Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cat Hair to Chic Chair

I love going garage sailing in the summer, and this was a $5 purchase on the curb.  I saw it and was like ... Yeah with some new fabric and a little paint that could be a sweet chair.  And I love rocking chairs!

After my purchase we skillfully squeezed it into my back seat (transportation was an after thought) and off we drove with my new treasure.  My girlfriend Ashley and I got about 3 blocks when we noticed a faint Cat Pee smell.  The smell grew to a stench as we drove ... all windows down ... the few more miles back to the house.  (no wonder it was only five bucks) I quickly pulled it out of my car and asses the damage ... If I was going to do this I would have to strip the chair entirely!!!

Budget Break Down:
  • Original Chair $5
  • Staples & Furniture Tacks $8
  • Jute Webbing & Batting $20
  • Gray Suede (Clearance) $14
Total Cost  $47
Project Time: about 30 hours

Luckily my boyfriend was out of town so i could make a mess in our back yard pulling all the minute and rusted upholstery tacks out and (while wearing a mask) rip off covering 1 to find red floral print underneath, and then a layer of advertising burlap under that, then rotten padding.  Off it all came.  Pliers, Hammer, Screw Driver, Safety Goggles and Mask required!  Tip: Put down a tarp when disassembling, it made clean up of all the rusty nails easy, don't want those lying around.

Once I was down to the wood (real wood!) i was lucky that the original varnish was the only thing there and I didn't have to strip off paint.  I took a foam sanding block and smoothed out some of the dinks.  You could use wood filler and some time to get perfect surfaces if desired.

Using 2 cans of Satin finish Black spray paint I covered the necessary areas.  To paint in the garage I swept and laid out an old sheet.  Pick a day with no wind or find a wind block, otherwise small bits of dust and what not will end up blowing into your wet paint.  I completed 2 coats, lightly sanding in between.
I purchased about 8 yards of Jute webbing.  Using a staple gun I wove and tacked the webbing around the under most corner.  It is important to pull the webbing extra tight.
This is the Foam and Batting.  I purchased 2'' thick green foam from a fabric store and cut to fit the seat and back.  I purchased batting and applied it over the foam and Jute.  Note: Since you end up using a lot of staples to secure each layer it is important to put each layer of staples on a specific side so you don't run into them later.  Since these methods are my own I always plan for mistakes.  The foam didn't provide enough cushion, so i used some stuffing i had on hand and pulled up one side of the staples on each the bottom and back panels.  This ended up being a great thing, I pulled the stuffing and packed it between the foam and batting, it hid the edges of the foam and created a nice stiff padding. 
Lastly was the covering.  I used a stretch fo-suede in medium gray.  this easily stretched over all the under molding, be sure the top layer is sturdy enough to hold staples, if you choose a thin fabric or something that tears easily it will not be held in place tightly with staples and will rip.  The top was completed by taking a strip of cardboard and wrapping the fabric around it to keep a crisp edge, it is held in place with decorative silver upholstery tacks (found at JoAnn's).  This took a few tries but it was important to make sure it looked neat.
Finished Product.  Fits right in with our other furnishings and it no longer smells like cat urine. 
Also: I apologize for a minimum of detailed construction images.  This too was an older project i documented but wanted to share it.  Please leave comments about what you would like to see during the making of items.

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