Monday, April 16, 2012

The Orphaned Chair

When my husband bought this house, the previous tenants left a lot of junk around that they were supposed get rid of or take with them. Why do people do that? It happened when my mom bought a house too.

So this chair was among the pieces left in the back yard and it ended up sitting next to the wall of the house ever since. That was three and a half years ago! Pathetic, I know.

It has endured rain, hail, dirty wind, and all the snow that upstate Nevada can throw at it. But after seeing so many transformations on Pinterest, I saw potential in the forlorn abandoned piece of furniture.

Our cat, Buddy, had a vet appointment today for his annual checkup. Since I was going to town I thought I'd pick up the materials needed for my very first chair makeover. I picked up a high density 2" foam chair pad, some light batting (quilting), and a yard of fabric. I've never bought fabric before! The ladies at Joann Fabrics were helpful. Two of the three items were on sale, and for the other I was able to use a 50% off coupon. Sweet!

The first thing I did with the chair was sand it down. It was very splintery after sitting in the elements for so many years. Then I used a lot of wood filler to fill in any cracks, and generally just spread it on anywhere that was still really rough to the touch. After sanding all that down it was very smooth! Then I wiped it all down with a damp cloth to make sure it wasn't covered in sanding dust. I tried adding a little wood glue on the underside of the front two legs to make them more firm but I'm not sure it made a difference because I could barely get it in the cracks.

I took apart the chair seat, which was never connected to the chair as long as I've known it. It had nasty yellow foam inside that was glued to the wood. The plank itself was pretty splintery but not falling apart or anything and I decided it'd be fine to reuse. Someone went crazy with the staple gun so I had a marvelous time prying the rusty staples out of the chair seat with the claw of a hammer and some pliers. I really should've been wearing safety goggles for that but I didn't have any. If I ever do this again I might invest in some because staples were popping out and flying everywhere!

By then the chair had dried off from the damp rag I wiped it down with and I primed it with [gray tinted] primer. I had gotten some Zinsser Bull's Eye 1-2-3 Primer for All Surfaces. I thought that would be a good choice since I plan on painting a few other things in the house and some of them are metal. The chair was so dry and the wood was so damaged from weather exposure that it drank up the primer!

While I let the primer dry I worked on the chair seat. The seat vs. chair pad I got wasn't a perfect fit since the foam was square and the seat was...a different shape. The pad was a little long so I drew a line while using the seat as a guide, cut off a strip of the foam, cut that strip in half and added them to the sides where it needed more padding. I used my hot glue gun to glue the three pieces together so I wouldn't have to fight with them later. There were still some small gaps on the sides towards the back that you can see and I just filled those in with extra batting that I had rolled up and stuffed in those places when I was stapling the fabric on.

After dealing with the foam, I unrolled the batting and cut it to size. Some of it ripped when I was trying to pull it taught over the foam, but it turned out alright. I used the staple gun to secure it. That roll of insulation was my temporary work table since I was working in the basement. I didn't have to worry about making a mess down there!

The next step was the one I was nervous about--the *real* upholstering! (As "real" as you can get without even sewing!) I had looked at a lot of fabrics at Joann's and found a few with patterns that I liked but they always seemed to include a navy blue color that I knew would clash with my paint. All the while, poor Buddy was crying in his kitty carrier in the car so I was in a rush (he's such a trooper!). I grabbed this fabric since it was cute and fun (which is what I wanted) and I knew it wouldn't clash. Not too shabby!


I figured I had to somehow christen this chair since it was my very first furniture transformation. I decided to just write on the bottom of the seat with a sharpie (creative, I know). I was not talented pretty careless when it came to stapling the bottom with the batting and fabric, so pardon the messy job!

After I was done with the seat and had a break, the primer was done drying. I painted the chair and the blue paint turned out a LOT lighter than expected (my brother called it Smurf-like). I used the same paint we used in the bedroom--Behr's Lost Atlantis. The shade looked a lot lighter with the fluorescent light, but you can see in this picture that the shade of the wall in the bedroom and the chair is the same! 

 my new chair!

I hope you do too!


to Treasure!

The Orphaned Chair has a new home and a new life!