How to Reupholster Dining Room Chairs

I had the pleasure of meeting Ethan from One Project Closer in real life last summer at the Shaw/HGTV Home Design Challenge. Ethan was a partner in the winning team. The team at One Project Closer shares crafts and DIY tutorials and reviews. Today he’s here to introduce you to One Project Closer with an easy way to update chairs.

This is a guest post by Ethan from One Project Closer.

Reupholstering chairs and cushions may sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few tools and some DIY spirit, you can give old seat cushions new life. My wife and her mother recovered six dining room chairs, and I was able to take pictures of the whole process. Read on to learn how you can conceal ugly stains and worn fabric on your own chairs.

Reupholstering Chairs

Reupholstering six chairs only took a few hours and it wasn’t very expensive at all. The cost is almost entirely the upholstery fabric so just wait until Joanne’s has a sale or you find a coupon. Here are the necessary tools and materials you’ll need before starting.

  • Heavy-duty stapler
  • 1/2″ staples
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Upholstery fabric

Most seat cushions are held in place with a few (usually hidden) screws. Flip your chair upside-down and remove the screws. We found one in each corner.

We didn’t bother to remove the existing fabric because there’s really no need. You can just cover right over it.

My wife bought a fun zebra print upholstery fabric to give our dining room a fresh, new look. No matter what pattern you chose, just make sure it’s upholstery fabric because it’s more durable. Otherwise, your new seats won’t last very long.

Place the seat cushion upside-down on the upholstery fabric, and measure out the necessary dimensions. Add about three inches to each side so that the fabric will be long enough to wrap underneath the cushion. Remember, it’s better to have too much than too little. You can always cut any excess later. We oriented the zebra strips across the seat cushion. If your fabric has a pattern, make sure you keep it consistent with the other cushions.

We used a heavy-duty staple to staple the fabric to the bottom of the cushion. Starting on the front side, put staples every couple of inches. Then, on the opposite site (the back) pull the fabric tight (but not too tight) and staple that side. Repeat these steps with the other two sides, and leave the corners open for now.

As you’re stapling, the goal is to smooth away wrinkles, and the corners are the most difficult. To make the turn, we used overlapping pleats. Start on one side, make a small pleat and then continue in a likewise fashion through the entire corner. Staple the heck out of the corners!

After everything is stapled and you’re happy with how the cushion looks, trim away any excess fabric.

Once we had completed all six cushions, we sprayed ’em with ScotchGuard to better prevent any future stains. This was an important step because we have two young girls ages 1 and 3, and they always seem to spill or drop food. As you’re screwing the cushions back on, don’t over-tighten the screws or the wood may strip.

Now it’s time to enjoy the “new” chairs!

One Project Closer is a website where Fred, Kim, Jocie, and I share how-to projects, tool reviews, coupons for home improvement centers, and crafty projects. We hope you’ll stop by OPC for great resources like building a shed or making merlot cupcakes. We also provide the most up-to-date list of coupons for home improvement stores like this Lowe’s coupon page. Stop by and say hello! Join the DIY party.

Distressed Vintage-Looking Alphabet Blocks by ThistleWood Farms

I am so excited to have Karianne from 

visiting today. You may know her recently as one of the hostesses from the fun “Imagine the Possibilities 2012 Challenge” and her beautiful cottage bathroom makeover {it’s Pinterest Popular recently!}, a finalist in the WhisperWood Cottage First Project of 2012 Contest and a beautiful inspiration (see the bathroom reveal here). I love her style and she’s very sweet too…so if you’re not friends, hop over and introduce yourself.

Today, Kari is sharing a super cute tutorial for Distressed Vintage-Looking Alphabet Blocks. I love these. Here she is:

Project Details:

  • Scraps of left over wood free
  • Sample paint left over from projects free
  • Hot glue gun free
  • Scrabble tiles $1.00 at yard sale
  • Chip board letters from Hobby Lobby $1.99
  • Little bits of worn chippy typography for the hallway priceless

Step 1: Go to your workroom/garage/craft room and find the wood left over from projects. I used pieces of molding from other projects and scraps of wood that were just piled in the workshop.

