New whimsical CL chair re-do, almost done!

My3dogsMarch 12, 2013

Bronwynsmom and splitrock saw part of a chair I am working on in a post about painting an old coffee table.

I am almost embarrassed to show you the original pic from the Craigslist ad, in light of the junk we've been seeing lately, as this would certainly be considered that - a broken antique chair up in the north woods of Maine. Luckily I have a friend who travels up that way every weekend and he met the seller at a truck stop at 6 AM one Monday morning.

BEFORE! Scary, huh? Craigslist ad photo of $15 chair

AFTER/ almost done. I need to pad, cover and do the welt on the dark areas of the arms.

I repaired the arm's missing wood with a product that tinker2006 had used on an old buffet that she'd repaired and painted, Abatron Wood Restoration. GREAT product.

It's painted in Annie Sloan chalk paint, Old Ochre base and Country Grey topcoat, then sanded and waxed with clear Butcher's Wax.

The fabric is vintage - 'Pedigree' by Bloomcraft. I didn't have quite enough, and found a remnant on eBay last week that is on the front of the upper back. The back is done in a 25 cent sample of Stroheim and Romann plaid that cost well over $100 a yard! I had just enough and it blends beautifully with the colors in the dog fabric.

My luck continued as I looked for fabric to make the welt cord. I found this stripe at a local Maine store called Marden's Surplus and Salvage!! That's how desperate I was, and it's perfect for a whimsical chair.

I may have made an alignment error. I was so wrapped up in centering the lower dog's head and the yellow pillow on the settee on the back, that when I stood back later, I realize that I probably should have centered the pagoda that the lower dog is on, rather than the dog! I've produced a 'factory second'!

Splitrock, I am just a novice, and I learned everything I know by reading online blogs and watching YouTube videos. Those pros can tell you and show you more than I ever could. It's really fun, if you are into crafty type things. I urge you to try it.

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OMG I love that chair. You did a great job.

I have a similiar style chair that is a rose color. I have been thinking of painting the wood because I can't even sell it on ebay because no one seems to like rose anymore. But if I could do something like that I would keep it.

How long did it take you to do the upholstering part? Did you find one video that explained it the best?

Did you have to do a lot of sewing or is it mostly pulling the fabric tight and tacking it?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 8:33AM
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Wow, beautiful job! What a great piece for your home!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 8:33AM
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Minty, There wasn't one video in particular. There are so many out there, as well as blogs, and there are some on different chair types.

On this style, the only sewing was the welt cord trim, but you could use purchased gimp instead. This one was mostly stretching and stapling. It'll seem like a lot, but I probably spent 8 hours on the non-painting part of this chair. For the first time, the seat and springs were in good condition, so I was able to leave them intact. I did put a layer of heavy batting over the seat before my top fabric. The back has many layers - fabric for the front and back, and sandwiched between those is a thick layer of cotton stuffing, and layers of the batting I used in the seat. I stapled the back plaid on first to make sure it was lined up, and then layered all the others on top of that. I stapled all the other layers at the same time, through that thick 'sandwich' of layers. Then I closely trimmed the edges with sharp scissors and a razor knife to get close to the stapling, and so no raw edges showed once I glued the welt cord on.

The best advice I can give you is to carefully take the coverings off your chair, and to take pictures all the way through to refer to how it's put together. It can be very hard to pull out old nails and/or staples, springs and old fabric. I got so into it last summer that I ended up having rotator cuff surgery that kept me from doing any for months, so be careful!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Gorgeous redo! You have an amazing eye and the skills to go along with it! Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:17AM
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Love it! What a fun chair.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:46AM
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That looks awesome! And at least it was $15, and not $150, as so many CL items try to sell for.

