Now that my re-upholstered office chair is complete, I wanted to address the dark looming bookcase that I sit next to. I am obsessed with natural light and the color of a room can really effect my mood. We recently painted our office and had ceiling lights installed in the ceiling. Anyone else out there have one of those old houses where the light switch on the wall controls the outlets? I HATE this! Let there be light in all my rooms. Let’s talk about a Quick and Easy Bookcase Facelift.

Now that we have light in the ceiling, I also want to be sure that I take advantage of natural light as well. The majority of the furniture in our office is a dark cherry color. Bookcases, armoires and other recessed furniture will absorb light. I knew I wanted to lighten up the back of the bookcase, but didn’t want to paint it or do anything to destroy the value of the furniture. So, I set to work on this super quick and easy project, making decorative backer boards for the bookcase.

Materials:
Foamcore (32″ x 40″ made 3 backer boards)
Decorative Fabric (leftover from my chair upholstery project)
Batting
Scissors
Hot Glue Gun
Cutting surface
X-acto knife and fresh blade
Metal Ruler (or ruler with a metal edge)
Pencil
Sharpie Marker

First measure the bookcase cubby dimensions.

Next draw out the dimensions on a large piece of foamcore.  Then lay your foamcore on top of your cutting surface. Personally I like the self healing cutting mats. I use them for everything (matting, paper cutting, sewing, craft projects, etc.) I recommend buying at least a 24 x 36″ size. You can find them for about $40 here: https://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Mat-and-Paper-Cutters/Creative-Mark-Self-Healing-Cutting-Mats.htm

A Note on Safely Using an X-acto Knife:

First, be sure that you always use a clean and new x-acto blade while you are cutting foamcore. Otherwise, the blade will catch on the foam interior and tear up your board.  I learned the hard way how to use an X-acto knife while in art school. Let’s just say I’m glad that thumb tips grow back. Always use a ruler that is metal or has a metal edge. When holding your ruler, be sure your fingers are WELL AWAY from the edge of the ruler you are cutting on.

Try to cut with your blade on the waste side of the piece you are cutting. That way if the blade slips, it will mess up on the waste edge. For cutting foamcore or mat board, use light pressure and pull your blade through the material and towards you. You will need to make several light cuts until you are through the material completely. You will get a cleaner cut this way as opposed to using heavy pressure and try to cut through your material in one pass.

If your board is larger than your cutting surface, cut half your foamcore, then move the board on the cutting surface to protect the floor or furniture you are cutting on.

If you successfully cut your foamcore backer boards and still have all your fingers, you can now lay your decorative fabric on top of the foamcore. I played with the placement to make sure I liked the pattern that would be shown. Then trace a 1″ border around the boards and cut the fabric.

Next you will want to trace your backer board on top of the batting (no need to add a 1″ border on the batting. Just trace to size.) Then cut the batting.  Lay your fabric right side down, then the batting, and finally put your foamcore backer board on top.

Heat up your glue gun. While you are waiting for it to heat up, trim the corners on your fabric. Trim about 1/2″ away from the corner. This will help you neatly fold your corners when you glue them.

Run a line of glue on the edges of your backer board and fold your fabric over on top of the glue.

When you are done, flip over your board and admire.

Now comes the super easy part! Walk over to your bookcase and insert your backer boards. Tilt the top in first and then push in the bottom. The fabric and batting should allow the board to stay in with tension. Plus, the great thing about using foam core is that it will crush slightly to fit your space.

AND, if you want to use it as a bulletin board you can! I’ve been thinking about using the leftover decorative nail head trim nails (from my chair upholstering project) as push pins. But, for now I’m enjoying the lighter back of my bookcase! And, loving the way it coordinates with my desk chair.

If you are coming here from a link party, this is the final post on my Extreme Rattan Chair Makeover. Click HERE if you want to see the transformation from the beginning. This chair started out as an U-G-L-Y silver painted dining chair that I scored at a yard sale for $5! I handed over my Abe Lincoln and ran before the owner could change her mind. Let’s learn about adding nail head trim now.

Today I will show you how to upholster the front and back of the rattan chair, add nail head trim, and then you can see the final results! Can’t wait, can you?

Well, grab your tools and let’s get crackin’.

