Yesterday I was talking to a friend at work about up-cycling.  He can remain nameless because I would never want to get him in trouble but he was complaining about the amount of ‘stuff’ his housemate’s girlfriend leaves in the house.  You know the sort of stuff – free or cheap items obtained via freecycle, family members, house clearances…all the things people want to be rid of but that when a magpie like me spies all we can see is the item’s potential.

Potential – potential to be something beautiful, unique and definitely within budget for the home we aspire to have but cannot afford.  Years of investment in the work lottery syndicate has so far proved fruitless so I have had to channel my energies elsewhere.

This is when I told him that I did actually up-cycle.  It’s been a long time in the planning – I have had these chairs stored in the shed at the back of the garden for close to 8 years – but inspiration finally struck (ahem, thanks again Pinterest!) and last autumn I made my beautiful chairs.

Beautiful Chairs

The chairs were old, weathered and extremely dirty.  But they had a nice shape and I knew that something could be done with them.  So I gave them a good clean, thanked my lucky stars that the varnish had long worn away so I was saved the job of sanding them, and decided where to place my lace.  The lace – that was probably the hardest part.  It took a few weeks of darting into every charity shop I passed to see if they had old lace curtains, and if they did, was the lace suitably thick and not too ‘old lady’ for my project.  In the end I found a curtain, confused the old man at the till with my clear lack of concern that it did not have a partner and that the ‘hanging’ section was ripped to shreds, paid my pound and hurried home to complete my project.

I love projects and I love beautiful things but I hate anything fiddly.  The Tidiest Man Alive despairs at my constant mess and disarray and I am not going to lie, I did get paint in my hair (a lovely Cruella style streak across the side) but this project was reassuringly simple.  Lace is laid across the seat of the chair (or, wherever you fancy putting it) and any old masking tape will do to stick the bits from the edges underneath.  Don’t worry about being too tidy or finickity, you’ll paint over the ugly bits later! Sweet.  My only recommendation is to try and get the lace as tight as possible across any curves that have been pre-cut by the seat manufacturer to make their wooden chair more bum-friendly.

 Step 1

Next, the fun part – SPRAY! I am beginning a love affair with cans of spray paint.  My only wish is that each can was $10 like it seems to be in the US, £15 a can  just doesn’t seem fair.  Be sure to get an even coverage over your lace and cover the whole area to ensure you get a nicely scalloped edge.  The further across your chair that you spray, the easier it is to paint the finished seat neatly.  We like easy.  Spray evenly but make sure you don’t spray too much, you don’t want any drips on those bum-friendly sections.

And now…wait.  Wait for the spray paint to dry before being tempted to see what it looks like.  Wait until you think you can wait no longer, then wait a bit more.  And don’t try to re-spray once you’re done, because I am fairly certain less is more in this situation.  When you really can’t wait any longer, carefully untape the lace and remove.  Et voilà!  You  have yourself a fancy seat ready for the final touches.

Step 2

The final touches for me was painting the rest of the chair white.  I used Homebase’s Just One Coat Soft White – anyone visiting my home now will see this everywhere. It took two coats because of the tricky bars on the back (again with the patience for the drying!! Rubbish) but I think that the finished product was worth it.

IMG_2462

I am going to start work on the table now and I have another two chairs that will complete the dining area of the little flat’s living space.  I think I may go for a bright colour on the other chairs – what do you think?

Table and Chairs

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