Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dropcloth Chair Tutorial

Do you ever stumble upon a great deal and wish you would've bought more?  Well, that is how I felt after bringing home these 4 beauties.

ASCP Old White, clear wax, dropcloth cushion
OK, well, they actually didn't look anything like this when I found them {but I knew they had potential}.  I will have to admit that when I first saw the ad for $5 and $10 chairs {100's of them} then I was a little skeptical.  I called the number listed and the {very sweet} lady explained that her family was turning an old Country Buffet into a Japanese restaurant and they were trying to sell the old decor.  I could not get to my car fast enough.  When I arrived, they had literally gutted the entire restaurant and we maneuvered over boards and broken tile to a back room filled to the ceiling {literally} with tables and chairs.  I stood amazed as this tiny, sweet lady climbed to the top of the pile and very patiently handed me chair after chair until we found a few suitable ones.  I scored these for $5 a piece. 

I know...they look pretty junky {and not in the good kind of way}, huh?  I knew that with a little paint and new seat cushions they would be transformed.  If you have not reupholstered a chair seat then you should!  Simple and I'm going to show you how!  Start by flipping the chair upside down and find the screws holding the seat cushion on. 

Remove those and place them in a baggie so you don't lose them.  Next clean the chair to remove any dirt or grease.  I grabbed what I had close by and it worked like a wipes!  Paint the chair using your preferred colors and technique.  I used Old White, distressed with clear wax. 

ASCP Old White, clear wax, dropcloth cushion
 While the wax is curing you can recover the seat.  If your seat is in decent shape, you don't even have to remove the old fabric.  Since my seats were ripped {and smelled like fried chicken} then I removed the old fabric but reused the foam.  I like a firmer seat so I chose to add a liner over the foam.  Muslin works really well but you can use anything that you have on hand {even a twin sheet}.  Lay your cushion upside down on the muslin.  Cut around the cushion being sure to leave enough to staple.

Now, grab your heavy duty stapler.  Pull the fabric taught, staple and repeat on each of the four sides.

After you have stapled each side once, continue stapling around the entire cushion being sure to pull the fabric taught each time.  Gather the fabric neatly and staple to make nice, neat corners.

Trim off any excess and your seat should look like this.

Repeat the same steps with the fabric of your choice.  I love the look of linen but wanted something more durable so I used a dropcloth.  {Yes, as in a canvas paint dropcloth.}  When you launder a dropcloth you end up with a soft, knotty fabric that is really beautiful.  Reattach you cushion and you have a gorgeous new chair!

ASCP Old White, clear wax, dropcloth cushion

ASCP Old White, clear wax, dropcloth cushion

I'm so tempted to drive back over and see if she has more because I am keeping these for myself but know that someone else would love to have a set!

ASCP Old White, clear wax, dropcloth cushion

Just to keep it real...this is what DIY {really} looks like at my house.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chalk paint white {gray} wash tutorial

I know, I know...I have been a very bad blogger lately {so sorry}.  March was a whirlwind but the good news is that it is past us and I'm back!  Thank you for being patient and loyal readers.  Several of you have messaged me and I really appreciate the encouragement {and the reassurance that someone is reading this thing}.  I know that I need to make this up to you so how does a tutorial sound?  Good? {Yep, thought so.

I recently finished two custom pieces for a sweet couple.  E & L sent over an armoire and dresser that her dad owned before he met her mom {sweet}.  While these were in excellent condition, they wanted a fresh, updated finish.  The request was a grayish white-wash finish that shows some wood grain.  {Yay!  A new challenge}.  Annie Sloan has advertised that her chalk paint can be mixed and used as a wash and I had been wanting to try it out.  I scoured the blogosphere to find the recommended mixing ratio and I found...NOTHING!  So what's a girl to do...get to mixing and see what happens.  Well, this is what happened...

ASCP Wash {French Linen/Old White}; clear and dark wax

I'm in love.  I wish these pieces weren't so {SO} heavy because I was dying to stage them in my house to really showcase the beauty of the finish.  The pictures don't do it justice but it'll have to do, I guess.  What I found was that Annie was right.  Her paint makes an excellent wash and still adheres beautifully.  Here's the before shot...

I started by mixing 1 part Old White, 1 part French Linen, 1 part water together in a container.  Mix it really well with a plastic spoon.  Then I painted the mixture on using long strokes and moving in only one direction.  I then took a dry t-shirt, wrapped it around my hand and lightly ran it over the paint.  Be careful to work in small manageable areas and use long seamless strokes.  Continue over the entire piece.  Tip: If you want more coverage, wipe using less pressure.  The wash mixture will dry much more quickly.  This is how it looked after the first step.

after step 1
Now, this was pretty but not quite gray enough so I mixed a second coat consisting of 1 part French Linen and 1 part water.  This mixture is equal parts paint and water so it will be quite thinner and runnier.  I took a clean brush and painted one quick stroke over the first coat.  Immediately follow with a dry t-shirt wrapped hand, wiping off almost all of the wet paint. 

You will think this is pointless but what it does is give the piece dimension by adding the appearance of multiple layers and shades {and not so faux-finishy looking}.  The door on the left is after step 1 while the side panel on the right is after steps 1 and 2. 

Tip:  Be sure to use a dry area of the t-shirt with each stroke.  If you use the soaked part of the shirt, it will not give you a streaky appearance which you want for this finish.  Here is what mine looked like after step 2.

Allow the piece to completely dry.  Follow with a very thin coat of paste wax and buff gently when dry.  After applying the paste wax and buffing it off, I gently sanded the entire piece using 220 and 320 grit sandpaper {remember...the higher the number the finer the grit and the smoother the finish}.  I then lightly distressed the edges using 150 grit sandpaper.

before dark wax

Remove dust by wiping over the entire piece with a clean, dry t-shirt or rag. I then applied a thin layer of clear/dark wax mix to bring out the wood tones and add more color depth, followed by a final coat of clear wax {3 wax coats in all}. You can skip the dark wax and just apply the final clear wax layer, if you prefer.

ASCP Wash {French Linen/Old White}; clear and dark wax

ASCP Wash {French Linen/Old White}; clear and dark wax; lined drawer
I always line drawers to add an unexpected, personal touch.  And there you have it...a chalk paint white {gray} wash tutorial!

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