Materials Needed:

  • Nail Head Trim* (Purchased every third hole style trim. It cost $1.25 per yd. on Amazon.com)
  • Decorative Nails* 7/16″ x 1/2″ – French Natural (sold in bags of 50 nails for $1.70)
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Wire Cutters
  • Posterboard or Tracing Paper
  • Scissors
  • Batting
  • Cardboard
  • Spray Mount
  • Hot Glue Gun (with glue sticks)
  • Screwdriver or cordless drill

* Just a quick note that I measured the areas on my chair using a sewing tape measure so I knew how much trim I needed. Then made sure I had enough decorative nails to fill in every third hole. Always order a bit extra in case you make a mistake or if you miss measure. Plus, as I will show you, I had to end some sections early and add extra nails.

First thing I did was make a template for the back of my chair. I used a large sheet of poster board (the cheap kind you can buy at the drug store works great!) I used my finger to press hard on the paper and the edge of my chair back opening. When I removed the posterboard, you could see a faint score line. I then cut out the template. (You could alternatively tape several pieces of tracing paper together and draw around the chair backing.)

Then I fit my template into the back and made any cuts until my template was perfect. Next I traced my template onto thicker cardboard and cut out the cardboard for my chair back.

Now I could start cutting out my fabric. You will want to lay your fabric on top of the cardboard and play with the pattern placement until you are happy. Then trace about an inch outside the cardboard and cut out your fabric. This is where I wish I had followed Centsational Girl’s directions for her Cinderella Chair Makeover! She cut out a piece of batting that was the same size as her chair back fabric. She wrapped the batting around the cardboard and stapled it. Then she used the glue gun to attach her fabric to the cardboard. I didn’t see the need since I wouldn’t be resting my back on the back side of the chair. But, what I didn’t realize is that it would hide the folds in the cardboard. Oh well, live and learn. Luckily my chair back faces a wall so no one will see it.

So, next I pulled out my spray mount, after putting a tarp down on the garage floor that extended about 4 feet in every direction from my cardboard. (Did I mention that spray mount can also travel when airborne? Be sure to cover a larger area than you will be spraying and prop up cardboard or more plastic if you are spraying near something you don’t want the spray mount to adhere to.)

I sprayed a light coating on one side of the cardboard. Then laid it on top of the fabric (Next time I will replace the fabric with the batting – having learned my lesson.) Make sure your fabric (batting) is stretched out so there are no wrinkles. Now, if you are using batting, you will want to get your fabric and lay your cardboard sandwich on top of the fabric.

Now it is time to glue the fabric to the cardboard backing. Heat up your glue gun, and run a bead of glue along one edge of your backing. Fold the fabric over the back (being careful not to burn your fingers on the hot glue like I did) and press into the glue. Carefully fold the fabric around your edges.

At the top of my chair was a heart shape, which required that I cut a few slits into the fabric so I could fold the fabric into the cardboard notch.

You are almost ready to insert your backing into your chair. Before you insert the backing, run a line of hot glue all the way around the back of the chair where the rattan meets the chair frame. Then I set my chair back in place. This is where I realized that I should have added the batting. You can see two slight horizontal lines at the top and middle where the cardboard had a fold in it. So, I hope you can learn from my mistake. Although, I really don’t think it looks too bad (does it?)

Nailhead trim time – Make her glamorous!

I pretty much repeated the same process for tracing the back (pressing my finger on the edge of the rattan area.) The front of the rattan was wider than the back. The good news is that once you have your template cut out of posterboard, you can go right to cutting the fabric and batting, instead of cutting a cardboard backer. I used two layers of batting for extra cushion. But, I could have used more.

 

Cut your fabric about an inch wider than your template on all sides. Trace and cut your 2 + layers of batting to the exact size of your template.

Now you are ready to put your fabric and batting on the chair. I laid my chair down on its back so I could work with gravity holding down the fabric and batting. Starting in a corner, gently fold the excess fabric around the batting and lay your nailhead trim on the edge of the fabric. Use your rubber mallet to hammer in the first nail into the first hole in the trim. Continue along slightly bending your trim to match the curves on your chair.

 

When you reach a corner, you will need to cut your trim. If you can’t end with a nail hole at the corner, you will want to cut your trim at a hole and add a nail or two next to the hole to finish at the corner. This will ensure that you don’t have the excess trim popping up or catching on anything. Then I cut two extra nail head bumps off my trim so that I could start with a hole again.

