Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fancier Folding Chairs

I found these great non-fancy folding chairs at goodwill a few months ago:


There were four of them, for $2 a piece. I love goodwill and I think it's a great place to pick up furniture and housewares and even clothes. But $2 a piece? That's like giving them away. I would have spent $10 a piece on these very cute, retro folding chairs.

The bottom has the Monroe's family name written with markers in bold, capital letters. I can just picture the Monroes, pulling their sturdy wooden folding chairs with an assortment of plants and fruits and vegetables decoupaged onto the front, out of the trunk of their station wagon, ready for a pot luck at the church.

As I trotted out of the goodwill with my groovy new chairs, a lady commented that she looked at them too while she was shopping. "Yeah, a coat of paint and recovering the seats will really brighten them up!" I said. Then she said, "Oh I love them the way they are."

Slight guilt when I popped the top of my can of red spray paint, but not enough guilt to keep my finger off the trigger.


These pineapples, oranges, and pears fought pretty hard, but several coats covered them. I always spray paint in the grass.

Red wasn't my original choice. My plan was to find a cute oilcloth for the seats and find a paint color to match. I love this Annette Tatum design:

I thought an aqua chair would look nice. But not at $22 a yard. As it turns out, oilcloth (also known as laminated cotton) is very expensive. But there was a plan B...

I picked the bright red to coordinate with my ever-favorite fabric:

Maybe you've seen it before?

wiz 076

Even though I saved money on the chairs, there was no need to turn this into a super-expensive project. Luckily, I'm scrappy. I know how to turn cotton into oilcloth...or vinylcloth...


The directions are of course included with the product, but here are the basics:
1. peel the paper backing off the vinyl.
2. stick the adhesive side of the vinyl to the right side of the fabric.
3. place the paper backing over the vinyl and use medium iron to press.
4. turn fabric over and press with iron on wrong side of fabric.
5. spill, drip, drop, splash.
6. wipe clean.

Before stapling the laminated fabric to the chair, I stapled in a piece of white fabric so that the original, dingy, cream vinyl wouldn't distort the colors of the new fabric.


You can see the metal folding mechanism in the previous photo. These chairs are very well built and I've never seen folding chairs that are so nice. They will be perfectly able to withstand my three rowdy, messy, climby children.

These particular chairs had a little wooden skirt that I had to replace after stapling the fabric. Pay very close attention to the construction of any chair that you take apart. Pictures are very helpful for this. Better safe than stuck with a bunch of wood that you can't figure out how to put back together...


I'm thrilled with the outcome of this project. I'm super-thrilled with the iron-on vinyl. In fact, I have another project coming very soon with iron-on vinyl. And let me add to the suspense by telling you that it will probably be the most useless tutorial you have ever read (no typo, I meant useless). I can't wait!



  1. Squeal! I love these chairs...and the fabric is so cheerie.

  2. These are ADORABLE. I bought and recovered a chair from the habitat re-store but didn't think to paint it as well!

  3. amazing! Now I want to go look for dining room furniture to redo! I didn't even know there was such a thing as iron-on vinyl. So cool!!

  4. OHH MY GOSH!! I LOV ELOVE LOVE LOVE THEM!!! notice my use of caps lock to properly indicate my level of love. SO fantastic!! can't wait till tomorrow's play date.

  5. Where do you find the iron on vinyl?? The chairs look great!!!

  6. Cute, cute, cute. Love that chair!


  7. Love them! And love the red. I've got several pieces of furniture in our garage that I'm just itching to repaint. I've got that same red in mind. It's the most fun pop of color. The fabric on your chairs just makes it! YAY!

  8. how happy looking is that chair? loved that you popped it with red and that fabric is darling. Yay you.

  9. How very cute!!! and i love the dress too!!

  10. Really nice! I need to find some awesome chairs to zing in red! :D

  11. SOOOOO cute!!! What a great idea! Thanks so much for posting. :)


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