Sunday, March 8

Spring {please come} Forward!

Spring is coming soon... and this is not based on a feeling, this is based on necessity.  SPRING HAS TO BE COMING SOON... therefore, spring is coming soon! 

Like I said in my last post, the snow is killing my painting productivity, and while some people are all about spring cleaning, I'm more about spring painting (and Greg will argue that I don't know what cleaning is until people are coming over... sometimes I am just in the middle of a project so the piles of things just accumulate... any other creative friends know what I mean?)  I have tables, and dressers, and night stands, and frames all begging for a new coat of paint (I totally sang half of this sentence as Ariel)! 

While my unpainted furniture babies sit all around the house, I sit in my craft room pinning projects and pining of paints past. So... today, while piles and piles of snow sit outside my window, I bring you my first big painting project I did for the house (other than painting every freakin' wall and cabinet in this place).

Now, before we go any further, I am going to need you to pretend that the top of that table is black (future painting project) and that there is a crystal chandelier above the table.  Can you see it? Okay, good! These are Craig's list chairs that I was able to get for $60 (that included a table, whom is no longer with us... RIP table).  These chairs, however, were not always black, white, and upholstered in fun fabrics.

Here's the before!

Greg is driven crazy by the amount of chairs and tables that we have in the house, so when he came home to a kitchen with an additional six chairs... well... I enjoyed it! As you can see the chairs were brown with a cream-ish upholstery.  Upon closer inspection, the chairs had a lot of that that sticky build up that kitchen items can get covered in if they aren't cleaned regularly... and the seats seemed to have originally been white.

    1. REMOVE SEATS: If your chairs are upholstered, like mine, remove the seats by unscrewing them with a drill.  You can remove the fabric to prepare for re-upholstery, but I left mine on because it was such a light color and wouldn't show through my new fabric.

    2. CLEAN: The chairs had to be cleaned, so I used a sponge and some soapy water.  Some dirt came off, but the build up still remained.

    3. DEGLOSS/SAND: I was lucky enough to have chemical sander leftover from my cabinet painting kit. Instead of actually sanding the chairs with sand paper, I used Rust-oleum Cabinet Transformations Deglosser, according to the instructions. This removed the build up, which you can see on the top of this chair... the finish and stain were actually removed off that part too.


    These chairs were definitely old, so I did not have a hard time removing the gloss/sheen from them, but if you have newer chairs you may want to use some actual sand paper, after this step, just to be safe. **Make sure to use gloves and put protective plastic over the area you're working on top of. **

    4. PRIME: Such an annoying step, but also very worth it! Primer helps the paint adhere to the surface better, prevents chipping, and makes the paint finish more even.  I did 2-3 coats of Zinsser primer.  I lightly spray left to right, then stop, then right to left.  It may looking patchy at first, but you want to spray lightly so that you don't get paint drips. Some say to lightly sand in between coats of primer, but I didn't, unless I saw a clearly uneven spot or drip.

    5. PAINT: Yay! The part you've been waiting for. Just like with the primer, spray with light even strokes. I used Valspar High Gloss Spray Paint in black and white. I obviously worked into the night because I wanted these done... also great if you want to paint in your pjs... braless, haha! I used an old table and boxes to prop up the chairs so that I could get a more even spray on the bottom.  Elevating the chairs made it easier to see spots I missed.  I'd say I did about 3-4 coats on the chairs. One of those coats was extra after I had to sand and fix the flourish-y detail on the top of the chair (I explain that below).  If you're going for the distressed look, I bet you can do less.


    6. CLEAR PROTECTIVE COAT: I used a clear protective coat, Valspar Clear High Gloss Spray Paint.  I'm sure you've guessed it, spray with light even strokes.  I didn't love this product.  It took the high gloss away from the black, and doesn't feel smooth.  I am wondering if I got a bad sprayer or if it's just the product.  When I was finishing these chairs up, our 1 year anniversary of having the house/ housewarming party was coming up fast! I only sprayed 2 coats of the clear, but I should have done a few more, which I explain below.  Definitely let the clear coat dry for the amount of time the directions say, if not longer!

    7. RE-UPHOLSTER: For this step you need a staple gun, fabric, scissors and a large flat table to work on.  Depending on the condition of your seats, you may need some batting or foam to amp up the tush comfort, and something to remove staples, if your chairs have a lot because you'll want to make room for your own staples. So, like I said, by the end of this project I was in a rush to finish these chairs for my house warming party.  I was literally upholstering these chairs the morning of (after being up until 3 a.m. cleaning). I didn't take my time and use a ruler.  All I did was position the fabric on top of the seat and made sure the chevron was straight, and that there was enough to wrap around and be stapled.  After I stapled my first piece of fabric to the seat it became my "tracer", if you will. I used it to line up and measure the other pieces so that the zig zags would start and end in the same place on each chair and still be enough fabric to wrap around. Because of this, there was some fabric wasted, but I will find a use it for eventually. This won't happen with solid fabrics because it doesn't matter where you make the cuts.  I did the same with the damask. When I stapled, I made sure to the pull the fabric tight, but not too tight were the foam in the chair would be permanently squished down.  The corners get a little tricky, but tackle these like you're wrapping a present. I would fold and overlap fabric until it had minimal to no folds or creases on the corner.  The underside of the chair looked crazy, but as long as the top was nice it doesn't matter.  As you're pulling and folding the fabric, make sure to staple it down and test the staples.  Some staples just pop out.  I made sure to do multiple staples near each corner, because the overlapping of fabric made it thicker and I wanted to make sure it was reinforced.  Trim the fabric from the underside, and they are ready to be screwed back onto the base.  Scotch Guard the fabric, and you're set!


    I really love my chairs, I am just dreading having to fix the little mistakes that I made.  Here are a few tips so you won't have to dread the project re-visit too!

    1. DESIGNS/DETAILS: If you have an ornate design, like the one at the top of my chairs, be patient and paint that with a small brush before spray painting. Unless you want to try to sand inside the groves and repaint it. The spray paint can not get into the small grooves without building up and looking messy.

    2. PROTECTIVE COAT: Get a good clear protective finish.  I am going to re-do mine when, you guessed it, spring returns.  I have had some of the paint rub off or transfer to other chairs when they bumped together because I either didn't do enough coats, or it was just not a good spray.

    3. DRYING TIME: I think part of the reason some of the paint came off was because I didn't let them dry and harden.  I finished them the day before tons of people were sitting in them for the party. Give your paint and protective finish time to dry!

    4. SCRATCHES/ HOLES: Take the time to fill scratches and nail holes etc. with wood putty. There are a few scratches in the wood on the back of one of the chairs, probably from someone's belt at one time... nothing really bad enough to make me want to re-do this step, but for future projects I will definitely fill things in. 

    5. PRIMING/PAINTING: Prime or paint the bottom of the chairs first, so you don't have to put the chairs upside down after you've painted the top... then you'll have to wait for the top to dry.  I found this out halfway through... I did have to pick some grass off my chairs!

    6. UPHOLSTERING: When you re-upholster make sure you get durable fabric.  My fabric is basic cotton fabric that I know I am going to have to eventually replace.  Also make sure you really trim the fabric on the bottom because some of it can get stuck in the screw when putting the seat back on the base, and the pulling causes the fabric to wrinkle.

    Do you have any painting projects you just can't wait to start?

    Here's a sneak peek into some of my future projects!

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