Thursday, October 16, 2008


As you could read here I had bought some fabrics via Etsy. Not all of them turned out the way they looked in the picture so I've added one more that yet has to arrive from the US. Wonderful seller Stay Gold- Handmade had a special offer and I couldn't resist the Martini fabric by Amy Butler. So adding that to this bunch gives me a great set of chairs:

Imagine this in the bright room on the back of our house with its seaweed coloured walls. Delicious!

So I had this fabric in my house for nearly 2 months now, and this friday friends are coming over for dinner. This would be a good motivation to get those chairs done. I will do this in 3 steps, the stripping, the painting and the upholstering.
In this tutorial I am going to show you how to convert an old chair to a new one. It isn't hard, as long as you prepare prepare and prepare.

What you need for the stripping
Sanding paper very coarse and very smooth.
Sanding machine is great,
Knife of some sort,
a scredriver to save you fingernails,
a wood file, different sizes and shapes are recommended.
Something to scratch paint off wood, I have this triangle shaped thing.
I have 6 chairs, 4 of which I have re done before, but lost interest in, they needed a change. In our new house I want a new mood and feel, so they all had to be stripped down. But the problem then is, do they look the same underneath that paint, or did the white paint colour the wood slightly different than the old chairs?

Here they are, darn ugly chairs huh? The left one is as they were made in the late 80s. And the one on the right is how I made them in 2003. Not bad, but I would like a change.
I don't like white wash, especially in such a dirty salmon-y colour. I probably can't remove all of it, but it won't look as bad with the new paint on later. Now you have to sand them down. First with a coarse type of paper and then with a smooth paper. With the coarse paper you can work very quickly but you damage the wood more, so that won't look good with paint on it. As you can see below, left is the first round of sanding, and the right is the last round of sanding, making it smooth and soft. The little carvings you need to do by hand and with the help of a small file. I have to do the chairs that are painted with thick white paint twice because there's 2 layers of paint in them and they are very hard to scrape out. Now you know why it took me so long to write this tutorial.

Now to make the chairs look older I am going to sand away any sharp edges and corners, so they look like they've had to withstand something. Also this makes the painting easier because the paint slides along the corners instead of being held back by the corners.

I remove all the trims and fabric, but NOT the original fabric on the seating. why not? Well if I do, I don't know what I am going to find. And if the fabric is still ok, it is safer to let it sit where it is and it will come in handy. If you want to remove the fabric too, you have to take half the chair apart, because with most chairs the fabric is tucked behind the wood. Reconstructing the chairs is not what I had in mind. This bit here is where the dust of all those years stays. So I am taking that off too, placing a new piece of cloth here is a piece of cake with a tagger so fret not.

Now they are stripped!!

See the next step here.


Ravenhill said...

This is a wonderful project! I am so impressed! The fabrics are delightful together. I can't wait to see more!

X by Leina Neima said...

Wow, this is big work to renovate (I know, i have some half finished chairs at home waiting me to continue). Great job..and ups,I tagged you...


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