Thursday, October 18, 2012

French Cane Chair re-do DONE!!!!

      Wow, did my ADD ever get me good on this project I had for my breakfast table area. I started with more enthusiasm than you could ever imagine when I first blogged about this project HERE. I mean I was hosting a brunch at my house and one never spends more time and money on decorating than the month prior to having a ton of ladies over right??? I'm guessing I'm not the only one who wants their place "just so" before their friends come over! Well, the end of April was my goal to finish, brunch with the gals in my neighborhood came and went and October was when I actually finished. Live and learn...must focus!

I have followed Miss Mustard Seed's blog for quite some time now. I contemplated forever trying my hand at doing some painting, but seemed to get more caught up in the planning than the actual doing part.

I found a project, got scared off from doing it so started the search for someone else that could help me. It was then I had the pleasure of finding and hiring Meghan to finish my first project. Meghan now owns and runs The Weathered Cottage. I got to meet her and her precious family before she had started out on her new journey here in Austin, TX running her Antiques and Vintage Decor store. Meghan is a true delight. She is as sweet as can be and has that old soul who has amazing taste and talent in her arena. If you've never met her, swing by her store. It's worth the trip plus she carries ALL of the amazing paints you could want and holds painting technique classes as well. Don't have the time or the desire??? She has all kinds of finished pieces as well.

I've always liked making things but in years past it's always been on my sewing machine as I had focused on children's clothing design. These gals, as well as many others, have inspired some of the DIY in me that I've started taking on as I look around my home. I took pictures all along the way and thought I'd share how these chairs that I bought off of Craigs List became some of my new favorite pieces in my home.

Click on any photo if you'd like to see it enlarged.


Well, here they are when I got them. A mismatched set, stained and yellowed cushions just from age but I was fine with that, I like the mismatched look and planned to reupholster. My husband's reaction? Those are hideous, why are they in our garage, who's grandmother did you steal those from and when do I get that garage space back? He failed to see my vision at stage 1 and wasn't impressed with my response that "They have good bones and the cane is intact."


When my husband saw those chairs, I actually think in his mind this was his fear! One day our garage might look like this because I have been known to haul home a few random pieces.



I was certain I wanted to keep the cane with the beautiful stained brown color. I was wanting the contrast on the chairs so thought it worth the extra step, (I mean pain in the rear) it took keeping that intact and only painting the frame. Taping around all these curved corners both front and back is a long process. Keep the end in mind....worth the time!!


Start by removing all the seat cushions and set them aside and cleaning your chair off. I just wiped the chair with a microfiber cloth so it was free of any dust and whatever so my surface was ready to be painted on.

Now, time to get your supplies and start painting! I'm using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Ochre. If you've never painted with this paint, trust me it's amazing!! No stripping, sanding, priming..just dive in and paint right onto your surface! It's worth the extra cost and Meghan carries all the colors at her store.
Here I've got my paint, some good paint brushes, painters tape and some fine grade sand blocks and another that is grittier.


Get some good music if you have a project like this. Oh and long blocks of time and of course cooler temps are better than Texas summer heat.



I did 2 coats of the paint on my chairs. I did a first coat to try and get basic coverage. I sanded it down with the finest sand block I could find. Going on my memory I think it was like a 320 grit. I definitely preferred the sanding blocks to paper. I think they are much easier to work with then a flat piece of sandpaper. All I was doing in the first coat was smoothing things down and evening out the surface if I had any drips. 

Next I painted over it again just getting good coverage so there wasn't any wood showing through. If you are frustrated with paintbrush strokes. Don't be afraid to add water to your paint to thin it out a bit. I found my paint was VERY thick and a little goes a long way. Since I had very tight carving details, it helped to have my paint a bit thinner so it didn't goop everywhere. Do what ever you prefer but if you feel it's going on very thick and you are left with more brush stroke lines than you like, just thin it out. Don't panic though, you'll sand away some of those brush strokes too.



Well, here's 3 of them after their 2nd coat. Time to sand more.


