Call me crazy, but look what I picked up on the side of the road, in the pouring rain, wading ankle deep in a curbside torrent.
There were a few times in the course of this transformation that I thought my skill set would run a sorry second to my imagination, but I managed to pull it off.
Phase 1, The Frame:
The vinyl upholstery had to go, which left a problematic hole in the back (to be tackled in Phase 3).
I cleaned my “new” barley chair and because some of the wood was flakey, sanded it too. I took my fabric to Suite Pieces, my favorite place for inspiration, where I received many ooh and ahhs and some great advice: Annie Sloan Giverny and Provence.
Highlighting with Modern Masters Olympic Gold popped the details on the top.
I treated the whole frame to a soothing coat of clear wax.
Phase 2, The Seat:
As for the seat, all I can say is, Yuck!
The wooden base had obviously been a patch-up job.
The cushion was originally meant to sit inside the frame. My handy, helpful brother cut the board down to size.
I covered the board and two inches of foam with fabric, then pulled and stapled the fabric to the back of the board.
The fabric had been slated for a different project but this chair had “peacock” written all over it.
Phase 3, The Back:
Get ready for a long and sometimes painful operation.
Two generations of staples and some residual vinyl had to be pulled and pried from the annoyingly deep crevice. I did this before I painted.
Post-painting, using craft paper for an initial template, I cut a form of heavy cardboard to fit inside the gaping hole.
To make it easier to find the right section of fabric, I made a silhouette by tracing the form onto another piece of craft paper. I cut two pieces of fabric, about four inches wider than the opening, one for the front of the chair and one for the back.
I made a diagram of the next step because I didn’t dare lose my concentration by taking pictures. I basically sandwiched the board and some batting between the two pieces of fabric, attaching each layer with spray adhesive. I made sure the fabric stayed nice and smooth on both sides.
From the front, I pushed the fabric-covered board into the opening far enough so that the front-facing fabric was even with the front of the chair. This created a nice flat fabric-covered surface on the back.
A double layer of fabric, from both the front and the back pieces, poked out in front. I pulled both layers taught and pushed them tight into the crevice.
I used brads to nail the fabric to the chair because that pesky crevice was too deep for staples. The brads, I soon discovered, were too long to nail straight in — the first three poked out of the back. With that lesson learned, I nailed the brads in about a quarter of the way and used an awl and a hammer to bend them over.
Next, I trimmed away the excess fabric. I only poked my fingers with the utility knife twice. (There’s a reason I stay current on my tetanus shots.) If you try this at home, please be careful.
I needed trim to cover the raggedy edges. After a series of internet searches, I couldn’t find anything I liked. Necessity is the mother of invention. I bought a clothesline.
I soaked a section of the clothesline in water and then in a bowl of slightly watered down Giverney paint. I let it dry on paper towels until it wasn’t dripping and then hung it over a chrome shower curtain rod to dry thoroughly. (Don’t do this on a decorative rod because the damp cord will leave some paint.)
The cord was a bit stiff, but pliable. I didn’t wax it because wax and glue are never a good combination. I ran a bead of fabric glue and pressed the trim into place on top of it.
Inexpensive and a perfect match. I love a successful experiment!
Phase 4, Enjoy my chair!
After some touch-up painting on the back where the nails had poked through, my pretty peacock chair was finally finished. Paint me proud.