Step 2: Cut wood into squares or rectangles or perhaps an octagon or two if you are feeling especially adventurous.

These blocks are 2″x 2″ and 3″x 5″ and 3 1/4″x 2 1/4″ and 5 1/4″ x 4 1/4.”

Step 3: Paint the leftover wood.

Leftover paint is the best. I used SW 7045 Intellectual Grey, SW 7015 Repose Grey and SW 7046 Anonymous. These were the sample cans I used to test out colors in my dining room. Yep. Leftover wall paint at its finest.

Step 4: Distress. Distress as much or as little as you like. You can see….I like a lot. I was going for the “wood left out over winter in the rain look.”

Step 5: Paint your alphabet.

I bought these chip board letters at Hobby Lobby (for 50% off in the scrapbooking section) in a variety of sizes and fonts.

And I painted them using the same leftover paint.

On my dining room table.

On what used to be my dining room curtains…..

…but that’s a post for another day.

Step 6: Hot glue your letters to your painted and distressed wood.

Or you can hot glue them to your really, really painted and distressed wood.

You can also glue scrabble tiles to the wood to mix it up a little.

That’s it.

Here are the letters in my PB knock-off/used to be an advent calendar/typography holder.

I love this project.

It met my requirements.

Easy. Check.

Cheap. Check.

Good use of my dining room curtains. Check. 🙂

Thanks for joining me on my journey through the alphabet. If you want to hear a funny story about this project, stop by my blog….thistlewood farm.

And lastly, a big shout out to Roeshel for letting me post about my little bits of chippy, painted typography.

She is a true rockstar and diy diva.

Kitchen Makeover Part 2 by Christy at 11 Magnolia Lane

Hi there, everyone–it’s Christy from 11 Magnolia Lane (again!). I’m laughing as I write this, because I know that if you’ve seen part 1 of my kitchen reveal here on the DIY Showoff or on 11 Magnolia Lane, then probably not more than a few days or weeks have passed–and now I’m changing it again! I let Roeshel know that it was a work in progress, and she graciously invited me to show the updates I’ve made (thanks, Roeshel!).I know I’m not the only one constantly tweaking and updating things in my decor, and although I was thrilled with how my kitchen cabinets turned out, I didn’t like the paint color I put on the walls. I also wanted to tear down my tile backsplash and update my range hood. I lived with it for about three months, but Thanksgiving was drawing nearer, and I was hosting the holiday this year, so I had motivation to proceed quickly.
Here’s what I started out with when we bought the house in June (it’s more of a “during” than a “before” but you get the idea!):
Here’s my first reveal, in August:
  Now, here’s reveal number two, after painting the walls, painting the tile backsplash, spray painting the exhaust hood with stainless steel paint, and adding window treatments (made with canvas drop cloths):
I normally choose lighter paint colors, but the Old Prairie by Benjamin Moore that I used first had some green undertones that just didn’t work with my White Dove cabinets. After trying three different paint samples on the wall for a few days (BM’s Camouflage, BM’s London Fog, and BM’s Waynesboro Taupe), Waynesboro Taupe–the darkest of the three colors–won.
After I painted the walls, I turned to the backsplash. I read up on painting tile, and decided that I really had nothing to lose, because I was already planning on taking the backsplash down. Why not try to paint it first and see if I could save time and money? The brown of the tile really clashed with my countertops–they have some brown in them but they’re really more gray. The warm and the cool tones right next to each other really bothered me (my husband thought I was nuts about that, although he admits that he likes the result).First, I scrubbed the tiles really well. TSP works great, and I also used rubbing alcohol to degrease the tiles. Next, I had to wait a day or two before priming to let the grout dry (I HATE to wait to start a project!). I tried to sand the tiles but they were too hard to really get roughed up by the sandpaper, so I was sure to use a primer for glossy surfaces that specifically mentioned ceramic tile (Zinsser Bulls-Eye 123; although sometimes I use their oil based primer in the gold can, too). I primed with one coat, and then applied two coats of oil-based paint. I bought a quart of Behr from Home Depot, tinted to match White Dove at half strength. I used a brush to prime and paint–you really have to work a bit to get the paint into the grout and a roller just wasn’t cutting it. Plus, I have some decorative tiles that needed extra attention. While I think I should add a clear coat at some point, I’m really happy with how it’s turned out, and I’ve been able to wipe splatters off without removing any paint.Here are a few before and after shots of the backsplash. Note the frozen pizza and the Sonic milkshake in the first shot. These are essentials for effectively tackling home improvement jobs!