 

Work your way around the whole back of your chair until you have completed the nailhead trim border. I also chose to add nailhead trim along the edge of my chair below the chair cushion. Why not?! At only $1.25 per yard, it has big bang (or should I say Bling!) for little bucks!

 

Now the moment you have all been waiting for. Time to re-attach your seat cushion to the chair. Lay your cushion back in place, and locate the four mounting screw holes underneath. Use your cordless drill (highly recommended over the screwdriver) to screw in the mounting screws.

 

Then, set your chair upright and swoon over your “ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan!” Isn’t she lovely!

This concludes my Extreme Makeover of a Rattan Backed Chair. I hope you will check back soon as I show you some of our office renovation.

The next step in my extreme rattan chair makeover is the upholstery. Time to give your tushie a new cushy!



Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat:

I removed the seat from the chair before I started any of the paint stripping and painting. Removing the seat on a cushioned chair is really simple. Flip your chair over, look for four holes where the mounting screws are located (see red arrows below.)

Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat

Tools You Will Need:

Cordless Drill or Phillips head screwdriver
Flat head screwdriver
Needle-nosed pliers
Scissors
Batting
Fabric
New Foam Cushion (if your foam is in bad shape)
Sharpie Marker
Staple gun w/ staples (I used 5/16″ staples)
Hammer

Grab a screwdriver or cordless drill with a phillips head attachment and unscrew the mounting screws. Be sure to save the screws as you will need them to re-attach the seat later.

If the fabric on your cushion is in good shape and you are using a fabric that is thick enough to cover the old fabric, you can leave the seat intact. In my case, the fabric was very old and stained. Not exactly something I wanted to be sitting on….ewwww!

So, I began the demolition phase of this makeover.

Grab a flat head screwdriver and needle-nose pliers. Wiggle the screwdriver underneath the staples and then use the pliers to pull them out.

Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat
Once the fabric has been removed and all the loose staples have been pulled, take a look at your foam cushion. If it is stained, crumbling, or smelly, you will want to replace it with new foam. Luckily the foam seat was still in good condition and no stains or odors, so I kept it.
I laid my fabric on top of the seat and played with the pattern until I liked the layout on my chair. Then I took my sharpie pen and drew an outline about 3 inches out from the edge of the seat.

Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat

Next, pull out your new batting. I like my seats to be nice and cushy, so I chose two layers of batting.

 

Next, I laid out my fabric, then the two layers of batting and finally the seat. Make sure that the batting will wrap around to the underside of your seat. Then cut your batting. Usually my batting is about an inch smaller than the fabric on all sides.

Now it is time to get your staple gun and hammer. Start by pulling your fabric up and wrap it over onto the bottom of the seat. Use your staple gun to put in one staple. Hammer in the staple if it is sticking up.

Next you will pull the fabric across from your first staple and affix that side. Repeat this step as shown below:
Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat
Now you can finish stapling the sides and hammering the raised staples. Leave about an inch to two inches from the corners. Pinch the corner fabric together as shown at the left. Then neatly fold it over onto the seat and staple a few staples to secure it.
Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat

Voila! You are done with the seat. Go ahead and set it on your chair and admire your work.

Be sure to join me here as I add the back and the finishing touches!

 

Today I’ll show you the painting technique I used on the chair I stripped yesterday.

Here is a list of suggested materials:
Tarp or drop cloth
Brush
Primer
Rubber gloves
Sandpaper (Fine & Medium grits)
Spray paint (optional handle adapter to prevent hand cramps and spray on your fingers)
Dust mask
White paint
Brown acrylic paint or craft paint
Rag
Polyurethane
Floor protectors (chair glides)

Because I stripped and sanded the chair down to bare wood, I needed to prime the wood so it would accept the paint. If you don’t prime bare wood, then the paint will be absorbed into the wood and won’t leave a clean all over finished look. The primer is also a base that makes the paint stick to it easier. Primer is very good at adhering to lots of surfaces, including your skin. So, be sure to wear gloves or you may look like a reverse dalmatian for a few days.

I’ve used many different primers. Sometimes I use a spray primer and sometimes a liquid primer. Did you know that primer comes in different colors? And it can be tinted? Be sure to ask the paint department next time you are drastically changing the color of a room. They might be able to tint your primer close to the color you are painting so it cuts down on the number of coats you have to use.

