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


  1. Wow great job on the chair! Love the toile and love that red occasional table!