DIY Time: Upcycled Chairs

March 10, 2012

Once upon a time, a princess was taking her dog on a quick potty break one mild summer evening, when she happened upon three dilapidated wooden chairs strewn in the alley way.

“Fix us, please! We need a new home,” the chairs begged.

But the princess didn’t know if the risk was quite worth it.

“What if someone sees me taking the chairs? I don’t want to be known as a low-brow trash digger. Also, that’s gonna take some effort to lug not one, not two, but three chairs up a flight of stairs,” the bourgeois little lady thought to herself. “Hmmm. Let me marinate on that.”

So she and her little dog went back inside of their cozy castle and got back to their evening of television and junk food. A few moments later, a car passed through the alley way and shined its headlights on the sad, neglected seats. The princess and the chairs locked eyes, but no words were exchanged. For she knew that she had to do the right thing and give those poor, defenseless creatures some TLC.

The following is a step-by-step account of how one man’s trash became a princess’ treasured household fixtures.


As you can see, the chairs were in pretty bad shape.


I was grossed out just thinking about all the potential diseases hidden within the cushion. Eeeek!


After coming dangerously close to having a germaphobic meltdown, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. The first step was to remove the screws holding the cushions up to the wooden frames.


I then put a thick layer of batting over the cushion, followed by new fabric. A snazzy burnt orange to liven up my dining space.


Next, I stripped the paint finish from the wooden frames with sandpaper. This was the longest part of the process, as I took a weekend to sand the finish off all three chairs. It requires a whole lot of elbow grease, and I opted to take breaks so as not to over-exert myself.


Once the chairs were all stripped of the old finish, I applied three coats of a newer finish. Again, this took about two days to ensure that the paint was fully dry before re-affixing the cushions to the chairs.


Voila! I have three new additions to my dining space.

Lessons learned: Enlist the help of heavy-handed friends and/or loved ones to expedite the paint stripping and sanding process. Also, be sure to spray Scotch-guard or any other fabric protector over the new cushion fabric. The fabric I chose is very absorbent and already has a few water marks.

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