For this project I used Bulls Eye water based primer that you paint on. You do not need much, we only had a big bucket left over from painting some rooms in our home.

Primer dries quickly, so work fast. It isn’t necessary to make it look perfect, just get a thin coating on all the wood surfaces and be careful to wipe off any drips.

After the primer dries (I used my box fan to speed the process,) you should lightly sand the chair to remove any burrs or drips. This also gives the primer a little scuffing so that the paint has something to grip to. Don’t sand so much that you go through the primer coat.

At this point you will need to “tent” off an area where you will be working. Spray paint will get everywhere if you let it. The good news is that usually the particles will dry in the air, but they will coat everything in the vicinity and will need to be wiped off. If you can spray outside, it will be better for your lungs, but be sure your drop cloth extends at least 4 feet out in all directions from the piece you are spraying.

Now comes the fun part! Grab your paint can in the color you have painstakingly chosen. I used Valspar Pistachio Satin finish in a spray can. I used to use Rustoleum, but it seems that my local Lowe’s has eliminated most of the Rustoleum brand spray paints and replaced them with Valspar. My suspicions tell me that it might still be the same paint but branded for Lowe’s.

I use light coats of spray paint about 8-10 inches away from the surface. The trick with spray paint is to use several light coats instead of trying to cover all at once. This will insure an even finish. You also don’t want to end or stop on the piece you are spraying. I use a smooth consistent sweep across the chair and then release the trigger after my spray has left the chair. If you stop on the chair, you will either get a shiny spot or drips where the extra paint has collected. Here is a graphic to show you how to spray your paint:

I used three light coats to cover this chair. I did sand VERY lightly between coats (using a fine grit 200 grit or higher) to make sure there were no rough spots and to add something for the next coat to adhere to. I also wipe off the chair after sanding with a damp rag. Just be sure to take your time to work up to your final color. This is the point where you may stop and say that you like the final results of your painting job. If you stop now, be sure to finish your painting job off with two coats of polyurethane.
I choose to add some more interest to my chair.
Milk Painting – Adding Depth and Interest
 
After the green spray paint layer has completely dried, I took the fine grit sandpaper (200 or higher) and gently roughed up the surface. Then I wiped off the whole chair with a damp rag and let the chair dry.
For this step I used some left over white latex trim paint we had lying around. I used a semi-gloss finish because that is what we had, but you can use any white paint you have left over. I dipped the edge of my brush into the paint and then wiped most of it off on the can. Then I lightly ran the brush over the chair in the direction that the wood grain would go. The green paint should show through your strokes. Only go over the area once, unless you really ran out of paint on your brush. If you put too much on the chair, or have areas with too much (see the left edge of the picture on the right below),  you can take a wet rag or baby wipe to clean it off and try it again.

Once the whole chair has the milk paint technique, I let her dry. Once again, this may be the point where you stop painting. But, I really had more distressing in mind for this girl.

I wanted to let some of her age show through, so I grabbed some medium grit sandpaper (100 – 150 grit) and sanded some edges down to the bare wood. Think about any place on the chair that sticks out and might be rubbed and worn on an antique.

Unfortunately for me, the bare wood on my chair was a little too peachy colored next to the pistachio color paint, and I really liked the look of this leg that was sanded and had a darker brown area showing through. So, I decided to fake the darker brown wood look.

I wiped off the chair again with a damp rag and then ran up to grab some acrylic paint out of my art supplies. I chose the Raw Umber brown and squeezed a quarter size dollop onto my palette. Then I grabbed a clean rag and wrapped it around my finger. I dabbed my rag into the paint and made sure I didn’t have any globs on the cloth. Then I lightly ran the edge of my clothed finger over the edges of the chair where I had sanded.

