Dining Suite Makeover – Part 1 The Chairs

This post has been a really long time coming.  If you’ve been coming here for a while, you’ll remember that about a year ago I was given a table – it was the same weekend where I acquired two other tables.  

After much deliberation and hard work, I’m finally ready to show you the finished chairs – the table makeover will be coming soon.

These chairs were in pretty bad shape – the foam on the chairs had almost disappeared so they were very uncomfortable, and the cover was a mess. The brown wood also just didn’t work for our space which is all about being light and bright and airy.

The only answer was to paint them.  Now, I had some reservations – having just painted my lounge chairs, I wanted to experiment with paint to get the absolute best result and the hardest wearing finish, which is why I waited so long.  I’ve painted a few other pieces in the meantime, including this cabinet, to test out which paint would work best for this project.

The answer was actually really simple – Fusion Mineral Paint – in my opinion it’s the only way to go when painting furniture.  I know that some of you love chalk paint and that’s fine, for me Fusion works the best.  I’ll report back over time and let you know how it’s wearing.

Let’s get started!

The Frames

It was a no brainer that the frames would be painted but I couldn’t decide on the colour.  In the end I went with Fusion Mineral Paint Heirloom which is a beautiful soft blue.  I had used this colour for the quilt cabinet so I knew exactly what to expect.  

Preparation

The first thing I did was remove the seats which was just four screws.  Then I took them outside gave them a good clean.  They were quite greasy so I washed them with hot soapy water and left them to dry in the sun. Here they are lined up sunbathing.

When they were dry, I took to them with sandpaper.  I only gave them a light sand to rough up the surface so the paint would adhere.

The spindles were a bit more difficult and they were also in rough shape so they needed a bit more attention.

Once I’d finished sanding, I gave them all another good clean to remove any sanding dust.

Painting

I applied a good first coat of Fusion Mineral Paint in Heirloom to the chairs with a brush.

I actually turned the chairs upside down and painted the bottoms first.  

Once that was touch dry, I turned them over and painted the top parts. I left the paint to dry for an hour, then I lightly sanded the chairs.  I then applied the second coat.

Protection

I was worried about the painting chipping on these chairs so I decided to apply some Fusion Tough Coat. I debated with myself a lot before deciding whether to use a Matte or Gloss finish. In the end, I decided that a gloss finish would work best for the application. Dining chairs get a lot of wear and they need to be cleaned regularly so I thought that the gloss finish would be better for cleaning. It actually turned out to be just right. It's not a high gloss finish, just a nice soft finish that makes everything look great.

This is a really interesting product – I applied it with a damp cloth.  I only applied one coat and I already regret that I didn’t take the time to apply another one.  I may still do that. 

I learned more about applying this as I did the table so I’ll share those tips when I post about that.  For now, just know that you should wear gloves while applying this product.  You can see how much of it got on my hands –it took ages to get that off!

Curing Time

It takes about 21 days for paint to cure to as hard as it will get.  I didn’t observe this and I regretted it as the first time these chairs were used the paint did chip, just a little.  I learned my lesson – I hope you learn from my mistake as well – wait 21 days!

Upholstering the Seats

Fabric

I wanted a fabric that was light and bright and, to be honest, it was love at first sight when I saw this fabric! I’ve had it for so long that it’s now out of stock but you are interested in seeing the other fabrics in this range you can see them here.

Over the last few yearsI’ve completed many upholstery projects in my home with this velvet and I’m absolutely amazed at how well it wears and how stain resistant it is – kind of essential seeing as I CHOSE WHITE!!!

Aren't these birds just amazing - I just love all the colours in this fabric.

Foam

As I said, the foam on these chairs was almost non-existent. I wanted to make them really comfortable so instead of replacing the foam with the same thickness (about 2cm), I went really big – I chose the firmest foam I could find at about 5cm thickness. This changed the seats to look quite different.

After removing the old covers and foam, I took one of the base boards to the foam company and they cut the pieces to size.

Covering the Seats

I placed the foam on top of some batting and then the wooden base on top of that.

I pulled the batting up and stapled it in place, paying special attention to the corners to ensure I didn’t get any bulk. After stapling it, I trimmed off any excess so that it was lying as flat as possible.

Before I applied the fabric, I marked the centre of each piece of fabric as well as the centre of the wooden base.  I matched the and placed my first staple at that point. I also double checked that no birds were facing the wrong way.

Then I placed a staple in the centre of each side of the seat, keeping the tension quite tight but not pulling the fabric so hard that it distorted the pattern.

When I was happy with that, I continued to staple around the sides.  When I got to the corners, I folded them in nicely and stapled them too. I trimmed as I went to remove any bulk.

Next, I trimmed everything to make it sit nice and flat, then I covered the bottom with some fabric to make it look neat.

Last, I screwed the seats of the chairs back onto the frames.

I am so happy with how these chairs turned out.  I love the fabric and I love how the paint goes so well with it.  I can’t wait to show you my table – it’s coming up soon.

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May 21, 2022