This past weekend I was inspired to do something about our ugly patio chairs. If you remember from this post, I've been dying for new patio furniture for, well, a decade. Ever since my husband found these chairs under his apartment building in college. I still can't believe he's convinced me to haul these ugly things around with us for so long.
But no more! I gave them a little makeover:
As a refresher, this is what the chairs looked like before I started. Chipped paint galore, and aging criss-crossed rubber that always pinched my legs when I was wearing shorts.
I started by pressure washing the chairs with our hose, to get off any loose paint chips. Then, while wearing a mask, I sanded all of the edges of the remaining paint, until things were as smooth as I could get them. It was messy work.
After hosing the chairs off again, it was time for the time consuming part, taping off the rubber. As much as I would have liked to do something about it, I knew if I painted it, it was just going to crack and look bad after sitting in in a few times. So I decided to just leave the rubber as-is, and hope the new paint job on the metal would be enough to make these chairs look halfway decent.
To save a little bit of time, I measured the width of the rubber, then cut strips in my tape with an x-acto knife, so I would have appropriately sized strips to work with.
Taping off the chairs did take me about 3 hours, but at least I could watch TV while doing it, and I got through all of the episodes of Melissa and Joey on my DVR (side note: who else thinks Joey Lawrence is still totally hot?).
After taping off all of the rubber next to the metal frame, I covered the center sections with plastic sheeting, and it was time to spray paint.
This part got kind of lame, but probably not why you're thinking. The spray painting went just fine, but in the process I got stung by some fire ants. Let me tell you, they are appropriately named ants! I spent a couple of days sitting on an ice pack because my most painful sting happened to be on my rear. And the welts are still nice and itchy almost a week later.
So after that fun little incident, I moved my spray painting area to another place in the yard. I ended up putting on two coats of primer, just to really cover the old chipped paint job, followed by two coats of apple green spray paint.
I also picked up this little side table at Target a few weeks ago, it had a scratch on the leg, so was on clearance for only $11.99. I knew I'd be painting it, so the scratch didn't bother me. I went with a bright blue spray paint instead of apple green for this table, since I didn't want things to be too matchy-matchy. Two coats of paint later, and we had a more complete patio set.
To finish off my little patio furniture makeover, and to try to do something about the leg-pinching rubber on the chairs, I decided to sew little cushions for the chairs. I picked up 1 yard of outdoor canvas fabric, some velcro and two 15" x 17" x 2" foam pads.
These cushions were pretty easy to sew, the first one took me about an hour (double checking and figuring out my sewing plan), but the second one only about a half hour. I started by cutting 4 squares that were 17" x 19", to allow for an inch of overlap on all sides, followed by 4 strips that were 4" x 17" and 4 strips that were 4" x 19", again, allowing for overlap.
I then pinned the fabric inside out, around the foam pads. I left the 4th end open at this point, since that was the end I'd be attaching velcro to.
After pinning, I slid the foam pad out, and sewed down my lines of pins. You could do a zig zag stitch too, if you were concerned about fraying, but I had a quicker shortcut I used later on.
But first, as for the velcro, I bought iron on velcro, so all I had to do for the top strip of velcro was finish the end of one of my 4" x 19" strips of fabric, and then iron on the velcro near the finished edge.
For the bottom strip of velcro, I finished the edge of my bottom 17" x 19" square, then ironed the velcro on it's edge. My velcro was 3/4" wide, and I had that 1" overlap to work with, so it was a perfect fit. Once the bottom strip of velcro was on the cushion cover, I then just pinned the other strip of fabric with velcro on it to the cushion cover, and sewed it on. I sewed it up the sides and along the top, so there was less of a flap, and more of a slit left to insert or remove the foam pad (the next few photos better illustrate the velcro part).
But first, have a look at the below photo. You'll notice all of my 1" overlaps are cut off. That was my last step, to trim down everything to about 1/4" away from my seams. Then, to combat fraying, I just quickly ran a BBQ lighter over the edges of the fabric, lightly melting it so it won't fray. This was way quicker than doing a more elaborate stitch with my sewing machine, especially for something that I'm really only going to take off and wash a handful of times in it's lifetime. This little shortcut won't work on all fabrics (and I wouldn't do it on clothing or anything that would get washed frequently), but for my quick little outdoor canvas cushion covers, it was a nice time saver.
Completed patio chair cushions in an hour and a half, check!
And here's what it all looked like again, once everything came together. About 100 times better than the chipped paint look the chairs used to have! And I'm so glad I took the time to sew the cushions, since not only do they bring everything together with the coordinating-but-not-super-matchy color scheme I wanted, but now I don't have to worry about the rubber pinching my legs any more. The chairs are actually comfy!
Here's a close up of one of the arms, where some of the worst paint chipping was. You can barely see any imperfections from the old sanded down paint, and only if you look really closely.
And here's more proof that the new chairs are extra comfy, once I moved them over to another place on our deck, I couldn't get Hailey off!
Yep, definitely a whole lot better than what we started with. And worth the painful and itchy ant bites, to not be embarassed by our patio furniture any more (although I'm still lobbying for brand new furniture next summer!)
Have you ever breathed new life into furniture with just a few coats of paint? Or gotten attacked by bugs in the process?