Chair Makeover, Part 2

Happy Labor Day, blog lovers!  And hello chair makeover, part 2.  Since you all are so great (and I’m loving this three day weekend), I’ll give you a sneak peek at the finished product from last week’s chair makeover debacle.

As you can see,  last week’s installment of the curbside pickup saga continues this week with a much happier ending!  Let’s recap briefly from last week’s post:

I found this chair on the sidewalk, and at the time, it was in need of a bit of TLC.  I removed the seat bottom, cushion, buffered the chair, and painted it with about 10 coats of flat white paint (insert decision regret here).  Where we last left off, I was not pleased with the flat white look or feel of this chair.

The texture of the chair’s frame still felt rough to me, and I was looking for a bit of a shine, so Dan grabbed a can of glossy, wipe on polyurethane.  As he explained to me after the first coat, polyurethane is a protective layer that hardens into a plastic and provides a really nice finish.  Before even applying the gloss, we sanded down the chair with sandpaper, just to get the bumps down.  We used a tack cloth, which is a sticky cloth that picks up dust and residue, and wiped the chair down before adding a layer of polyurethane.  The cloth we used to apply the polyurethane was actually an old t-shirt that Dan cut up, so we could throw it away right after use.  I did a second coat as well, just to be sure.

While that all sounded great at the time, this chair ended up YELLOW.  The polyurethane, while it did make everything all glossy and shiny like I hoped, also tinted my meticulously white-coated chair in a slightly off-white, yellowish hue.  Sad day.  I’ll take the blame for not doing my research in advance.  After a disappointing almost finish to this chair project, we had two options: 1) remove the polyurethane with mineral spirits, or 2) re-coat the chair in a glossy white spray paint.

Rather than take my chances with more chemicals (and risk the mineral spirits actually removing the paint from the chair), I decided to spend yet another $4 on a can of Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch spray paint  and primer in white gloss.  I’m starting to think I could singlehandedly keep them in business from the amount of spray painting I’ve done in the past year.  I covered that chair in about six more coats of spray paint over one week (now you see why this project took so long…).

Next, it was time to upgrade the seat.  Remember this?

Uh, yeah.  Time for a change!  I put Dan in charge of the first part of this project as it required some woodworking.  Once he removed all of the cushion innards, he used the wooden base as a guide for cutting a new seat base.  Then he cut a beautiful new piece of wood to match the size, which was just a piece of half-inch plywood that we had lying around in the garage, conveniently left over from the kitchen renovation.

Ta-da!  Next, it was my turn.  I snagged this cute fabric from Jo-Ann that was light and fun, with a design of yellow and orange trees to compliment some of the other decor in the office space where I’d be using this chair. Here’s all the materials I needed for the project: fabric, a ruler, scissors, batting, foam, a staple gun, and staples.

I started off by cutting the batting to about three inches larger on each side than the actual size of the seat.  I cut the foam to match the size of the seat base.  This process treats the cushion like a sandwich, with fabric and the wood as the two pieces of bread, and the foam and batting as the inside of the sandwich.  I used a hand staple gun, much like I do for many of my other projects, to attach everything together.


I started by laying the batting on the floor, centering the foam and seat base on top of it.  I stretched out the batting and stapled one staple on each side of the seat (special guest appearance by Wallace Klein).

Then, I cut the fabric to be about three inches larger than the seat.  The hardest part of this step was making sure the fabric was aligned neatly and stretched out over the seat bottom.   Folding the fabric over the sides of the seat is a similar process to wrapping a present with slightly rounded edges.

I started with one staple on each side and alternated stapling on each side of the cushion before I even started working on the corners.  The corner wrapping process is most similar to wrapping a present.  I took two edges of the fabric and folded them over as neatly as I could, though I do think I had a decent amount of excess foam and fabric.  It was relatively easy to fold these corners in, making sure they were as stretched out as possible over the seat.  I stapled each corner individually (the bottom right corner below is completely stapled).

Last, but not least, Dan and I had to reattach the metal seat base to the chair and then attach the new cushion.  Attaching the metal seat base was easy: we just squeezed it back into place.

Attaching the cushion was more involved, but still only took a few minutes to complete. We turned the chair upside down and laid it on top of our kitchen table (don’t worry, we cleaned the table afterwards).  There were four screw hooks on the bottom of the chair.  We aligned the wooden base carefully and I held it in place while Dan screwed it into each hole.

Once that was done, I carried this beautiful new office throne upstairs and plopped her down at my desk (also a free curbside score).  I just love how the light colors of the fabric accent everything else going on in our office space right now.

Let’s take one bigger picture look at how the office wall is coming along (my side, at least!).  Let’s just say Dan’s desk area needs a bit of work at the moment.

 Here, you can see our freshly painted floating shelves at the top (a project nine months in the making, here and here).  You might also remember the homemade bulletin board on the left, and we’ve hung up some art as well.  I’d say things are coming along! What do you think of the office nook’s fresh start?

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