I love to find things on the side of the road and try re-imagining them. Fortunately, I have my curbside hero boyfriend, Joey to help me with some of the carpentry work. I recently found this solo chair that had ripped and dreary upholstery, torn wicker sides and a beat-up wood finish and turned it into a bold, fun and stylish statement chair with the addition of some natural sticks, emerald green paint and patterned fabric. This chair is perfect for an entry way, the corner of a bedroom or anywhere you want to add color, visual interest and a surface to sit on or stack books on etc. Watch the video above for our adventure from trash to treasure!
For the design of the chair I knew I wanted to remove the back cushion and since I love to use contrast and juxtaposition in texture in all of my designs, I thought natural sticks would make great chair spindles against a glamorous green paint and loud patterned fabric… I love the way it looks!
- Sandpaper – low grit between 80 to 150
- Flathead screwdriver (to remove staples)
- Spray polyurethane (to seal sticks)
- Wood glue
- Measuring tape
- Spray paint color for chair – probably two cans
- Remove the upholstery on the back of the chair. Usually fabric is attached with staples, for which you can simply use a flat-head screw driver to pry up and then a pair of pliers to pull them out.
- Remove the seat cushion. These can be attached many ways; in this instance, it was screwed to the bottom of the chair frame.
- Remove the wicker from the arms using your pliers and screw driver.
- Now that you have just the bones of the chair, you’ll sand the entire thing using a low number grit sandpaper to quickly take all of the wax/stain off of the chair.
- Decide what size branch you want to use and go on a branch hunt. Make sure the branches you use are old and very dry. You don’t want any branches with any wetness in them as they will change in size as they dry out.
- Also to make sure you avoid the branches changing shape once they are installed, you can store them in the final space for 24 hours so they can acclimate. Sounds crazy, I know, but this is what you do when you install wood floors, also.
- Now that you have your branches picked out and your chair striped, cut the branches to size and make sure they flush with the wood frame of the chair (no wiggle room).
- Before gluing the branches in, apply a couple coats of spray polyurethane or some other type of sealant to further protect the wood from the elements and critters.
- Now that you have the branches sized and covered with polyurethane, apply wood glue to both ends of each branch and place them in their desired place in the chair back.
- Choose any color spray paint that will go with your space and that you think would be unique and fun. Tape off the now installed branches and spray away.
- Once the paint is dry, you can install the newly re-upholstered cushion.
Kate’s Upholstery and Embellishment Supplies:
- 2 yards of fabric
- Staple gun with staples that are long enough to go through fabric and wood
- Brass chain (for groove where old cushion was) – about 4 feet
- Glue gun with extra strength glue sticks
- Wire cutters (to trim chain)
- Cut off old upholstery from cushion making sure not to damage the foam underneath.
- Lay cushion face down on backside of fabric and make sure you have enough slack all around cushion to wrap around to the underside of the cushion where the wood is.
- Start wrapping from opposite sides and secure with staples. Do all four straight sides first (leaving room at the corners) to make sure you have a nice smooth and wrinkle free fit – keep turning the cushion over to make sure your pattern looks straight too.
- Wrap the corners like you would a present or ‘”hospital corners” when making a bed. You will have to make pleats in the fabric to compensate for the square or rounded corners of the cushion so as long as the pleats are purposeful and match on either side, it will look great! Staple the pleats as you go.
- Once all the fabric is securely staples, trim an excess fabric from the underside and you’re ready to re-attach!
- Start at the base of one side of the chair near the cushion and use a glue gun with extra strength glue sticks to adhere the chain in the groove of the chair.
- Follow the groove all the way around, gluing as you go and trim the chain with your wire cutters.