No Easy Chair…

Gadora‘s original idea for this upcycled chair came last spring with a chance passing in NoLa. A random storefront window held a darling, though not entirely functional, woven men’s tie chairGadora was inspired. Then not long after the move to Austin, I’d coordinated a garage sale day with the girls, mapping out possible hot spots promising great adventure. Towards day’s end a discarded pair of chairs were spotted in front of a house, we whipped the car around for a calculated look. Yes! One good one. With all its parts. We’ll take it. Thank you.

This would eventually be a two-part project: 1) refurbish said found chair with new seat and paint treatment, and 2) weave ties and cover the seat.

The chair itself needed work! A power sanding revealed layers of interesting paint choices, but gave the wood a smooth finish to work with.

sanded chair ~ revealed layers
sanded chair ~ revealed layers

• • •

Using a cardboard box, Gadora cut a seat template then begged* her Daddy to donate some scrap wood. *Cool as a cucumber my Dad happily obliged AND helped custom cut and sand the seat bottom to fit. With seat complete, I fired up Dad’s blower, after only a few labored pulls of the starter, to clean our mess. Dad digs I dig his power tools.

sanding seat from particle board
sanding seat from particle board

• • •

Chair with seat. Base layer of taupe (leftover Oops! paint ~ a double score!) has dried, and a partial light dry-brushing of brown paint has been applied, then wiped with a damp cloth.

test driving seat
test driving seat

• • •

From here I allowed the paint to dry, then mixed a small jar of turquoise (again, Oops! paint), with a paint thinning glaze and dry brushed over same spots I’d applied the brown, also followed with a damp cloth to remove excess. The result is a rich layering effect with lots of subtle detail.

closeup of glaze detail
closeup of glaze detail

• • •

Now for the seat. Gadora found a piece of scrap cotton and cut it slightly larger than seat size. Once stretched a staple gun was used to adhere the cotton to the bottom of the seat, which was then stuffed with filler.

the stuffing process...
the stuffing process...

• • •

It was great fun collecting ties. These were purchased, but from various garage sales and Goodwills. The best bag came from Savers where 10 ties were sold for $3, including the naughty and graphic Playboy bunny tie. Gadora played with them for a while before deciding on a final pattern. The ties were laid out with opposing ends and woven together. Safety pins were used to secure each to the other, making it easier to stitch by hand.

seat weave ~ closeup
seat weave ~ closeup

• • •

Working along the rows of ties, making short stitches on the top side, I made a small decorative “x” at the joints giving added detail. The end result gives the ties a patchwork appearance, as if each piece was individually cut and put into place.

closeup of patchwork
closeup of patchwork

• • •

The whole piece was stretched over seat and stapled on its underbelly, then the ends were snipped close to the staples. From my phone…

almost ready...
almost ready...

• • •

Finally, the seat was put into place, because of the precise measurement of the seat base, it’s snug but not fastened into place… giving me an option to recover it at a later date. As if!!!

tie seat in place...
tie seat in place...

And viola! A tie-chair fit for any seat. Here, Gadora paired it with a vinyl ottoman, also pulled from a pile of junk alongside the road! Thank you Austin for giving me such loverly items to play with.

Tie Chair ~ AFTER
Tie Chair ~ AFTER

StripeSupplies: a chair in need of a new seat cover, 8-10 well-edited ties, safety pins, thread, staple gun with staples,  paint and sealer, and… patience.

How To: pick your seat, your paint colors and your ties. Read the above. post If that doesn’t give you all you need, email Gadora for more details…

Time it Takes: a quick minute to talk your girlfriends into turning the car around to pick up that sad little discarded chair, an hour to arrange the ties to your liking, a few evenings in front of the TV stitching the ties together, 2 hours sanding, applying paint and adding details. Let’s call it 4 hours total.

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16 thoughts on “No Easy Chair…

  1. I so much appreciate the detail you went into….I am sure I can do one of these. Can’t wait to try it…..thank you.

  2. I’m clicking around for lamp ideas and stumbled upon this project! I think you my newest up-cycling heroes! What a beautiful creation.

  3. This is a wonderful way to use up scraps of favourite fabrics and a very nice way to brighten up a corner of the room.

    Looks a wee bit challengingbut fun, too. Haven’t tried a patchworked cover chair seat before, but I did do a footstool in one piece of fabric.

    Little projects like this can have a huge impact on the overall look of a room. It’s all in the details 😉

    1. Hi Bonny. The project was not so much challenging as it was labor-intensive. Many older wooden dining room chairs, as this one was, have a pop-out seat — easy to recover in a fabric of your choice. My first dining set was an oldie, and before I parted with it, the seats were reupholstered (by me!) more than 4 times! If you ever tackle your own, please let us know!

  4. I’ve found your blog via Google and I’m really glad about the information you provide in your articles. Anyhow keep up the great work!

  5. the finished product is sooooo pretty!!! i loved watching you doing something you believe in! be sure to check with uncle fred for some more groovy ties! (i enjoyed the playboy tie especially!!! tee hee!)love you precious!

    p.s. hey, where was i when they handed out the creativity gene in our family???

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