This is on my list to try someday-- you are always an inspiration.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:54AM
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I was so excited to see your thread knowing that I'd get to see another of your amazing upholstery projects. What a fun and beautiful chair you've made! Congratulations on another very successful transformation. Please keep 'em coming!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:11AM
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That's so darling! I love the fabrics you chose, perfect for a small accent chair. Thank you for posting your projects. I always enjoy reading about them.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:21AM
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It's wonderful!
I have to ask: Are you going to let dogs sit in this chair?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:21AM
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Love it!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Yet another gorgeous work of art from you! Hope your shoulder has healed - take care of it!

Not to be too nosey, but are you successful in selling your chairs?? I think you mentioned putting some in a friend's shop?? I would buy your chairs in a heartbeat.

You should seriously consider opening your own little decor shop with your wonderful upholstery and paint projects and your awesome CL and ebay finds.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:30AM
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I love the dog fabric!! Fantastic job.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:33AM
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Totally awesome!
If I wanted to try my hand at a chair --- without any major sewing experience, what would be the easiest starter project? Something where just take the seat out and staple fabric on it?

Here is a link that might be useful: Fabric-chair project

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:45AM
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Jamies - HA - if they wanted to, I probably couldn't stop them, but they prefer the cushy chairs, so I have no worries about them adopting this one.

tuesday, I really haven't tried very hard to sell them. You should see my dining room - it's got lots more chairs in it than belong around the table. The shop that took a few closes right after Christmas and doesn't open again til sometime in April. And honestly, I really am not doing it to make money, although that would be GREAT!

I am learning, and know a bit more with every chair I do. My day job is quite dry, and I am filled with the desire to create things, and always have been. I might try putting a few out on CL - the land of their 'birth', and see what happens. I did give one to my mother's 95 year old neighbor! I even have a Spanish type one coming up that I will do in faux cowhide and leather - just to play and totally change it.

nosoccermom - yes, that is exactly where you should start! You can paint a chair to make it look different, too and then do a new fabric on it. My thrill is seeing how different I can make it look from the way it started. You could even do a little skirt on one that you're just re-doing the seat on. Staple it on and cover the staples with purchased gimp.

I'm picking this one up this weekend. The seller and I think it's mahogany under that yellow paint, and I plan to remove the horizontal piece at the top of the back, and put a back on the chair and upholster that, testing my carpentry skills. I'll strip the wood and if it isn't what I think, it'll get repainted. Love those curvy arms and legs.

Along this line, but covered in fabric at the very top of the back, and in a more exciting fabric.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:42PM
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All I can say is "WOW". Isn't Marden's great? Between Mardens and Reny's we have good stores in Maine.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:07PM
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I always so enjoy reading about your latest projects! Each one is so unique and different from the rest. I do think it would be difficult to part with the items which you create. They are truely one of a kind works of art. When I first saw it I also wondered why you did not center the pagoda, but then thought you centered it around the upper settee, so I don't think it looks off at all, but more intentional on what part of the fabric you wanted to give emphasis too. Thanks for sharing.

If anything instead of reselling on CL, you should create a blog, if you haven't already, because you also have the flair for writing and telling a story about the pieces which you make. Then maybe put up for sale (for the right price). Or teach classes. I know I would sign up!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:13PM
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You are so talented and I just loving seeing your chair makeovers! I wish you lived by me I would buy one in a heartbeat!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:13PM
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This is so charming.. Really quirky statement piece.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:22PM
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I wouldn't have noticed the alignment error if you hadn't mentioned it, I had to go back to see. The chair looks like it good be for sale on Anthropologie's site! Great job. You must have the patience of Jobe(sp?) :)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:30PM
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I don't think you made an alignment error at all. I like the four-square arrangement of the print on the seat. It loosens the design just enough. By not having them all marching down the front, you've injected a naturalness that focuses more on the little critters themselves than on the repetition of the pagoda.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 2:08PM
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bronwynsmom expressed (better than I would have) exactly what I thought of your fabric placement. Congratulations on another great creation!

Count me among those who so enjoy seeing your projects.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 2:32PM
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wow, i love your chair! utterly sweet fabrics!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 3:17PM
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The plaid on the back took my breath away. I am going to try this myself. I have done regular chair seats, but you have inspired me to go way beyond that. Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:20PM
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What do you think of this chair? Is it a project, or is that webbing stretched out?