Uh oh, don’t peek at the fabric on my chair! That is the next step we will go over tomorrow. Plus, it wasn’t a good idea to paint with the fabric on my chair. Too many opportunities to drip or rub paint onto the seat.
Once I was done adding the brown paint, I let the chair dry. Next I took my fine grit sandpaper and sanded the whole chair lightly being careful not to sand off any paint. Wiped the chair down and let it dry.
I really liked the aged beautiful look that my chair had achieved, so I was ready to seal her with 2 coats of polyurethane. I used a water based poly and lightly sanded between coats. At this point you are probably sick of the sanding, but I am a sucker for smooth finishes. I love to caress finished wood and feel the baby softness under my fingers. Plus, this is the chair that I will spend many hours sitting in and working.
After the poly has dried, I do add floor protective legs to my chair. It protects our wood floors from damage. I’m really into protecting our wood (as you can probably guess.) Furniture glides or floor protectors are super easy to add. They go on just like nailing a nail. Be sure you have your glide centered on the leg and that you aren’t nailing it into any metal. Then gently tap it into the leg of your chair.

Extreme Makeover for a Wooden Rattan Backed Chair

This week I finally got around to giving my $5 yard sale chair a face-lift. My poor chair was covered in silver paint and a horribly stained green velvet seat. I won’t even mention the glass beads that were epoxied on her. Luckily, I rescued her and offered her a new life as my desk chair.

The makeover was a bit more involved than I initially anticipated, but the results were well worth the work. Because there were different procedures for each step, I will break this transformation into a few posts. Care to see the transformation? Then read on…

1. Takin’ It All Off! aka paint stripping

Normally if furniture is painted and the paint is in good condition, (the paint is well adhered to the furniture and CAN’T be scratched off with a fingernail) I leave it! If it was in good shape, I would scuff up the surface with some sandpaper and maybe use primer if I’m not sure why type of paint was used. But, for this baby, I could scratch the paint off easily with my fingernails.

My preferred paint stripper has been the less toxic Citri-strip. Purchase it in your local hardware store. There are a few other brands that make these less-toxic products. So, feel free to substitute. (More tips on paint stripping at CentsationalGirl.com.)

Materials:

– Rubber gloves (I said less-toxic, you still need to protect your skin)
– Face mask (if you aren’t working in a well ventilated area)
– Small wire brush for detail work
– Multi-edge scraper (also called caulk removal tool)
– Sandpaper or sanding block
– Brillo pad or steel wool
– Plastic throw-away tarp (Dollar store plastic table covers work great for this!)
– Bucket with a little dish soap, water and a sponge for clean up

Instructions:

Coat the areas that you want to strip with the foamy Citri-Strip spray and let it sit for 30 minutes. As soon as the paint is bubbled up, you can start to scrape and strip. This is such a satisfying step as you easily clear away the abusive paint.

The scraper tool I have works well for about 90% of the surfaces on the chair. For the other 10% you’ll need to use your small wire brush. You may need to re-coat any areas that won’t come off easily with the Citri-strip.

Next you need to wash off the chemicals left on the chair. Use the soap, water and sponge to wash the chair. Let your chair dry. (I sped up this process by aiming a fan at the chair.)

Now it is time to smooth your chair. Use the Brillo pad to get any small spots left and to prep for sanding. Then you can take your sandpaper and/or sanding block and make that chair as smooth as a baby’s bottom! The wood on this old chair was so beautiful with age that I almost grabbed the polyurethane and applied two coats. But, I had bigger plans for this chair. You will notice that I left the paint on the rattan back of the chair. This will all be covered up by the upholstery. I hope you will stick with me for the next step in this chair makeover.

Thank you for visiting PrettyHandyGirl.com. This blog is for anyone who wishes they were handy and could make their own repairs, upgrades or become a true DIY-er at home.

I have always enjoyed beautifying things, especially my home. My idea of a relaxing day is working in my garage (aka workshop) and building something. The smell of freshly cut wood tends to ease away the tension of the week. Also being able to have the gratification of completing something tangible really makes my day! (Maybe this is because it is so hard to complete a task when you have children un-doing your work behind you.)

The other days of my week are spent entertaining my two little charges (two little energizer boys); housekeeping; and running my other two businesses. A graphic design/web design/illustration business and a web-based baby carrier business I started when my children were babies to sell comfortable baby carriers to caregivers.

I hope this blog will inspire you to try something on your own. My mantra is that if someone can do it, then there is a 95% chance that I can do it too! As a woman, I refuse to bow to the stereotypes that women aren’t handy. From a young age, my father and mother taught me and my two sisters that we could do anything a man could do (and sometimes better!)

Please join me on my DIY journey as I show you some of the accomplishments and pitfalls of doing it yourself!

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