Eight Dollar chairs… Part Deux

The other day, I made my first official by-the-yard fabric purchase. I went to Joann Fabrics in search of upholstery material to recover the seat cushions for our new dining chairs (see how I refinished the frames here). I was a little overwhelmed at first as I stood at the entrance and took in the endless fabric choices lining the walls and floor. After walking around a bit, I located the upholstery fabric section which is where I first laid eyes on this glorious sight…


It’s called Oslo Spice. And I absolutely fell in love. Hook, line, sinker. It’s modern, quirky, with just the right balance of bright and neutral colors. The small pops of white would tie in perfectly with my freshly painted chair frames, but it wasn’t too much white to where I would be worried about constant stains. Then, I looked at the price (cue the womp-womp)… $44.99/yard. And I would need 2 yards. Even with the 40% off coupon I had, that was still about 27 bucks a yard for a grand total of $54 plus tax for 2 yards of fabric. Figures that I would become enamored of fabric that I would never justify paying for. I mean, these are $8 chairs.

So, I walked around Joann in search of another option. To no avail. I just kept coming back to my birdie fabric and staring at it in despair. On a whim, I decided to check my phone to see if I could find the same fabric cheaper online. Which is when I found this…


$14/yard????!!!!!!! Shut the front door. So, I tracked down a sales associate and asked if they offer price-matching. And she said (wait for it)… YES!!! Oh, happy day!! I showed her the online listing and she happily cut me 2 yards of my beloved fabric and assigned it the total price of $28 buckaroos. Heck. Yeah. I figure it never hurts to ask, and this time it was so completely worth it.

So, I headed home in a haze of bliss with my sexy fabric in tow.

Now, it was time to recover. I think the trickiest part was determining which part of the fabric to center on the seat. I just played around with it until I liked it, then cut the fabric leaving a few inches of excess material for stapling.


Now for the fun part. I grabbed our staple gun and started in the middle of the top, stapled, then pulled the fabric taut and stapled the same spot on the opposite side on the bottom.


I turned over the cushion to be sure the pattern was centered. Then, I did the same thing with the left and right sides… one staple in the middle, then double-checking the front for centeredness.


Then, I just worked from the middle staple out until I reached the corner, stapling the top, then the opposite spot on the bottom, pulling tightly each time. Then, I repeated this on the left and right sides. The corners took a little experimentation. I just tugged, folded, and stapled until I had a nice smooth result. When I was finished, it looked like this…


I trimmed the excess, flipped it over and admired my cushion….



Then, I moved onto the other 5 cushions (which took about a week to crank out… Alas, I have a toddler.). When I was done, I took them into the backyard, laid them on an old sheet and Scotch-Garded them (again, toddler).

Aaaannnd drumroll please!! Here is the final result….

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I mean, how darn cute are they?? Seriously!! And a little “before” action for comparison…


And here’s a “before” of our dining area…


And here it is now….


We’re absolutely LOVING it. The chairs really perk up the area and make it feel more fun and casual. And I’m not gonna lie. I’ve totally made extra trips past the table just to smile at it. All that hard work was completely worth it. As you can see, we decided to only use 4 of the chairs at the table (five looked kind of busy). I stuck a leather chair at the head of the table for some contrast, and while I like it, I’m playing with the idea of replacing it with something along these lines….


…from World Market (And Target recently).  Or maybe this from Ikea…. (Which they also have in green…hmmm…)…


And check this out….


That’s a lily stalk from the flowers that Joey brought home in this post. All of his floral siblings went to the giant flowermart in the sky weeks ago, yet this guy is still truckin’ THREE WEEKS later. Yeah. I’ll have what he’s having.

Anyhoo, as for the other two chairs, we stuck them under the sofa table for the time being….


I’m not sure I’m totally digging them there yet. It just seems like a bunch of chairs in one small area to me between these two, the dining chairs and barstools, but we’ll live with them there for a while before making a final decision. I would actually love to see some kind of nifty upholstered (Or woven?) bench under this table one day. I guess we’ll see what [shopping] dreams may come!

So, here’s an approximate cost breakdown for these chairs:

6 chairs- $48
Oops! spray paint- $10
White paint- already owned
Primer- already owned
Fabric- $30 (estimated with tax)
Wood filler- already owned
Sandpaper- already owned
Shellac primer (for the two repainted chairs) – $14

Total- $102 (Or ~$17 per chair)

Not too shabby for six one-of-a kind chairs! Plus, once we sell our leather chairs, we’ll likely make this back plus some (which will then go into the next project… heehee!). Love you, Craigslist. Kisses!

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No-sew roller shades… Sort of.

Projects involving fabric have never been my strong suit. My lone fabric success story involves a recovered ottoman, which was really more about wielding a staple gun than actual “fabric work”. Knowing this, I should have probably known better than to totally wing it on DIYing fabric roller shades. But I did it anyways. So, here’s a little “what not to do” tutorial….