The exhaust hood and fan were black, and while I’m dying to pull the old one out and do a nice, custom-built one, I decided that a $5 can of Epoxy appliance spray paint would be a worthwhile investment for a quick fix in the meantime. I did take the hood down to spray it, but that’s because I’m pretty comfortable working with electricity and didn’t mind rewiring it when I hung it back up. I think you could probably use tape and plastic to protect the cabinets enough to spray it in place, if you needed to. Love the appliance spray paint!

My last update was to add the window treatments around the sliding glass door, and this really made a huge difference in the room. I used canvas painter’s dropcloths from Home Depot (6′ x 9′ and $11 each!) and sewed them to the right length. Mine are tied with jute twine and swagged, but if I let them hang they would puddle on the floor (which was intentional). The balloon valance over the sink is completely no-sew. I just draped the dropcloth (another 6 ‘ x 9’) and tied three pieces of twine around it and adjusted it. Since we’re a military family and move frequently, I need as many no-sew options as possible, just to keep things versatile for the next house.

I think I might be done with the kitchen, at least for awhile, but I’ll be sure to let you know if I make any more changes. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few more pictures. Thanks for stopping by!

Numbered Drop Cloth Napkins by It All Started with Paint

I’m excited — and honored — to bring this post to you from The DIY Showoff.  Roeshel has so generously opened up her blog to guest posts – and has even given me two opportunities to feature my projects.  Thank you so much Roeshel!Now on to the post …You may or may not know that I’m obsessed with numbers.  If not, here’s a quick refresher of numbered things in- and out- side of our home … 

 Numbered Steps.Porch.closeup (2) (600x450)Porch Pillows Indoors (600x450) (2)Numbers Powder Room (600x450)Numbers Back Porch (600x450) 
When I landed on an image a few months ago showing off a table setting with numbered napkins, I knew I needed to make these for our home.  And then make some more to sell on my ‘in-the-works’ etsy shop …

No. Napkins Final Close Up (550x413) (2)

… and a plan took shape in the form of iron-on transfer numbered napkins made from drop cloth fabric … Painter’s drop cloth as fabric is my newest obsession.  It’s cheap. It’s washable. It’s easy to tear into perfectly straight lines.  I like the natural color, but it can be bleached lighter or even dyed — like I did for my fall wreath.Here’s what I did …1. Machine wash and dry drop cloth.  I purchased mine from Menards.  It cost just under $15.00 for a 4’ x 15’ drop cloth.2. Create mirror image numbers and print on transfer paper (I have an ink jet printer but mistakenly used paper made for a laser printer.  It was a mistake that worked in my favor because the images transfer to the fabric without that annoying film border.  It comes out a bit grainy and aged – but honestly, I like that look …)

