Upcycling charity shop dining chairs

upcycling from this to thisAs I’ve said a few times here on my blog, I’ve just bought a house, I know, I know I’ve hardly mentioned it in my last few posts so incase you’ve missed it (I don’t know how you could’ve!) back in Feb this year I entered into a 30 year legally binding contract to buy a fabulous two bed, two bath house in my home island of Guernsey.

Now whilst actually buying the house is expensive enough, you then have to furnish it too and bearing in mind I’ve been living with my dear old mum since I came back from uni this basically meant refurbishing an entire house, again requiring a lot of monies.

My boyfriend and I are super lucky to have some amazing family and friends who have donated a load of stuff (thank you!) and one of the things we got given by my boyfriends grand parents was a dining table and chairs. Structurally there was nothing wrong with the table or any of the four chairs but unfortunately the general look of both didn’t really go with the rest of the decor in the lounge so I decided to see what upcycling them might look like.

If you’re considering starting an upcycling project then Pinterest and YouTube are your best friends. They have an amazing array of pics and videos to help get your creative juices flowing no matter what you’re looking to do.

I didn’t want to just paint the dining table but also reupholster the chairs, something my bf thought I was totally crazy for doing but I was determined to prove him wrong! Unfortunately all of the tutorials I watched on YouTube didn’t really show how to reupholster dining chairs like those we had so I set about instead getting some new (old) chairs to re-cover instead and this is where our local charity shops came in. For anyone reading this who lives in Guernsey the GO charity shop on The Bridge has a huge amount of tables and chairs in their basement and it was here that I picked up four chairs with the correct bases I was looking for for an absolute steal of £20 for the four!

upcycling chair - original chairThe chairs were pretty solid but as with most charity shop items smelled a little musty. As per my tutorials watched on YouTube, I removed the seat covers from the base which was easy to do as you can see below there were little twisty bits on the wood holding the seat and wood together. As these were pretty ancient I couldn’t actually get the old fabric off, so whilst I worked on painting the wood I covered the seats in Febreze and left them out in the sunshine to absorb the febreezy goodness.

upcycling the underneath of the chair

upcycling seat removalAs you can see from the photo above I made sure to put dust sheets and plenty of cardboard down as this can get pretty messy!

So now onto the fun part – painting!

I did a fair bit of research before starting this upcycling project and settled on using Annie Sloan chalk paint in the colour Old White, mainly because I’m lazy and the fab thing about chalk paint is that you don’t have to prep the surface before you paint it.

A word of advice here is that although you don’t have to prep the surfaces I would at the very least clean the wood with a damp cloth, especially if you’ve bought charity shop chairs because you don’t know how long they’ve been there and how dirty they actually are! I should say here that there are plenty of other chalk paint brands out there but I’d heard great things about Annie Sloan and also knew there was a local stockist here on an island where the options are fairly limited so I stuck with the one I thought was the best and easiest to get hold of. Brush wise I just used bog standard paint brushes from B&Q instead of the Annie Sloan ones, and whilst I think these did an ok job I think that using the proper brushes might have given a better finish.

upcycling first coat paintThis photo was taken after one coat of paint, and I don’t think the coverage is too bad if you were going for that shabby chic look, however I wanted a solid white finish so did 2-3 layers in the end which took about two days to do over the weekend in between wandering off and dancing around to Kiss FM.

Once the wood was painted, it was time for the part I’d really been waiting for – upholstering the seats. I had ordered some fabric off Ebay which had a sort of vintage postmark design to it for about £15 – bargain, especially when you consider I accidentally bought enough fabric to cover about 10 chairs! Whoopsie. So yes be sure to measure up your seats properly – this means taking the actual measurements of the seat and adding on about 3-5cm to each side to allow for covering the sides of the seat.

I’m so sorry but I was lost in a world of staple gun loving when I did the cushions that I totally forgot to take any photos of this part but safe to say if I can do it anyone can. One more tip here is to not be afraid to use brutal force, staple guns are easy to use but do require substantial force to actually ‘pull the trigger’.

Once I’d recovered all four of the seats it was simply a case of putting them back into the bases and re-twisting the twisty bits on the bottom to keep them in place – voila!

upcycling finished

upcycling finished 2So that’s it, the finished chairs! Even if I do say so myself I was so pleased with the results and was super proud of myself for actually finishing what I’d started out to do and although I haven’t yet undertaken any other upcycling projects I know this won’t be my last.

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One Response to Upcycling charity shop dining chairs

  1. Annie says:

    I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again – these are just amazing! So so impressed – can’t wait to read about more up cycling you’re carrying out for more tips 🙂
    a xx

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