Here is a link that might be useful: project?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:23PM
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I, too, love how the doggy fabric is placed.
It makes the chair even more appealing.
What a talent you have!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:16PM
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You are amazing. Like others said, I couldn't wait to open your post and see the latest work of art!
I think you should sign your name and date somewhere underneath your projects.

I have visited Maine (Bath) a couple of times. It's one of my all time favorite areas. Super friendly people, fun antique shops, and L.L. Bean : )

I could totally imagine you having your own upholstery shop someday!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:33PM
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Of course I love it! Maybe someday you'll do a... ahem... kitty cat chair??? Really though, I do like the print.

Can I ask where you get your foam? The only foam I see is at Joann's and the quality is so poor. TYIA

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:47AM
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I'm sorry I am so late in answering some questions, but my internet connection was down last night.

Nosoccermom...That is very much like 4 Eastlake chairs that I have done. I don't have pictures of one of them on this laptop, but what I do to those is remove all fabric and ALL the old supports, such as the webbing, springs, horsehair, etc. I have stripped the old finish off most of them, but have painted a few. I won't go into the detail of all I do to to cut plywood to make a new seat 'platform' and then put foam and batting on it. Basically I start with just the frame and re-build from there before any fabric goes on.

This doggie chair is the only one where the original underpinnings were intact and in great shape. I just removed the thin black cambric fabric from the underside, which is missing on that chair you found, and replaced it. Then I put batting over the muslin seat covering, and then my new fabric.

That chair would be a great project, but possibly more than you want to get into for your first one.

Thanks to all who said my fabric placement was OK - that makes me feel much better.

Laurie, Bath is where one of only TWO Annie Sloan stockists is in Maine. I have not been to her shop, but did order a qt of Old Ochre, a color I seem to use a lot. What a surprise to have the owner appear in my driveway one day later with the paint, which I guess either UPS or USPS wouldn't accept! Talk about service! I must see her 'Blessings' shop some day. I drove very near it when I picked up the 'balloon chair' last summer, and never knew the shop was there. The yellow chair above is in Durham, a town next to Freeport.

Lynn, is my addiction to beautiful fabric showing? Honestly, that is where all this starts! I see some and just HAVE to do something with it!

Cat fabric is HARD to find in a home dec weight and width! I just did a quick check, and there are thousands in quilt weight at 45" wide, but the only one I found in home dec is the one linked below. Dog fabric rules!! :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Cat fabric mouse yarn upholstery fabric

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:20AM
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Masterful job!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:27AM
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That is so interesting the owner drove to your house to deliver the paint! I do not know what chalk paint is, so did a quick search.
Are you able to apply it to wood (like the chairs you have been finding) without sanding first? After the paint dries, what type of finish do you apply?

I have found this fabric site (linked below) called Spoonflower but have not used them, yet. They have lots of categories including dogs and cats. Fabric can be purchased in a heavy cotton twill that is 58" wide, 7.2 oz./sq. yd. & could be used for upholstery.
I would be interested if you or anyone else has experience with them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spoonflower

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:24PM
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Wow, you know you should open your own shop.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:46PM
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First, Lynn - I missed answering your question about foam. I am lucky to have a fabric and foam place nearby in Scarborough, ME. I also loaded up when the Marden's store where I got the stripe fabric for the welt got in a shipment of foam. They had GREAT prices! You're right about Joann's and it's SO overpriced unless it's on sale for 50% off. There are online upholstery site where I have ordered tools. nail heads etc, but I think the foam has a shipping surcharge due to size, so I haven't bought from them.

Laurie, YES about being able to apply chalk paint to wood without sanding. I have used it on pine, oak, walnut and maple, but with some dark stains like mahogany, I have read there is occasionally red bleed-through of the stain, but I haven't experienced that. It is pricey, and there are many recipes online to make your own. I've bought calcium carbonate to make my own, but just haven't tried it yet. There are hundreds of blogs that talk about chalk paint.