Ive mentioned before that our front room pulls double-duty. We use it for both an office and a guest room, and so far it’s been working out great. With one exception…


Privacy for our guests.

My idea for a solution to this issue was to hang roller shades above the glass on the inside of the french doors. This way, when they’re retracted, you can’t see them from the front, but they’ll still provide privacy for our guests when needed.

So with this plan in mind, I went to Home Depot and had two inexpensive vinyl roller shades cut down to size. They were just under 9 bucks a piece including the brackets which were sold separately.

My first idea to jazz them up was to stencil a pattern onto them, but after doing a test stencil on a scrap piece of vinyl (from when the shade was cut to size), I decided that even a pretty stencil job couldn’t hide the cheapness of the vinyl.


Then, I remembered that I had leftover fabric from an extra set of Ikea curtains that matched the set in the front room. Perfect! I thought about adhering the fabric to the existing shade, but decided that since I wanted the fabric to be visible on both sides, my finished product would probably be too heavy to work properly. Thus, a fabric replacement shade would be my mission.

I started by folding my fabric in half since I wanted my shades to be double-sided. I ironed the fold to create a crisp edge (To clarify: I turned the fabric good-side-out before ironing. I just forgot to snap a pic.).


Then, I laid my roller shade on top.


My roller shade was 18″ wide, and I wanted to cut my folded material an inch wider to allow excess material to fold under to create a clean edge (which would then be sealed with my iron-on hem tape). So, I laid my ruler down on the shade with one inch hanging over and slid the ruler up the shade as I cut with my scissors trailing behind (Which left an inch of excess material all the way up). Once I got to the top, I mimicked the length of the shade.


Next, I used my finished panel as a template to cut a second panel.

Down the long side of unfinished fabric, I folded under an inch on either side of the fold, measuring as I went to be sure my final shade width was 18″ all the way down. Then, I ironed the folded-under edges. It looked like this…


I used iron-on hem tape to seal the edges together down the long side of the fabric.


Next, I hot glued the plastic insert (which goes at the bottom of the roller shade to give it some weight), between the bottom seams of my fabric.

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I cut the vinyl shade off of the roller, and hot glued the top of the fabric to the roller.

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With my shade complete, I mounted my brackets on the inside of the door and hung it up. I tugged on the bottom of the shade to get it to retract.

And nothing happened.

This is when I realized I had glued the fabric onto the roller in the wrong direction, rendering the retraction mechanism useless. So, I groaned loudly while taking down the shade, and gently ripped the fabric off of the roller. I turned the roller the other way, and this time I taped the fabric on with electrical tape (it was all we had) to make sure the shade worked before I adhered it more permanently.


I rehung the shade and tugged. And the shade came right off the roller. Ugh. Tape = Fail. So, I took down the roller again and this time, hot glued AND taped the shade on in the correct orientation. I rehung it yet again, tugged, and it finally retracted. But only this far ….


Doh! Nothing I did made it raise up any higher. I thought maybe it was the weight or bulk of the fabric (…which really wasn’t bad, but still…).

At this point, I’d already finished the second fabric panel but hadn’t yet opened the vinyl shade to attach it. So, I gave up and decided to hang the remaining vinyl shade on the brackets. I figured I would just buy another vinyl shade to replace the one I’d destroyed until a better plan came to fruition. I placed the vinyl shade on the brackets, tugged to retract it. And it went up this high….


Aaaaaaaaand nothing I did made it raise up any higher. That’s when it hit me…


Then, I laughed. Because I wanted to cry. So, (ahem!) the first step in this project should definitely be Test Roller Shade To Make Sure It Works Before Spending An Exorbitant Amount Of Time Reinventing The Wheel. Sheesh.

So, there I sat. On our couch. Staring at my one completed shade which I had rehung on the French doors. Slapping my forehead. Searching my mind for a solution to our privacy dilemma since we were having guests in a few days. And I came to the decision that until a better solution is found, I would complete the second shade and keep them both rolled up here….


In my cabinet of misfit toys (um, accessories). And just manually hang them on the brackets whenever guests stay over. Just ignore the fact that they should retract. Pretend the mechanism didn’t exist at all. I mean, it really didn’t anyways. And from the front they actually look pretty cute. See??




Here’s a back view…


A little loosey goosey for my taste but not totally bad.  And they do their job as far as providing privacy.

So, that’s the story. I think maybe if I’d purchased heavy-duty roller shades instead of the cheapos this project might have worked. And if I had it to do over again, I would probably use a heavier fabric, and adhere the insides of the fabric together to prevent the shade from becoming bunchy when rolled up. I also would (*cough, cough*) do a little research. But honestly, as far as “totally winged it” projects go, it could have been worse. I still ended up with “privacy panels” (Yes. That’s what we’ll call them.). I guess, you live, you learn.

Oh, fabric. (sigh!) One day…