I found such a cute chair at our local Habitat store for only $10. I loved the swooping lines of the arms and legs and I thought I could fit it in our Toyota. Am I the only one who drives around with armchairs in the passenger seat? It’s just the best place to transport bulky things, like chairs, that won’t fit into the trunk. People have been amazed by what we can cram into our car when we dare to think outside the trunk 🙂
I had planned on re-upholstering it because I wasn’t a big fan of the nubby office chair type fabric it came with.
On second thought I figured I’d better not do that before the kids are a little older and less prone to destroy (inadvertently, for they know not yet what they’re doing). Also, I know first hand how much work it can be to reupholster a chair. And it already had a professional upholstery frock on, with nail heads and all. I saw someone somewhere in blog land that had painted the fabric on their chair and I thought to myself – why not try it? I had very little to lose.
This is the semi-before pic. It had a few light stains but was otherwise in ok condition, very sturdy. The wood finish is a little beat up and worn but I kind of like it that way. When I reupholster the chair sometime in the future I’ll probably paint the wood as well, for now I won’t go through the trouble.
I had picked up some metallic gold craft paint at the craft store. Not because I thought the metallic would come through on fabric (it didn’t, FYI) but because it was about the shade of yellow I was going for and it came in the bigger 8 oz containers (I used two bottles for this chair, and I had to skimp a bit on the back of the chair to have enough).
All through the painting I diluted the paint with a little bit of water. Mainly because I didn’t want it to be caked on the fabric but absorbed by it. The finished result has a little bit of transparency to it, you can hint the different original colors through the yellow if you come really close.
I just painted it on and let it dry. Did at least 3 coats but some areas got more than that to even out the finish. That’s what you get when you dilute paint without keeping track of proportions 🙂
I painted over the nail heads but wiped them down with paper towels right after. I don’t know if it’s because I used diluted paint or because it was a metallic (or both), but it came out really well. If some of it dried on the nail heads it’s just a very sheer coat of it because I can’t tell they’ve been painted.
On a whim I decided to throw in a stencil, here half-way through it. I just used white craft paint for this. And after the stencil was dry I painted over it with more of the golden yellow to diminish the contrast. The unknown lady who was my inspiration used furniture wax on her fabric as a finishing touch but I didn’t have any and frankly I don’t even know where to get any so I just went over the chair with some floor finish (wax?) as a preserver. I’m sure the furniture wax gives you a smoother surface in case you decide to try this at home. My chair is a little rough to the touch but not enough to discourage you from sitting in it.
This is definitely a case of looks before feel, but it’s fully functional in the mean time. And it should stand up to kid abuse just fine since you can wipe the surface down with a damp cloth.
I love my new chair, and I managed to squeeze it into a nook of our tiny living room with a crow bar 🙂 It’s getting crowded in here, for sure. One more guest can now sit comfortably, though, so that makes up for the cramming, in my opinion. Care to come visit my parlor and rub elbows with the plant? 🙂