I’m finally on the last part of the posts about my dining chair upcyle project (Part 1, 2 and 3 can be found in the following links – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 ) and today I will be sharing the finishing touches that I have added, lessons I have learned and how much the project cost per chair.
Firstly though, the finished chairs…
I finally finished the chairs, it took several weekends to complete but I’ve done it and am really pleased with the outcome! The final finishing touch that I have added is some pompom trim that I used for the alcoves when I decorated the downstairs which I purchased from Amazon (if you missed that post you can find it here) . I decided to add the trim to add a further element of co-ordination into the colour scheme and design of the room and I feel that it pulls all the elements together really well. I like the idea that people will notice all the little touches and will allow their eye to investigate the room in greater detail.
This chairs project was really my first major foray into the world of upcycling and upholstery. I have not worked on a project quite like this before and along the way have learned a few lessons…
However long you think it will take, double it and add an hour. Sanding the chairs was probably the longest part and I couldn’t believe how much time I spent clearing the old varnish from the frames of the chairs.
Clearing all the varnish and stripping the frames back to bare wood is the best thing to do for the paint to adhere properly. Failing to clear all the varnish, like on my yellow chair, has resulted in patchy paint and the colour of the varnish bleeding through all the coats of paint I applied. It still looks patchy now and seems to be more noticeable at the bottom of the legs.
Sometimes it pays to sit back and think a bit…I tried to create a fancy curved corner and edge on the first seat that I tried to upholster which didn’t really work and frustrated me when it didnt go to plan. I should have sat and thought about what I was doing and ways to cover the seat before starting.
Have fun with your project. Think about what is fun and makes you smile and go with what you think will work. The worst that can happen with a project like this is that you have to sand the chair down and start again.
And here are the costing calculations on the attached document…
So, in all the chairs cost £17.63 to upcycle which doesn’t seem too bad when you consider that I have bespoke, one of a kind, unique chairs that fit my home and style perfectly and I have had the experience of learning new skills along the way. And I’m proud to show them off and say “I created these”. I would recommend to anyone that can’t seem to find furniture that they completely like or keep finding thing that are not quite right to go out and see what is available for sale second-hand and try your hand at creating something that you love!
In last weeks post I told you guys about my dining chair find and the idea I had for upcycling them, todays post is about prepping them and painting them.
I decided that I was going to paint the chairs in different colours and change the seat fabric to white instead of going with white chairs and coloured seats. I wanted to match the colours of the chairs to storage boxes in my dining area – pink, blue, yellow and white, however, I thought that having one fully white chair may look a bit odd but I was not really sure what colour paint to choose instead. I decided to head to B&Q and see what sort of colours they had and what stood out to me. I chose B&Q Colours range and bought tester pots in Playful Pink, Buttercup Yellow, Tropez blue, and lastly, instead of white I chose Green Apple.
Before painting I needed to prep the chairs by removing the varnish from them so that the paint would adhere properly. Unfortunately I learned this the hard way as all I did for the first chair I painted was to “rough up” the varnish rather than remove it completely, the paint didn’t take very well and still, in certain lights looks patchy now. I decided to remove the seat to make the process of sanding a bit easier and managed to remove the seat from the chair frame fairly easily, all I needed to do was flip the chairs upside down and undo 5 screws then lift the seat off. Once the seat was off I was able to start sanding the chair frame down. I used an 80 grit sandpaper and sanded each chair back to the wood in the garden. Sanding is a lot messier than I anticipated and after being covered with dust and having to wash so many clothes I figured it would be better to wear my overalls for the job! I worked on one chair at a time so that the screws and seats didnt become muddled as I wasnt sure if all the screw holes would match up on each chair.
There are a few things I learned about sanding while undertaking this part of the project (aside from wearing overalls…) and one of them is to sweep up immediately after you have finished otherwise the fuzzy “helper” will go and lie in the dust you have created and get covered! The other thing I learned was that sanding is a lot more time-consuming than you imagine! I had expected to clear the varnish from one chair in around an hour… in reality it took more like 4 hours to remove all the varnish per chair.
Once the sanding was finished I was able to start painting. I started with the yellow first as I was going to be using the same brush for all chairs and washing it out between colours. Starting with the lightest colour first means that there is less likelihood of paint to be ruined through colour contamination should the brush not be cleaned thoroughly.
Aside from the yellow chair needing several layers of paint and still being patchy now (due to the varnish not being stripped completely) I’m pretty happy with how the chair frames turned out and the paint colours I had chosen. The paint is a matt finish and I used 3 tester pots per chair, did 2 to 3 coats per chair (the yellow chair took 5 pots and a lot more coats of paint) and they were fully dry by the following morning, touch dry within 20 minutes.
Next week I will be sharing the upholstering part of this project!
I moved to my new home in July, moving, though stressful, especially when things didn’t go to plan for one reason or another, was all completed in a day. I went with my friend to collect the keys, hired a van, loaded and unloaded then began unpacking. I hadn’t got much furniture but that made decorating a bit easier as there wasn’t anything to work around or move out of the way.
I decorated in the first few weeks that I was here and had already decided upon painting the downstairs rooms pink and blue, leaving some of the walls the original magnolia colour. I chose B&Q Colours silk paints in Electric Blue and Playful Pink after doing some research into colours and application, drying time and price. I also looked into different paint application methods – roller, brush and paint pads, choosing the latter for ease and mess reduction. I chose the Diall Paint Pad set as it came with a paint tray, two different sized paint pads and the paint pad handle and seemed to be the best value for money. I also picked up a Harris Angled Brush as I knew from previous experience that an angled brush was easier for cutting in around the edges of the walls and allowed for a neater finish.
Once I had gathered all my supplies together (and made a coffee) I began by masking off the skirting boards and applying paint to the edges of the walls before in filling with the paint pad. This was my first time using a paint pad and I found it much cleaner than using a brush or roller. The basics of using a paint pad are to attach the handle to the chosen pad, pour some paint into the tray, rest the paint pad on the paint for around 30 seconds, wipe off excess, put the pad flat against the wall and drag it up and down the wall before changing direction – going diagonal until an area is covered before repeating. I was really impressed with how easily and quickly the paint went on and had finished the first coat in under 20 mins. I did need to do a second coat of paint but that was to be expected with such a vibrant colour.
I painted the side walls of the arches with the pink paint, using masking tape on the end walls to create a panel that was as wide as the arch sides and painting them pink in order to complete the look I was going for. The pink paint seemed to apply better than the blue and only really needed touching up in a few places rather than fully applying a second coat.
Next time I will be sharing the finishing touches I added once the paint was dry and also share some pictures of the nearly completed space 🙂