I use wax to finish the pieces I use chalk paint on. I have BriWax in light and dark brown, and Butcher's wax in clear.

I haven't used Spoonflower fabric, either - maybe some day!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:35PM
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Thanks for the info My3dogs. I may give it a try on something a little smaller.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:11PM
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Fantastic! Beautiful craftsmanship and perfect fabrics and colors! Another unbelievable result from a talented GWer!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:28PM
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Too charming! You continue to amaze me, both because you find these pieces and because you transform them so beautifully.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:12PM
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I love the chair! You did a great job as always. 'Love the whimsical print. Adorable!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 1:08AM
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Adorable, and you did a great job, too. I think you have found your calling.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:51AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

So cute. I love that yellow chair, too. Those arms are great! Can't wait to see more.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Well, cyn, Work is underway on that yellow chair with the great arms. The arms are off right now, as I am changing the back so I can upholster it, too, and I have just put one coat of paint on (it wasn't strippable) and will be using my eBay remnants of 3 Park Tribal Thread fabric in 'azure'. I paid less than $20 for enough that will do the whole chair. I just laid it over the chair to see how it looked with the paint color.

One seller on eBay right now is selling it for $53.99 a yard. The dark blue in the circles is raised sort of like pom poms - it's 3D fabric. I chose this from my stash as I like the way the swirls in the fabric compliment the curved arms.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:53AM
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Absolutely adorable! I don't think you made a mistake at all. Also love the blue fabric.

Would love to see a close up of the wood repair you made on the arm of dog chair. My grandmother did something similar years ago when one of a pair of elephant tables arrived from overseas (her DS is a retired Navy Captain). She used something to make a mold of the entire side/face, then produced the piece and painted. I was amazed by that table all my life! lol

Always enjoy seeing what you're working on next!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:53PM
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I don't get on GW often now, but so glad I didn't miss seeing your chairs. Love the whimsical dogs with the various fabric combos that were perfect together, but you've got me swooning over the blue and white one you're planning. You have such an incredible eye for this!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 6:34PM
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Always a pleasure to come here and see one of your outstanding creations. You are such an inspiration.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:06PM
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What you can 'do' with an old chair is amazing! And your fabrics are always TDF! I can't say which has been my favorite up to now since all have been very unique. Just wondering, are you planning to keep this one?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 5:24PM
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You never cease to amaze me with your talent!
Love the fabrics you choose for all your projects.
I know I will be stopping in Buxton when we go to ME
again. Pam & Christine are great people and "Edna"
is so sweet.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:30PM
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Ladies, you are pumping me up with happiness. I can't tell you how much I enjoy working with these chairs and my beloved fabrics.

Allison, there was about a 6" long chunk of wood gone from the upright support of that broken arm in the 'doggie chair'. That 2 part product is mold-able like clay and I just got it as close to the shape as I could, pressed it onto the arm, and let it set up overnight. I then sanded and carved it down a bit to match the other arm. I'll have to see if I have a before pic of that and then take one now.

Oh, I also plan to use that product to make new tops above the arms where you see the holes in the natural wood in the 2nd pic below. That's where the original horizontal top was attached. (a bit cut off in the CL ad pic) Part of that top is now mounted inside the upper back, padded and covered with fabric.

Sujafr, here is the blue one a bit further along, although I just propped the being re-glued arms in place for this shot, which I sent to the seller. I found a solid Waverly twill that matches the darker blue in the fabric, and will have welt outlining the upholstered parts for a crisp definition. You can just see it at the top where I pinned it.

patty-cakes, I'll keep them for a little while, just to enjoy the fruits of my labor/fun, and then try to find good homes for them. I might list a few on Craigslist!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:51PM
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The welting for the blue one sets it off perfectly! I love the new back cushion, too--such a great idea to do that. It's really coming along beautifully! Seeing your creations is so motivating that I managed to make one small throw pillow thanks to your inspiration. We love seeing your progress shots!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 7:16AM
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