DIY – Dining Chairs Update

MML painted chairs 500

I just finished a major DIY project. So glad to have that off my plate! Fall is a season when, as the weather cools, the Captain & I begin to remember all those projects and all the deferred maintenance around the cottage that need to be done NOW, while the weather is pleasant. In mid-July 2014 I began to Update of our oak dining room set; a white oak table with two BIG extension leafs and 6 chairs. It is high quality solid oak furniture but the finish on the table top had both heat and water rings on it. From many years of sitting near sunny windows, the wood had faded and the clear sealer had become brittle. Truthfully…at 36 years old and come on…oak…this looked like granny furniture.

At beginning & during disassembly it is IMPORTANT to MARK ALL pieces. Chair B is marked "B" on bottom of leg, and all cushion parts as they are removed. This also shows another chair C and its screws attached. Keep tape & pen nearby during all processes.

1- At beginning & during disassembly it is IMPORTANT to MARK ALL pieces. Chair B is marked “B” on bottom of leg, and all cushion parts as they are removed. 2- Another chair, C, and its screws attached to the removed cushion. I keep tape & pen nearby during all processes.

I had recovered the chair cushions many times, as my taste and decorating styles changed…almost 4 decades of changes! My decor taste is now more industrial/contemporary style, so this set is NOT workin’ in its ever-changing surroundings. But in the end, I know I am going to have to live with this old granny. I am ok with that, because along with style changes, my purchasing priorities have changed too. I’m trying to embrace what I already have and not add more stuff to my life now. ok friends, you can get up off the floor now  Cost has taken on a whole new meaning. Cost is more about what I will give up rather than the actual currency value. Cost=Time, a Moment, or even Storage Space…so my granny furniture got a big update instead.

My total for the DIY project comes to around $300. (that includes the dining table…DIY post to come) and a LOT of sweat & time. I figure that is a deal, since it ended up looking, well, Updated. In summer 2014, I finished the table & 2 arm chairs in about 2 weeks, and my Fall holiday preparation led me to finish the remaining 4 arm chairs NOW!

Paint Process:

The only preparation for the painted surfaces (chairs & legs & sides of table) was to lightly sand a few spots where the old sealer was flakey & brittle, not to remove stain because I was going to distress the paint to reveal the old stained oak- got that?) I actually later forgot to do that to the side chairs, so there still are a couple of spots that may peel later oh well, that is an attitude that comes with age too.

MML photo 1 paint 3 up500

The first thing I did was take the 2 arm chairs outside and give them 2 light coats of spray Primer. My thought was to first prime them and then decide on a color of chalk paint. But a happy surprise! Love those moments…I liked the blue tint of the gray primer and it has a chalky texture so I thought, why not see how it takes Annie Sloan Clear Wax? It waxed up nicely. Primer paint does not absorb the wax exactly like a true chalk paint, but for the price difference and great color, it was perfect. I used 3 cans to cover the 2 arm chairs with 2 coats of Primer at the cost of less than $3. per can. Deal! Had I gone with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint it would have been expensive per can, and I doubt 1 can would have covered 6 chairs and table legs/sides. I did use Annie Sloan’s Clear Soft Wax, as my paint clear top coat, because it provides and easy to use and predictable soft sheen, (a soft sheen similar to Pottery Barn furniture ).

Wax Process:

1- Waxing tools, 2-Too much wax shows crumbs, 3-Remove the excess by lightly wiping off (no buffing tho)

1- Waxing tools, 2-Too much wax shows crumbs, 3-Remove the excess by lightly wiping off (no buffing), then let wax sit until it is barely tacky to the touch.

A.S. Clear Soft Wax is so Easy and Predictable. My kind of product. It is expensive but one can (16.9 oz/500ml) covered all painted surfaces and I have  left.

1-Use brush to push wax into carvings, 2-Polish out using cheesecloth, 3-contrast of bare paint & waxed paint.

1-Use brush to push wax into crevices, 2-Polish out using cheesecloth, 3-contrast of bare paint & waxed paint.

Working parts of the 2 chairs at the same time and staggering them helped as the morning got hotter. I did bring them inside to do the 3rd coat so I could slow down the dry time. Let’s just say, 2 chairs are=happy mood, but once I got to the side chairs…4 chairs= grumpy.

Cushion Recover Process:

MML tools compos 500

As I mentioned, I have recovered these chairs many times. But this time was different. I saw the sharp wood edge (the cushion base wood) cutting into the fabric so I knew the foam was starting to shift and was compacted with age. Now would be the time to replace both the wood cushion base and the foam BUT… the time…so here comes my genius Plan B.

MML tape process 500

I covered wood edges, where the foam had pulled back, with a 2-sided sticky foam mounting tape and pulled the old foam back over the sticky edge. It meant I would, for the first time, remove the original fabric that I had many times covered over. Cost was $15. (reg $) for 4 rolls of Scotch brand picture mounting foam tape and the cost of time, (cost=time, remember?) maybe 30 min more per chair.

If you have never recovered fabric on a chair cushion it is SIMPLE. Your new fabric just needs to be large enough to wrap around the edges and have about 2 inches extra to staple. My sources in the past for fabric has gone from; bed sheets, remnants, rugs, custom designer fabrics; to this time…using a drapery. TIPS: Iron fabric if it has creases. Make sure your fabric is straight to the cushion, and if you want a particular design to be centered arrange before cutting. Know for sure if you have enough fabric, especially if you are centering a design on each cushion, or if running the print a certain direction. When stapling; work back & forth on opposing sides, and keeping the fabric straight and pulled taunt. Watch the edges of cushion; that fabric lays smoothly. Corners can be folded to look neat or fanned out to get smooth edge; practice before you add staples to your 1st corner. My suggestion is to be BOLD and JUST DO IT!  Watch a couple of YouTube videos for technique. For years I thought the staples needed to be perfectly set, but now realize, as long as one end is into the wood, it WILL hold. I still always have to whack the staple with a hammer to get at least one side set. Don’t sweat-it! by the time you get it all stapled and if you add trim it WILL STAY until your next style change. It is a cheap way to update and coordinate any decor.

MML toolbox addition

While at Home Goods I found the reverse color of the same drapery panels. Dark blue with white print. I bought a set at $30. and used that to cover the 4 side chairs. I’m sure the extra panel and excess will end up in another room on a window or as pillows. The cording trim gives a professional finish to the cushion. It is pricey at $6 per yd but with coupons at Jo-Ann Fabric the cost was $7. per chair. I used craft glue to help hold trim down after stapling to the board. Trim is done after the cushion is recovered. TIP: Be careful if you decide to flip over the old cushion base board to recover. I did that with 2 side-chairs, thinking the staples would go in better because of less old holes, well the board was bowed from years of weight, so they were harder to re-screw to the chair. They will flatten as we use them – I have Captain in charge of sitting on those chairs during lunch : )

MML dining set DIY room500

What project do you need to do This Fall?

Thanks for stopping by! See you again for Friday Finds, October 2!

new Kathy sig w wc & big mug 159x50