DSCN3417 (550x413)3. I cut the drop cloth fabric into 22” x 22” squares, allowing for a 1” seam allowance around the border …No. Napkins Measured (550x413) (2)Here’s a tip that guarantees a straight line:  cut a small slit in the drop cloth and then tear …No. Napkins 2 (550x413) (2)No. Napkins Rip (550x413) (2)
 4. Double fold over a 1/2” inch and pin.  The drop cloth frays easily so the double fold will make it much more durable for frequently washed fabric napkins.
  No. Napkins Pinned (550x413) (2)No. Napkins Pinned All (550x413) (2)
 Here’s a quick ‘pic-tutorial’ on how I pinned the corners …No. Napkins Corner 1 (550x413) (2)No. Napkin Corner 2 (550x413) (2)No. Napkin Corner 3 (550x413) (2)No. Napkin Corner 4 (550x413) (2)
 5.  Sew … and since I’m a glutton for punishment, I sewed a double seam to ensure greater durability …No. Napkins Sewing (550x413) (2)No. Napkins Sewing 2 (550x413) (2)
 6.  Now it’s time to transfer the mirror-image numbers … (check back soon for my ‘screen cap’ tutorial on how to make mirror image text and numbers in a Microsoft Word document).No. Napkins Transfer (550x413) (2)No. Napkins Transfer 3 (550x413) (2)
 … the transfer paper I used comes out a bit grainy, but I really like that aged look on the drop cloth canvas …No. Napkins Iron (550x413) (2)No. Napkins Iron Transfer (550x413) (2)… and the finished product …
 No. Napkins 12 (550x413) (2)No. Napkins 6 (550x413) (2)No. Napkins 1 5 9 again (550x413) (2)No. Napkins 1 5 9 (550x413) (2)No. Napkins 1 5 9 more too (550x413) (2)No. Napkins 1 5 9 too (550x413) (2)… is ready for dinner …image

Thanks so much for sharing your creativity, Linda. You and your projects are amazing! I want these so I either see a project in my future…unless you get that in the works etsy shop up and running!  Can’t wait!

I‘m hanging out here today with Lisa…
Crafty Christmas
Pin It

Guest Blogger Thank You and Recap

Good morning DIY friends!  We’re back to home sweet home after soaking up some sun and relaxation.  We had a lovely, peaceful and fun time here…
Tensing Pen, Negril Cliffs, Jamaica
but in the meantime – I’ve missed you all!  Seriously…blog withdrawal! I can’t wait to catch up!
While we were away with limited internet access, there were some issues with email subscriptions. As in “none” for about a week.  Thankfully my genius technically savvy webmaster, Stacy from She Knows Design, was able to save the day and get things back on track.  Then we noticed that only a teaser was being emailed.  I’m hoping that today – you’re getting the full posts again if you subscribe via email. 
In the meantime, I fear you may have missed a few amazing ladies and their DIY guest posts.  So, please join me as I give a HUGE THANK YOU to these talented and creative DIY bloggers who took the time to share some awesome projects and in case you missed them (frustrating feedburner and bad timing!), I know they’d love LOVE LOVE to hear your comments or for you to click their blog button for a quick visit and a “hi”! 
1. DIY at StarDust Decor & Style. Olga shares her beautiful bedroom transformation. From boring before to romantic after… 
and a ho-hum hallway goes horizontal happy… 
Olga, you’ve done an amazing job on a great budget. I love the changes!
2. Christy is just one of the creative DIY girls at 11 Magnolia Lane and it was such an honor to have her share her gorgeous kitchen reveal… 
and fun laundry room makeover…Christy – you’re a DIY diva! WOW! 
simple, no sew and great handmade gift ideas!  Thanks so much for sharing your creativity, Randee! 
Randee's Organized Chaos
4. Aren’t these DIY present pillows from Linda at It All Started with Paint adorable?! I’m so happy she shared her awesome tutorial – definitely a must do project! Thanks, Linda!
Present Pillows Twine on porch (550x413) (2)
it all started with paint
5. I love the tradition of handmade ornaments every year, don’t you? It’s a great gift idea too and Tammy from Type A has a great recipe for DIY clay ornaments
Thanks for sharing your tutorial for these pretty clay ornaments, Tammy! I love these for dressing up packages too!
Type A
and what a statement! Huge fun difference! I love the transition of blues. Gorgeous!
Unskinny Boppy
7. Sweet Lee (and Poppy) from Lee Caroline Art has a dreamy, peaceful French Cottage bedroom makeover worthy of ‘pinning’ for inspiration…I’d want to lounge in bed all day long!
 Beautiful job, Lee!
Lee Caroline Art
8. DIY raggy fabric vines are a beautiful garland option and Lesli from My Old Country House shares her easy tutorial…
How fun and so charming! Easy. Choose fabric to match your decor. Love!
9. Nothing more satisfying than a DIY knock off for prettier, creative and budget friendly decor.  That’s what Chris from Attempting Aloha shares with her Ballard Inspired Christmas Trees….
Attempting Aloha
10. It’s the perfect time of year for sounds that remind you Christmas is here and jingle bells on doors make me smile.  Handmade by Hilani shares her cute jingle bell door accent tutorial
 . So sweet!  Thanks for sharing, Hilani! 
Handmade by Hilani
11.  And last but not least, Amy from The Salvage Collection shares her thoughts on the creative process in a fun way – hilariously helpful! Amy ~ you crack me up! Thank you so much for bringing a big smile to our DIY craziness!
The Salvage Collection

