Category Archives: #Upcycling #NewLife #Feminista
Back in July of 2018, while my then-husband and I were getting the Toronto house ready to sell, I found these chairs on Kajiji. I posted this at the time:
I loved these chairs. I know they look a little “office-y,” but if I recover them…
I did a little poking online, and these chairs, for which I paid $10 per chair, retail today for $261.95 on sale. So the 10 chairs that cost me $100, would have cost, new, $2,619.50 + tax!!! And mine have a comfortable padded seat and wheels!
I suspect what happened is a company left in the night without paying their landlords, so the landlords, having no idea of the chairs’ value, just gave them to their employees. The office manager told me some people took a couple home, but nobody wanted the last 10. I hope they had a nice lunch for my $100. Me? I was thrilled with my chairs.
A few days later, I found a high quality black and white striped curtain at a thrift store. I was selling for $8, but I had a $10-off coupon, so…
In preparation for recovering (how hard could that be?), I struggled with a screwdriver to remove 1 of the seats. The red fabric had been strapled right onto the heavy duty plastic. Neither of my crafting staple guns could penetrate the plastic.
Fast forward 9 months. I’m now a brave new upcycler, and, having given tons of thought to how I was going to afix these, I started again. I removed a seat, now with an electric screwdriver. Zttt. Zttt. Times 8 and the screws practically jumped into my hands. Huh.
I tried sewing the new fabric over the old, having dug out an upholstery needle from among my mother’s sewing stuff. But alas, it wasn’t to be.
But wait… there’s a Rent-All place nearby. I popped in with one of the seats and the nice chap did have a professional level staple gun. We tried it and bang the staple was firmly seated. It would be $20 to rent the pneumatic stapler and $30 to rent a compressor. For. One. Day. Hmmm.
I go home and look up “staplers” on Canadian Tire. You’ll recall that as I retired from Canadian Tire’s head office, I have the staff discount of about 20% for life.
Sure enough, they had electric staplers. Staplers that plug in. No compressor needed. For $49.00. (Spoiler: Today, I saw they were on sale for $39.00, so I got my $10+tax refunded.)
Sure enough, it worked a treat. I cut up 10 squares of fabric (7 from the polished cotton and 3 from the stretch T-shirt material). Between the electric screwdriver and the electric stapler, I finished all 10 chairs in a matter of hours. (Spread over 2 days, TBH.) Some of the stripes go across, and some back-to-front. I love it!
Finished product looks much less office-y. Don’t you agree?
Remember my first upcycling post a few weeks ago, “Girls Don’t Need Tools.” Yeah, well. No wonder women look incompetant and give up. We don’t even know these tools exist, let alone how to use them. So if you need anything recovered, I’m your girl. And I won’t do it for you, I’ll teach you how.
My First Success!
Allow me to say first off, that success is relative. I still need to learn a lot about paint and painting, but I’m delighted with my first “real” project: my little footstool.
I love thrifting—more than painting. It’s like really cheap shopping. When I needed to outfit my new kitchen from scratch last fall, between loyalty points, sales, discounts, gifts and thrifting, I probably did it for a couple of hundred bucks. The new stainless steel appliances came later, but even they were Black Friday deals.
But I digress. I arrived at the Newmarket Salvation Army one day in early January just as someone was donating a little stool. You know the one from the 80s that we all had. Came from Regal and fit the Toronto Star TV Magazineperfectly. It looked like this one, which is available today from Amazon for $77.29 Cdn dollars. The legs are slightly different, but it’s actually the identical faux tapestry.
The one I snagged had already been recovered once, but when I peeled back the fading cotton, there was the original faux tapestry, just as I remembered.
I took the whole thing apart, carefully saving the screws and hinges. I didn’t want to use the grey chalk paint I already had, so, after sanding and cleaning and priming (in white), I grabbed the can of Rustoleum outdoor paint. The instructions on the can said you could paint wood, so I did. Two or three coats. Note to readers: Rustoleum outdoor paint does not clean up with soap and water.
First I tried to paint the tapestry white using fabric spray paint purchased from Michaels. Two spray cans later, it looked as if I’d left it outside in a mild snow fall. Hmmf.
So I got out my trusty staple gun and recovered it in black and white striped fabric that I’d also grabbed at Salvation Army a while back. It’s not the same polished cotton curtain I’d be using later on the bench (spoiler alert), and indeed, I may take this little guy apart again and redo it with the better quality fabric—they’re both black and white stripes after all. But I thought the stretchy, T-shirt-y material would be easier to work with. Here’s s shot of the exciting new stripes draped with the thin cotton that had covered it when I bought it.
I struggled to get the screws back in, having covered the predrilled holes with fabric. But, after first doing it backwards, I finally got them in. They were tiny and the wood cheap and old—that’s what’s holding me back from re-doing it with the better fabric. I’m afraid the wood might not withstand yet another change.
But, I now own wood filler and a drill. So…
I love how it looks—glossy black (pay no attention to the drips and brush strokes), with the black and white fabric. I sprayed it repeatedly with Scotchguard, and later with anti-static spray, but the other thing that’s not great about the stretchy cotton is that dog hair sticks to it like Velcro.
Now… it sits by Command Central (that’s the chair where I can see both the TV and the bird feeder), proudly holding the now-too-big Toronto Star TV guide and the remote. (I wonder if remotes had even been invented when this wee footstool came off the assembly line.) And I couldn’t be more pleased.
Stay tuned for my next success—the front-door bench…