Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How I Met Your Clutter...and made it pretty.

Lately I've been painting upholstery. Didn't know if you knew that. I did it years ago before it became an upcycle trend. After all, a painting is just fabric with paint on it. So on my short drive to drop my son off to school, I always weave through the alleys of Lansdale to see what decluttered gems  my neighbors have been leaving at the curb after weekend clean outs. Recently, I found a treasure in these empire style dining chairs. I just couldn't resist. I had to do the Shabby chickie thing and paint them off white. Because the finish was completely faded, I painted then with a satin cream, paint and primer in-one latex. The dry chairs sucked it right up and the paint laid on perfectly. Because the original fabric was straight out of an episode of The Partridge Family, meaning that it was course gold and green corduroy, I decided that painting over that  was not going to give me the look I wanted. The look I was going for was faded, old world canvas, with a touch of french styling.  Something that looks like it had been in L'apartment dans Paris for quite some time. So I removed the seat from the base, and dug through my scrap fabric box to see what kind of cotton/linen sheet I had hiding within. Sure enough, I came across an old Ralph Lauren cotton bed skirt that I had from years ago, that had gotten wet while in storage and the fabric stained and fell apart in a few places. For some reason I could never part with it even with it's damage, so I had washed it and stored it away in my  bin. It was perfect. As soon as I pulled it out and saw the shirred skirt, I knew exactly how to proceed. I was going to skirt the slip seat of the chair. And paint that fabric as well as the seat.

I removed the seats, and cut the main part (platform) of the fabric and allowed a two inch return to give me room to staple the fabric down. Then I cut off the shirred (gathered) part of the skirt and began stapling that to the underside edge off the seat.

Once done, I flipped it and used a sponge roller to apply the latex paint to the seat.
On the skirt, I sprayed Kilz primer so that it would stiffen up the fabric, and the spray helps get in all the folds
where a roller can't.
     Then brushed some cream paint onto the skirt once the primer had dried. Next step, I rubbed in antiquing wax to crevases along the seams, just where dust and dirt would collect naturally over time. Then rubbed antquing over the entire chair, as well as sanding a bit to give the chairs some distressing. The antiquing wax can be very dark, so I only use a little. I rub it in until it begins to blend in and fade a bit, then dry brush on the cream color again over the brown. This creates a layered, more authentic, time-worn look. I chose some stencils I felt would give It a French feel, and sprayed on with brown spray paint.  Once the stenciling dried, I did another round of dry brushing over the letters, again, to make it look older and faded.After that dried, I did a layer of wax over the whole chair including the fabric. It just softened the whole touch of the fabric and the painted chair. You may notice on closer look at the pics, that the skirt on the chairs has a raw edge. I did that on purpose. The bed skirt was too long and hid the beautiful chair legs, so I tore the skirt to cut it down. I liked the deconstructed, faded and worn look of it. It added to its authenticity. I finished them off with shredded silk toile ribbons at the back. This look may not be for everyone, but those who love shabby will just adore it. The beauty of it is in the imperfections. And that suits my style perfectly.

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