It’s been a little while since we’ve published worked on a refinishing project, which honestly seems to be the most popular thing we do. We’ve been on the hunt for a while for some patio furniture we don’t detest. The problem is that it’s all ugly plastic or REALLY expensive. So we’ve kept our eyes out for something we can work with.

Finally this weekend we found some plain metal chairs. nothing special but the perfect base for a refinishing project. The chairs were $4.99 each, not in bad shape or rusted, and we bought two cans of spray paint at $3.50 or so each.

 

They started out black, with a few rust spots here and there. Still, they were stable and in decent shape.

 

Add a little paint…

 

And viola! They went from dud to fun in about ten minutes. We let the paint dry and set while we work on cushions for the seat and back (because hey, why not).

We haven’t made the cushions quite yet, but have our fabric planned out. This fabric was another Goodwill find at about $3.00.

 

I think this project will be a great start to spicing up our back patio. We have a really sizeable patio that is covered, which is nice, but doesn’t keep rain or snow or wind out. It’s nice for the summer when our house is sweltering because we have the stove, oven, and dishwasher running all day, and I’d like to make it more functional. I’m a super huge fan of the “outdoor rooms” you see set up at home improvement stores and such.

Don’t tell Katie, but I have designs on our outdoor space. I’m really tempted to put in a low wall around the slab and then put in canvas and vinyl or screen “walls” that we can roll down when it’s nice, and can go up when it’s not so nice. I think we can do it and it would be pretty much epic. I think it’s about time to recruit Father Burb and Father Burb in law to come out for a visit.

 

(Garden party last year, but you can see the space and get the idea. )

Train Train Train

March 19, 2012

So one of my main purposes in life is to find vintage things that are cute. I’ve been looking for hat boxes and train cases FOREVER every week at the thrift stores and I’ve NEVER seen one…until this weekend. I found a cute red train case. It was perfect, at a half-off price of $1.50. I mean seriously.

Of course for that price it was a DISASTER inside. Gross. Like seriously gross. First step was to rip out the peeling and faded plastic linings.

As you can see, the trim was falling out everywhere, barely held in with safety pins and paper clips. Not good. Fortunately most of it ripped out intact. The exception being the bottom. What I found was that the elastic bands on the top were actually sewn in to a piece of canvas-covered  cardboard. there were other cardboard sections to help support, but those didn’t make it past the surgery.

Once everything was ripped out, I could see what we were working with.

Yeah so back to the innards.

The inside actually cleaned up pretty well. The top especially. The bottom I spent a while ripping batting and cardboard out. The bottom “fabric” also didn’t come out cleanly so there were shreds of that everywhere.

The next step was to use my fabric pieces as templates. I picked a modern riff for my inside fabrics. I wanted something punchy.

I got a yard and a half of the flower pattern, a fat quarter of the orange, and enough of the ribbon trim to go around the top.

Next step was to get the canvas cardboard separated from the fabric, and then glue that to the top.

I then sewed the elastic to the board.

Once those were sewn in, I made a flap and pocket to go under the top. I glued that and then top in place. The corners took a little working, and it wasn’t quite perfect. The ribbon trim went around the raw edge and hid my flaws.

The process was largely the same for the bottom. It was definitely harder, and I cut a band to hide my yucky corners. However, once put all together, it looked pretty darned cute.

Total investment was about $10, and approximately 3 hours of time. Lovely!

Please Be Seated

January 18, 2012

This here, is a bench.

Not only a bench, but an ugly bench. We picked it up because we always need more seating and such and figured we’d do something with it eventually. Well, eventually finally came, after the inspiration of our new bed pillows. We picked up a new bench fabric at the same time and figured now was good. The bench was about $5, and the fabric I’d guess is around $10, and the trim another $5 maybe. Of course, Katie could say differently if she wanted.

Anyway, reupholstering is another thing that makes a piece of furniture look pretty snazzy and it can be simple to do. This bench required unscrewing 11 screws, removing staples, stapling new fabric, cutting said fabric, and hot glue. Not bad.

First, take your object and disassemble it. This was a pretty straightforward project, but if you are doing something a bit more complicated, be sure to track your parts and order so that you know how to get it back together at the end.

Once the top was off, we removed the staples holding the black fabric and the mustard fabrics on. The black fabric is basically to keep the raw edges from showing underneath. Remove your staples carefully if you want to preserve this piece of fabric. I find a flat-head screwdriver or needle-nose pliers are best for removing staples.

Once all the staples are pulled out, you should be able to lift the top fabric off.

Underneath, hopefully you find foam or padding that is in good shape. If your foam is in tough shape, you can get new padding, glue it down, and you’re good to go. Ours was in good shape so we just recovered over the existing padding. The white in the corner is some extra padding to help fill out the foam, which was missing a chunk in the corner. We also were left with the frame. I’d like to paint our frame at some point but we didn’t have a good color at the time.

Next, take your new fabric, lay it out right-side-down and place the bench top on it upside down. Staple one edge with a staple gun, starting at the corners and middle, and filling in the in-betweens.

Next, pull your fabric under so that it is tight. You want it to be tight so that you don’t get loose fabric on your cover. It may take a buddy to help keep it tight while you staple.

Now, there are a couple ways to go about the corners, which I think is the trickiest part. You can measure and cut your corners ahead of time, and sew them in to the right shape (Make a cut from the corner in, then fold together and sew), as was done on the old cover. You can ease the corner around like fondant and avoid a crease, or you can miter the corner by folding it. We chose to miter it.

Once stapled, you can clean up your fabric edges if you want, or place your backing (old or new) on the bottom and staple it. Then, reassemble!

Our final touch was to add a decorative trim around the bottom. In our “final pictures” it hadn’t been glued on yet, but I basically took a glue gun and glued it to the bottom of the top piece (not the frame!).

Voila!

Fast Forward 2 Months

August 20, 2011

And here’s what you get!

 

Also we’ve started a new refinishing project for a darling little table we found.

We’re using the same stuff we used for the yellow two-level table, plus a new metal scraper. Our total investment is about $13.