BIG ROUND OF APPLAUSE for these amazing ladies and their creativity and for sharing their thoughts and awesome DIY projects! As you know, I cherish my blog buddies and I’m so grateful for their DIY ingenuity and guest appearance the past two weeks. 
Thank you!

And I’ll be back later today with the DIY Project Parade – because before we left, while most normal people would be packing and getting ready for the holidays since vacation took up 10 days of precious holiday prep, decorating and shopping time, this DIY crazy girl was painting and doing projects up until the evening before we left. If you’re a DIY Show Off follower, you might understand my addiction. 😉   

The DIY Show Off
See you in a couple of hours – just need to snap some ‘after’ pictures.

As the Jamaicans say… “RESPECT”

Keeping my fingers crossed that the subscription emails are back to normal now.  Thank you for your patience! EDIT:  Does anyone know how to fix a feed? When I check “full post” to show, it does not show at all. When I check “short”, it does show just a teaser but I’d prefer the entire post to show. My pictures are resized so I know my posts are within the size limit.  I’m at a complete loss on how to fix the issue. I can’t seem to locate an answer via google.  Any help or advice is appreciated!


ryanac32 said… 38
my next painting project is the kitchen

The Creative Process by Amy from The Salvage Collection

Meet:  Amy from 
The Salvage Collection
greetings, DIY showoff readers!  i’m so excited to be here since i’ve been an oogler of roeshel’s blog for quite a while now.  i love the way, along with her own DIY journey, she promotes so many creative bloggers through her hugely popular site.
anywhoopla, i’m here today to toss out some ideas about the creative process.  you know, the thingy you do in your head between having an idea and finishing a project.
oh, you don’t think you follow a process?  hmmm.  let’s talk about that a bit.
i have an interior design degree and, though i loved my major, i never was exposed to the creative process as i know it today.  perhaps it was because i did not attend a “design school” and my major was housed with the other “girly” majors (i can say this b/c i’ve held two of those girly professions so zip it.).  regardless, i recall being assigned a project and…uh…going to quarter beers on thursday night, watching jack and jennifer get back together on “days of our lives” and then pulling an all-nighter hanging in the studio with my design buddies, working to meet the deadline.  i went straight at it with nary a crumpled paper on the floor to prove my planning.  and, yes, i graduated.
in fact, i’m not sure i ever heard the word “brainstorm” until i returned to graduate school–after a few “eh” years in corporate interior design–to become a teacher .  

in recent years, much of my training and research about teaching was based on processes to help each student tap into her creative side when approaching an assignment.
“just toss out a bunch of ideas even if they’re crazy or strange or silly or ridiculous.  there is no such thing as a bad idea.”
“close your journal and walk away from the first draft.  put some space and time between you and the words, then go back and reread it when you are fresh.”  

