I finally finished sprucing up the $5 chair I picked up on Craigslist back in April. Five dollars! That's the cost of a footlong sandwich!
Below is the actual photo from the Craigslist ad of the chair before her makeover. Doesn't it just entice you to want to buy it??? No? Would you rather have a sandwich? Don't ask me how, but it beckoned me with its curved back and caning:
After removing the very dirty cushion, you can better understand how the nickname Foxy Lady came to be:
Which reminds me of a song:
I'm so easily distracted. Let's get back to the chair...
Foxy Lady was painted a two tone pink color when I picked her up, and not very well done at that. The paint job had lots of drip marks and was peeled and scratched off in several spots with tons of brush marks. But hey, it was $5, I was tickled pink about that. I decided our Painted Lady needed a make-under to remove her garish makeup and barnyard outfit and strip her down to something a little more natural and sophisticated.
First I removed the old upholstery and the caning on the back. There were several cuts and holes in the cane in all 3 panels of the chair (it's hard to see them from the photo; one of the panels was barely attached at the bottom but it was all barely glued together with the P
Then I stripped the paint off the chair using Citristrip. It worked really well on this chair and I really appreciate that it has a very light citrus smell, no unpleasant chemical smell at all! After letting the Citristrip sit on the chair for 30-40 minutes, it was all bubbled up and peeled away easily with a paint scraper.
Next I sanded the chair. No pics of that step but basically I sanded the whole chair until all the remaining paint residue and stain was gone and everything was smooth.
Replacing the caning was the next step. I was going to tackle the cane myself and even bought caning to do it. Then I tried it and realized I have no patience or skill to get the caning to look straight and professional on a curved barrel shape. If it was a flat seat, maybe, but I could not get this curve right and I was getting frustrated. I knew I was going to ruin the new cane if I kept going at it myself, and luckily I found a chair repair guy who could do it for me for a good price since I had already removed it and had extra cane. I'm so glad I took it to a pro, it turned out great! Lesson learned: take things to professionals if you really don't think you can do a good job of it. Caning comes in different sizes and I decided to go with a more open weave caning than the tighter weave that was originally on the chair and I'm really happy with it.
Next, I stained the chair. Sorry I don't have pictures of those steps, I accidentally deleted those. DOH! I used Rustoleum wood stain in the Kona color, a really dark brown, like a black-brown. The stain color on the caning "takes" differently than the wood on the chair so I had to play with it a bit to get it to look the way I wanted. The Kona stain seemed too dark and one-dimensional on the caning so I sanded off some of the Kona stain and wiped on a lighter walnut stain that I had on hand over the sanded areas to give the caning a little more dimension. Then I sealed the whole thing with three coats of a wipe-on polyurethane in satin (I use one made by Watco).
The next phase of this chair project was making the seat cushion more comfy and finishing the upholstery.
I tightened the springs by re-tacking the strings tighter along the springs and frame and replaced the previous old piece of burlap with burlap webbing that I stapled tightly over the springs:
Then I added new foam...
...and wrapped the foam with batting that I stapled to the frame in the groove that goes around the chair. So much comfier now!
Next I covered the foam with fabric and stapled it into the groove of the chair and trimmed the excess fabric away. The groove was previously hidden by the fox fabric but once I took it off, I found it and figured I'd use it for what I think was probably the original purpose. I picked up this apple green velvet-y fabric with very subtle textured stripes for $5 on clearance at Joann Fabrics.
Then, using my sewing machine, I covered cording with a contrasting black and white patterned fabric to make the welting (or piping) like you would for a pillow, trimmed the excess fabric from the welting, and hot glued it into the groove to make everything look finished. Want more details on how to make piping? Here's a great tutorial on it from Sew4Home. I almost went with the same green fabric for the piping but then thought it would be more interesting to add a contrasting fabric, so I used the black and white fabric I used for the pillow. I like it!
I also made a little pillow for the chair that is reversible with two different fabrics. One side has a small geometric honeycomb black and white fabric that I got on Etsy, and the other side is a really fun tropical leaf pattern called Balmy that I got from Kate Riley Designs on Spoonflower (who is also one of my favorite bloggers, Centsational Girl!). I love a reversible pillow! Perfect for someone like me who likes to change things up sometimes.
I spent about $95 total to makeover this chair including the cost of the chair. I love how Foxy Lady turned out and I think she's a way foxier babe than she was before. She'll look great in her new spot in the family room!