Last spring, I received the Coolest Email Ever.
It was from one of my most favorite magazines in the universe: Do It Yourself Magazine. Yes, the Special Interest Publication by Better Homes & Gardens. The very same DIY Magazine I have looked forward to every three months for years and years and years and I always buy at the store. Every time I peruse the pages I am so inspired.
So when I received the Coolest Email Ever offering me a chance to revamp a ‘mystery’ piece of flea market furniture for the magazine, I picked my jaw up off the floor and immediately replied “Yes!”. The mystery piece arrived a few weeks later, with a note.
It was a chair. A greenish teal crackle finish chair. What could I possibly do with this chair? At first I thought, “Oh, I know, I’ll transform it into a planter!” But
So I stared at it and stared at it and then it spoke to me. No, more like it whispered. The chair whispered to me and it told me this: it wanted to be returned to its roots. So I listened. Ladderback chair? That’s classic French farmhouse. Bring it.
The first part of the transformation involved getting rid of that crackle finish. For any other painted chair I simply would have spray primed and painted it again, easy peasy. But the crackle finish would be apparent, so it had to go. It was Citristrip to the rescue! (I’ve been using Citristrip ever since I compared it with old school strippers, and I’ll never go back.)
Once I had the chair stripped down to the wood, I gave the edges a rub of dark Minwax ‘Walnut’ stain, then spray painted it with Krylon’s ‘Ivory’ in satin.
A sanding wedge rubbed up against the dark stained edges revealed just enough to give it a subtle distressed look.
After the spray paint was dry, I gave the chair a coat of poly. This is one of my favorite products for a quick protective coat. It’s water based (holla!) Varathane satin finish polyurethane. It’s applied with a rag just as easily as another favorite, Minwax oil based wipe on polyurethane (which is best for stained wood, not painted wood).
This water based poly dries super fast, so you must work quickly. If you ever see this wipe on version at your local home improvement store (I buy mine at Orchard Supply & Hardware), grab some, do not pass go and do not collect two hundred. This can be used over any latex or oil based paint and it’s absolutely fabulous.
Next came time to add some character and texture. Instead of a ladderback chair with a traditional rush seat, I inverted the idea, and gave the ladder part of the chair the “rush” look by wrapping it in jute twine. Many many yards and a lot of hot glue (securing the twine at the base) later, it looked like this. I really cannot say enough good things about jute twine. Really, what can’t you wrap in jute twine and transform into something awesome?
I also added some 1” foam to pad the seat then wrapped it in old T-shirt batting. For the finishing touch, I found a grain sack print from
Then I snapped a pic of it before shipping it back to BH&G.
And there she is! On page 41of the Winter Issue of Do-It-Yourself Magazine.
I have one extra piece of cotton poly fabric printed with the same grain sack image.
Want it? It measures 22” x 22” so it can become anything you envision, a tote bag, a pillow, a seat cover, whatever! Leave a comment and I’ll pick a winner at random.
Sending out a very big thank you to
Grab a copy on newsstands now.
In the mood for some Christmas crafting? I certainly am. That’s next.