Monday, August 18, 2014
CHINESE CHIPPENDALE CHAIRS WITH PAINTED SEAT CUSHIONS
Hey there friends! So sorry that I skipped out last week without any word... it was our last week before school starts (tomorrow!) and although we didn't have time to squeeze in one last getaway, we did take three days for a "staycation" and enjoyed some fun things together while working around back-to-school events. And honestly, I just needed a little break from the blog too before things kick into fast gear for Fall. However, I finished a few projects over the weekend and am all ready to spill the details this week!
I've had a few good finds from my buddy Craig in the past month or so. When these chairs (which I NEVER see in our area) were listed, I couldn't contact the seller fast enough to arrange to see them. By the time I arrived a few hours later he was shocked that there were so many people interested in them. ;) They were in pretty good condition except for a small hole in one of the cane seats. With the cushion I'm not too worried about it, these won't be high-use chairs anyway.
The cushions had a slight smell of smoke. I planned to just pitch them, but left them to air out in the garage for a while so I could use them for a pattern to get new ones made. I'm not sure where these chairs will land, so I'm not ready to choose a new fabric for them, but decided I needed the cushions back on to protect the seats. With nothing to lose, I thought I'd try to clean them up and make them work.
After they aired out, the smell was mostly gone, but I filled up the bathtub with some bleach water and let them soak for a while, then air dry outside. The fabric was in great condition, but chocolate brown and a bit dated looking. Remembering Jennifer's post about her sofa, I planned to try to dye them black. The covers weren't removable, so I just worked with the whole cushion intact. I had some dye on hand, mixed it up and sponged it on. It looked good at first, but by the time they dried the dye didn't take. Whatever the fabric was, it wouldn't absorb the dye. I'm sure the foam inside is jet black.
So, since I've seen hundreds of projects with people painting upholstered furniture, I decided to try that out. Again...nothing to lose. I used some textile medium (for mixing with paint to use on fabric) and acrylic paint, following the directions on the bottle for mixing.
This fabric is a heavy upholstery weight with quite a bit of texture, so when a regular paintbrush wasn't getting down in the grooves I pulled out my trusty old toothbrush, and scrubbed the paint on with it. Worked perfectly!
By the second cushion, I found that it worked better to add just a little bit of water to the paint mixture as well. Maybe some of those painting projects I'd seen suggested to start with your fabric being damp? I don't remember, but mine was dry. The appearance seemed best when I worked in long rows, starting along one edge and working my way across the entire cushion. It took two coats for the coverage to look decent.
When the cushions were completely dry, the fabric was a bit stiff and scratchy. I used a stiff nylon utility brush and went back and forth over the cushion. It softened the fabric up a little. It's still somewhat rough, but again, this is a temporary fix. I think.
So, until I decide for sure what I'm doing with these chairs, this will work just fine, or, they might just stay as-is!
I hope your week is off to a great start! We're headed out for our annual back-to-school Mexican Food lunch today, and then hoping to squeeze in one more weekday afternoon at the pool. Oh, and the final thing on my kids' to-do list... watch The Price is Right for the last time. Exactly what I used to do on my summer break when I was their age. ;)