Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cane You Believe It?

I've been inspired (mostly by my budget to be honest) to take on more DIY home projects, but since I'm just starting out, I wanted to test the waters with a couple of risk-free, mostly cosmetic ventures. On a thrift store outing during my lunch break last month I spotted two of these dusty, but lovely chairs for quite a bargain at $40 a piece:

I loved the cane sides and the way the fabric went up the back of the chair, as well as the beautifully intricate legs (I guess I'm a leg woman, who knew?!) They seemed just right for a fun and fairly simple paint and upholstery rehab, so I snatched them up and started daydreaming about how to refresh them with just the right paint and fabric. Three paint fan decks and two fabric stores later I selected glossy cream colored spray paint from Valspar and a buttery, warm tan velvet from my favorite LA fabric store, F&S.

After further investigation of the bottom and back seat cushion, I decided that this upholstery job would have to be outsourced. Although I had intended to keep this a true DIY, I wanted these chairs to look professionally done and last a long time, and the intricate stapling on both had me completely intimidated, so I hauled them over to my local upholstery shop to remove the existing fabric, fix a crack in the back and return to me for painting. I set up a mini spray booth in our garage and after cleaning them, lightly sanding them with 220 grit paper and spray priming them I was ready to paint:

I ran into a few snags at this point. 1) the primer had dried pretty bumpy, so I had to sand again before painting. I tried to diagnose the problem, and it appears that since it was a hot day and I was afraid to spray too close, the primer was drying before it hit the chair. I made a note to myself to spray the paint closer to the chair than the primer, but then when I got to that step, I  2) overcompensated and sprayed too close. The paint got gloopy and even started to drip in some spots. I wiped those areas with a rag and made sure to sand any drip marks before I did my next coat. I ended up doing three full coats of spray paint, and overall am happy with the outcome. I'm sure a professional could do better, but hey, this was my first attempt at working with spray paints.

Once the chair fully dried for a couple of days (yes, I only did one chair so far as I wanted to make sure I liked the paint, fabric and upholsterers work before I invested the time and money into both) I dropped it back off with my velvet to be upholstered. Then I waited...and waited...and waited. Finally, after almost two weeks it was finished! And despite the hours of work and long wait in the end (the upholstery shop got hit with a huge project that took priority over my little chair) I am overjoyed with how it turned out and think it's the perfect addition to almost any room in our house. Can you believe this was the same dingy old chair?

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