Junk in the Trunk: The Plight of the Craig’s List Chair.

July 16, 2012

Seriously. This piece of junk was in my trunk about 5 days ago, on its way home to a new life. I found this adorable chair on Craigslist for next to nothing, but, as many things from CL are,  was in need of a lot of love.

My skill level on upcycling furniture is still a work in progress, but my eye is definitely getting better. A lot of times, I will come home with a piece of “junk” and my husband will give me the obligatory “Yeeeeaaah…that’s…nice?” 9 times out of 10, it will end up being a piece of junk covered in white spray paint,and inevitable will end up in the trash. But sometimes, I have good ideas and actually pull them off. Either way, lesson learned that everything, even things that look like they are worth nothing, have some value. Like this chair. When I bought it, it was covered in a blackish brown veneer that was chipped along the front of the chair back. (Does that make sense? “Front of the chair back”?) The seat cushion was literally dustified when I pulled the DISGUSTING maroon fabric off of it. (And I mean GAH-ROSS!)

Instead of talking your ear off, I’ll just show you what the process was like:

What’s funny is that from the picture on Craig’s List that the original owner posted, the crack in the veneer looked like an interesting design. I thought it was original stained this way, which was what had caught my eye in the first place. When I got to the owner’s house, I was too much of a wuss to renege on the purchase, so I just bought it and smiled and braced myself for what would be HOURS of sanding.

Luckily, the veneer on the front of the back of the chair (again…is that the best way to phrase that?!) easily peeled off, shaving at least 30 mins of sanding time off of this project.

This was the nasty condition of the seat before I replaced it. Ugh. The fabric underneath this was even worse. I decided to spare you the visual image. You’re welcome.

I removed the seat and was relieved to find that the chair was in excellent structural order. I was not prepared to make another trip to the hardware store. Next, I began what would end up being a 4 HOUR SANDING ORDEAL. A real treat.

Eventually, I bring the chair back to its natural state. Or at least as close to it as possible. Chairs take a lot longer to sand because of all the different surface levels. I decided to give myself a break on the wood around the perimeter of the seat on top of the chair, since it would be covered by the seat itself.

This is my favorite part. I LOVE staining wood. If you like instant results, then you should look into finding a career path that involves staining furniture. I chose a natural stain for this chair because I wanted to brighten it up.

Aaaah. This was truly cathartic. I put about two coats of this stain on the bones of the chair, and let it cure over night.

After taking a much needed break, the next day I tackled the seat of the chair. I bought this poly-fil foam seat cushion insert. You can find these at Michael’s or any fabric store usually.

I found this awesome Moroccan Lattice fabric at Hobby Lobby. Gah, I love Hobby Lobby. They don’t have the BEST fabric selections, but every so often, they will surprise me with gems like this. It kind of looked a little nautical to me, too. This part is pretty simple. Just cut the fabric, pull it around the seat and staple with a heavy duty stable gun. (I’ve seen chairs that used regular staples or nails instead, so if you are in a pinch, give those a shot!)

The corners are the trickiest part of recovering anything, especially the LAST corner of the project. Just remember to wrap it the way you would a Christmas gift, making sure the fabric is as taut as possible on each edge. This is soooo much easier with two people, but, it can be done solo, too.

After you staple all of the fabric down, turn it over and give it a good inspection. I always end up pulling some staples out and redoing them.

After I attached the freshly recovered seat, I decided the chair still needed a little something. I have some spare sample paint (which, by the way, is the best for crafts – instead of buying them a gallon at a time, just buy the $3 sample sizes instead. They last forever!) that I decided to use on the back of the chair to match the white in the fabric…

The final product!

I love the way the red and the natural wood play against each other…

…and the white back was a good choice, too. I am loving this chair so much!

The ultimate question is, where should I put it??? I tested it out in my bedroom next to my dresser, but I might try a few other places. I love adding bright details to small pieces of furniture because they are super mobile and add a little something to any room they are in.

What do you think?


7 thoughts on “Junk in the Trunk: The Plight of the Craig’s List Chair.

  1. Tapia

    Another great outcome, Katy! I love this chair…and I wish you lived in AK! Are you sanding all this stuff by hand? That’s what gives me the biggest pause when it comes to projects like this:/

    1. thecleverbunny

      Tapia! My sweet <3
      The answer would be NO! I absolutely used an electric sander for about 85 percent of this chair. Luckily, I married a guy who owned one or else I wouldn't do half the crafty things I do =) I think you can find a cheaper one for like $65. It is totally worth the investment. This would have taken me 6 o 7 hours if done by hand. Sanding is always the worst part, personally, but is usually worth the trouble in the end. Wish I lived there, too! I see many crafts in our future when we visit =) Happy one year anniversary, by the way! Can't believe it has already been that long…

  2. Susan Schulz

    I love it! I wish we had done some DIY projects together when we were steps apart… why didn’t we? we would make some beautiful DIY babies together.. i know it!

    1. thecleverbunny

      We will make that happen, hopefully when I come to visit you =) You and i pulled a lot of awesome things off when we lived next door, including a few amazing parties that I believe are still in the books +
      =) Miss you and love you and can’t wait to see in 1WEEK!!!!!

  3. Laura

    I’m so impressed with your attention to detail and doing things “the right way”! I would have painted that strip of exposed wood from the busted veneer a bright color, changed the seat and called it a day. 4 hours of sanding & you love to stain!?!? I hate them both with a fiery passion that gets me worked up just thinking about it.

    1. thecleverbunny

      Haha! Once again, our strengths and weaknesses work in tandem. I can only imagine how wonderful a project we did together would turn out. I LOVE staining. I abhor, loathe, HATE sanding, but it is the nature of the beast when redoing a piece of wood. Believe me, I wish I could skip that part, but it is one of the few areas in life that I have a characteristic resembling perfectionism. I hope to get to collaborate with you on something someday, and I should say “again” because I know we made some pretty awesome stuff when we were little =)

  4. Pingback: The Recovered Recovered Chair. |

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