“you can and should always edit, always make changes because nothing is perfect the first time.”
that’s a bit of what i’d say to my sixth grade students as i walked them through the writing process, hoping they’d understand that it’s messy yet malleable, flexible yet under their control.
sounding familiar to you?  uh-huh.  i sniff me a diy-er who dippin’ some toes in the creative process river.
am i wrong or is this process—the process of creating—not overtly exposed in this blogiverse of  delectable “before and after” shots?  of course, we love to hear the origin of the idea but, dude….really?  c’mon.  how’d miss diy design diva get there with THAT from waaaay the $#@! over there?  …and why won’t she toss me a rope so i can climb to the creative summit on which she rests and hang with the cool diy cats?
oh?  wait a sec, she’s going to share it?  alrighty, then.  get to it.  i’m all ears.
(but is it a cat or a dog… or something else?)
miss diy design diva:
“well, let me see if i remember this correctly.  i believe i was sitting in my eclectic vintage ’60’s kitchen on my original eames chair–found on a brooklyn curb–eating my organic avocado/free-range turkey sandwich on gluten-free low-carb fat free bread with my husband, the head designer–and self-taught professional photographer–at schnockeral and sven.  our cats, ernie and bert, were playfully tossing around one of the 128 catnip-stuffed felt mouse toys that i had crafted earlier that morning.  suddenly, our yellow lab, scout, darted into the room and clamped down on bert’s neck like a shark scoring the leg of a surfer.  ernie went limp, bert sprouted wings, flying to safety atop the fridge and i…. i…. i saw scout’s soft yellow fur gently intermingled with ernie’s calico patches… BAM!

yes.  oh, yes.  that’s when my new 12 pattern hand-printed silk-screened 100% organic cotton fabric line flashed before my very eyes.”

(i made that up.  really, i swear. i’m weird creative that way. nooooo, it’s not from my interview with a famed diy blog queen.)
moving on.
does a design plan usually come to one in a “flash”of genius like the diva’s or is it more of a gathering little twigs in an effort to build a fire of an idea?  it could be a bit of both but the consensus of the people who study this stuff agree that it’s more like the fire analogy.  “they” have organized the creative process into the following steps:
simply stated, it’s not much different than the process i taught to 6th graders in expanding their writing. now that i’m painting furniture full-time, i also realized that i’m NOT using this process fully when i dive into each piece as is evident in my recent flubs.  let’s face it, when juggling 4+ projects that need to be squeezed into an hour here and twenty minutes there, the “process” can become lost in the… uh… process.
my recent process-less process….
STEP 1 “preparation”:  choose a project and start the basic repairs to prep for the finish while you explore the details of the piece.
for me, STEP 1 was selecting and repairing this formerly-caned shelving train-wreck-of-a-piece to tackle:
scary, right?
STEP 2 “incubation”:  this is where we are supposed to be open-minded, explore the crazy ideas (hello, donna at funky junk), ask the opinions of others, visualize the end result, ponder, poke, prod, peek around (hello, pinterest!), pour over colors….and document all of it so we see the ideas, make connections and don’t forget any of it along the way.
STEP 2 for me with the scary shelves was…. a whole lotta phooey.  yep, this is where i swerved to the left in the process due to my lack of patience.  i was like violet, the greedy blueberry girl in willy wonka’s chocolate factory…
“DADDY! i want to use my new annie sloan chalk paint in provence and old white.  I WANT TO USE MY NEW PAINT!”  
i barely tasted the chocolate bar of “step 2: incubation” as i shoved it down my throat and popped open the paint cans.  i didn’t explore and i didn’t document; i just raced to the finish with my golden ticket… paint cans and turned into a plump blueberry along the way.
so, here is the result of speeding through the design process…
yes, it’s nice but… just eh.  whatev.  after 263 hours, it’s not the “wow” that i wanted it to be because i went all “violet” and didn’t pause to explore ideas.  currently,  i’m using it as a punishing daily reminder of PATIENCE and PROCESS.
and what will i do in the future?  in typical teacher fashion, i’ll be using one of my black and white composition books to write and sketch my ideas for each of the 4+ painting projects i am currently steering…
starting with two traditional school chairs that i plucked up for $10 each.  yippeedoo!
care to join me as i document my way through the rest of the creative process to wow up these drib-drab chairs?  i promise it won’t be boring…and the posts won’t be this long, either.  hopefully…for your sake.
in the meantime, if you want to see more about the way successful people work together in the creative process, then check out this 2+ minute video of creative wizards at anthropologie staging window displays for earth day.  note the sketchbook, peeps–part of THE PROCESS!
thanks, roeshel!  hope i haven’t sent too many of your readers running for the hills….