I made the decision to completely revamp our dining table and chairs what seems like a lifetime ago. We have had so many projects going that this one has taken the back burner for awhile. Our beautiful barn wood table remodel was complete over a year ago. I have not had an ounce of motivation to finish my plan for the chairs, as I figured it was going to be a pain and take forever.
Thankfully, this past Memorial weekend, we weren't swamped with plans all weekend like we typically seem to be. I decided on a whim one morning that at least two of the chairs were going to get their long overdue makeover.
A few months ago I found a couple of bar stools at Target that were exactly what I was looking for as extra seating for when we have guests over. The boys really prefer the stools over the chairs, so we've been using those and keeping the two extra chairs stowed away. It actually seems to provide us with a little more open space as well.
The makeover of these two chairs didn't take nearly as long as I had expected. They turned out exactly as I had envisioned too!
The original finish of the table and chairs was this orange-y hue. I liked them a lot when I purchased them seven years ago, but my preferences have changed and I have been over them for a long time! When my husband sanded and painted the legs to the original table in order to attach them to the new tabletop, he sanded them down completely. Because of the curves and crevices on the chairs, I decided to sand them just enough to rough up the finish and then slap on a coat of primer before painting instead.
I opened up the doors to our garage and set out some old scraps of cardboard on the floor. The chair cushions detached easily with by removing a few screws from the underside of the seat. After a quick sand over all of the flat surfaces (and as much of the curved parts as I could manage), I took a damp paper towel and wiped off all of the dust.
Next, I painted the chairs with a coat of interior primer. I used a small, handheld foam roller to apply the primer. For the corners, I found it easiest to apply using a small foam brush I had on hand (these are inexpensive and can be found at craft stores). Once the primer was dry, I applied a second coat anywhere the original finish seemed to show through too much. Since I was doing two chairs at once, the first one had time to dry while I worked on the second. The warm weather definitely helped speed up the drying time.
Once the primer was completely dry, I started applying the paint. I had a white interior paint on hand that I had purchased for our board and batten wall in our main bathroom. This part was slightly tedious because the paint drips some. I just had to make sure I went back to the part I had just painted a few minutes earlier to clean up any dripping paint before it dried.
After the first coat of paint dried on each chair, I decided to go over any parts where the paint wasn't completely smooth with a super fine sandpaper. With a light touch, I was able to smooth out any bumpy parts without removing the paint I had just applied. After a second coat of white paint, I left the chairs to dry overnight in the garage.
I decided against applying a coat of poly on top of the paint. Since I'm using white paint and we have boys, I'm positive it won't take long for the chairs to start showing wear. If I can't clean them up, I want to be able to apply a fresh coat of paint whenever they need it and figured this will work better without a sealer. (I may regret this later...)
For the upholstery, I knew I wanted a striped canvas. While I'm sure I could find a fabric fitting this description, I had no idea how long I would have to search for the perfect one or what it would cost. I picked up this canvas drop cloth in the paint section at Lowe's for about $10.00. Based on my measurement of the chair cushions, this was enough to cover eight cushions. Thankfully I only have four to do, but it also allowed me some extra in case I messed up!
The canvas was kind of rough in texture so I washed it (with detergent only) to loosen it up and remove the creases from being folded. I also dried it on a regular medium heat setting in my dryer.
As for figuring out the painting of the canvas, I started by marking my pattern. First I placed the chair cushion on top of the fabric and determined how much I needed. My seats are not exactly square and measure 17 1/2" deep and 20" wide at the widest part. I cut the fabric in half lengthwise, then cut each half into fourths. My piece of fabric for each chair cushion was then roughly 27" x 36".
After cutting, I ironed each piece of fabric to help remove some wrinkles. I used the highest heat setting. Since the canvas is so thick, it wasn't perfectly pressed, but since it will be stretched across the cushion later, I decided that wasn't a problem.
Now, on to planning my pattern... I first laid the chair cushion upside down on the piece of fabric and wrapped it around the cushion to determine exactly how it would fit. I measured in about 6" from each side for a starting point and marked it with a black marker. My middle section to be painted was then 24" wide. I repeated this at the opposite end of the fabric so my stripes would be somewhat straight.
Using regular blue painters tape, I started by placing long pieces of tape across the fabric. Then I would mirror that action on the other side of the fabric. I continued placing pieces of tape, measuring the distance between each line and adjusting them as needed until I reached the center.
Taping off my lines was the most tedious part of this project. Maybe if I had drawn a diagram first, it would've been simpler. However, I kind of liked being able to see it all come together and move the tape if I wasn't thrilled with the placement. I decided to stagger the width of each stripe as well, which wasn't in my original vision.
In keeping with the theme of using mostly items I already had, I decided to use the paint we had left from our living room. It's called Pewter Tankard by Sherwin Williams. Since I was painting fabric, I mixed the paint with a textile medium I had from another project. I think this helped the paint to dry a little softer on the canvas than it would've otherwise.
Using a dry paintbrush, I began painting each stripe between the painter's tape. Since I was going for a rustic look, I only did one coat, and wasn't worried about allowing the canvas to show through a little bit. After I finished painting, I hung the pieces on clothes hangers with clothespins. I let them dry for a couple of hours outside. Once the paint was completely dry, I gently removed the tape.
Covering the chair cushions was a task that required multiple hands to ensure the lines ended up fairly straight and was also pulled tight enough to keep it taut over the seat. Because of this, I don't have any pictures during this portion. I used an upholstery stapler that I already had and attached the fabric with staples to the back of the seat. One the fabric was in place, we screwed the cushions back into their places on the chairs.
This side-by-side comparison of the chairs before and after is my favorite. The end result is exactly what I hoped for I feel super accomplished having finished two of the four chairs at least. One of these days I will get around to doing the other two also!