake at most, plus paint, fabric etc. Hmmmm, Ok. Need to stop panicking and stuck in. Wish me luck.



Saturday, October 15, 2011

the $20 desk and 3 lessons learned

So quick recap - I picked up this desk from a charity shop for $20. We needed a desk and I was inspired by makeovers like this and this so decided to give that a try. I reckoned at this price it was a good opportunity to try something different (and learn a few lessons along the way....)

The top was pretty marked and a little dented so i sanded it smooth and managed to remove most of the marks. My electric sander is the most amazing bestest thing very good at doing that.

There was a dent and some nail heads that needed filling and hiding so I used some latex wood filler and a spatula and filled away.

When it was dry, I sanded down the excess filler by hand, taped off the top, removed hardware and primed and painted the body and spray painted the hardware.

I had never used stain before so, I got hold of a few different colours (around $5 each from home depot) and a bit of scrap wood in roughly the same colour as the desk and tried them all out

I chose English chestnut and (top middle). I primed the surface with one layer of wood conditioner - I'd read about this on other blogs and thought this would do the trick to even out the few remaining marks. It didn't cover the wood putty but that didn't put me off. I went ahead and did a layer of stain with a foam brush....

So lesson number 1: Wood stain doesn't stain wood filler... clearly because wood filler is latex, not wood, may already know this, in fact I'm sure you do, I didn't....good job this is a cheapo desk! Disappointing though I have to admit. I was tempted to paint over it in white to match the body but my husband persuaded me to just go with it, mistakes and all ("it's only for us it's not going in a museum"). The rest of it was such a lovely warm deep colour. So I agreed and went ahead and worked on the side panels.

I picked up some wrapping paper from paper source (my favourite place for this kind of stuff - so many amazing prints and colour palettes to choose from) and some mod podge (like PVA glue I used to use in school). I chose a silver and white print to match the newly painted silver nickle hardware. I cut it to size.

So, lesson number 2: Paper really does expand when it's wet. Ignoring what I already knew, on my first attempt I painted the paper with glue and tried to fix it to the wood. This was a disaster- tons of bumps, bubbles and creases. I quickly pulled it off and discarded it. Second attempt - I applied the glue to the wood and fixed a new piece of paper to it. This worked much much better although it is still harder than it looks! Thin paper is so difficult to work with. I wonder if wall paper or scrapbooking paper is easier?

Anyway, when it was dry and applied another thin layer of mod podge over the top with a foam brush and repeated when that was dry - 2 or 3 top coats in all I can't quite remember. Then I chose a different paper to line the inside of the drawers cut to size and just placed this in the drawers, no glue.

Then finally a couple of coats of this all over (except on the mod podge bits)

So lesson number 3: A few light coats is nearly always better than one thick one. A universal truth. I tried to spray as lightly as possible but despite my best efforts it managed to turn the white paint slightly yellow in places which can only be from excess dried spray. Thankfully it's not really noticeable unless you're close up but annoying none the less. This was so hard to spot when I was applying it - anyone have any ideas how to prevent this in future?

Anyway, after all the drama,and all the lessons it now looks like this;

Pin It

and it's in the guest room with a few books hiding the ugly woodfiller-that-won't-stain-mark

What do you think? I actually really like it and all it's imperfections. Just need to do the chair now to match.


Linking up to:

you are talking too much Organize and Decorate Everything

Saturday, October 1, 2011

the $10 shabby chair

I picked up this chair at the charity shop down the road (proving a very handy shop to have nearby).

You can't really tell from this pic but it was a very shabby 'shabby-chic' chair. Someone had been there before me with the crackle glaze, a couple of contrasting colours and had distressed the hell out of it. I'm not the biggest fan of crackle glaze anyway and after a bit of wear and tear, the legs looked like dried old crocodile skin, the seat was bumpy and both were rough to the touch;

So I set about sanding down as much as I could but the carving on the legs was hard work and I coudln't really get into the gaps sufficiently. I did as much as I could and then did the seat. As I started sanding though, the beautiful colours below started coming through and so I then used a finer sandpaper to buff it up. I loved how it looked so decided rather than paint the whole thing, to just paint the legs and back and leave the seat as it was. 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of white later it looked like this and is now the towel chair in the guest room. Best of all it is smooth to touch unlike the scaly crackled piece it was before. Love it.