Just be ready, this is chalk paint after all. When you are sanding, be sure to be in an open area because this stuff will fly everywhere and you will be covered. I start by sanding all of the surfaces with my fine grain sand block just to get a nice even coat on the chair. After they felt nice and smooth, that's when I got my heavier grit sand block and then started my distressing. I just hit the edges and corners with a little more umpf til I started seeing the wood come through. This was a really fun process. I started to overthink it and was being too deliberate in how I sanded. I found in the end the best process was just going along the edges and having it be a bit more random. I preferred the look of it looking more worn in some places than others. It naturally happens as you will put more pressure in some areas and of course remove more paint over the span of your stroke. I could easily get carried away with the distressing. Go a little bit at a time, step back, walk around it and see how you like it as you progress through your piece.


When I was at Home Depot I did find this handy dandy micro-fibre duster. What a life saver! After every sanding you will be covered with chalk dust and your chair will be covered even more. This was an easy way to get to all those nooks and crannies and get that paint dust outta there.


Loving how they were coming along, this is the finished top to one of the chairs.


After you've done all the sanding you'll notice this surface really does have a chalky feel. Not everyone adds a wax coating but I'm glad I did. It really sealed everything in and made it feel nice and smooth. This is an easy step. Just get a clean rag, dip it into your wax and just lightly run it over the surface of all your chairs. It should be completely dry in under 30 minutes.

One thing I learned here, consider the COLOR of your wax. You can get dark, clear and in my case my wax was a yellow-ish color. Do a test spot before you commit to doing your entire piece to ensure it's what you like. When I was at the hardware store, I never realized I'd grabbed a wax that was yellow but since that was what I had on hand and it didn't change my chair color too much, I pressed on using it.  The yellow tint ended up warming up the pieces. It certainly didn't turn them yellow but the whiteness did tone down. In hindsight, I'd probably make certain to grab a clear wax so the color that goes on is the color that I end with.


Now to upholster those seat cushions. Decisions, decisions! Which side of my fabric??
I ended up going darker, I've got kids after all.


Remove your covers however you like. I just cut right through the top and ripped them off. Be careful not to dig your scissors straight into the foam cutting it. Those staples on the underside of the seat were in so dang tight, they weren't budging so I left them in and just cut the fabric.


Cut your fabric so you have some clearance on all sides and place your chair cushion down on it. Pay attention to the placement if you have a direction to your fabric like I do. I didn't want it wonky on the chair so was careful in lining it all up.


Next it's time for tools! Just staple gun all the way around. I used one attached to an air compressor, wow did that thing have some power and made this job much easier!

 Do the 4 sides first. Pull your fabric firmly but not so firmly you pucker the foam cushion down causing a dent. You want your fabric to be taut. Finish them off by folding the corners down. This is a tricky part. Do you best not to leave folds/creases in the fabric on the top side of the fabric but hide them on the underside where you staple away. It just looks more professional not seeing all those folds on the top side of the cushion. You do have to play with it a while but worth that time and effort.


Well, here is my first chair cushion finished and reattached back to the chair. Happy moment! 


Remember I had a mismatched set, here's one of each.


When we first moved into our house, here's what my breakfast area looked like. My table was small because of the tiny space we had in our old kitchen when we lived on the East Coast. Now we're in Texas and the space we have is much larger. 


I eventually talked the hubs into letting me get this pedestal table and it's from their Cambria Collection I'd been eyeing for awhile and continued to use my old black chairs. After chair shopping, who knew chairs were so expensive. That's when I started my Craigs List search. 


Ta-Da! Here's my breakfast room today. I love that it's gone from the heavier blacks/reds that I used to decorate with to a much brighter and lighter room. 

So this project did span 6 months! Should've taken less than a week. I didn't have them done for my brunch, not even when I hosted my ladies bible study, but they're done for the most important people under my roof, my family! All the time and effort that went into it was well worth it. I sure hope maybe this inspires someone else to try a new project. I am by NO means an experienced painter. I started this with little clue other than reading on the internet what and how to do it and the will to attempt. It was so much fun and I encourage anyone who's got the urge to give it a whirl.


So the next time you are cruising Craigs List or even a garage sale, don't move so quickly you miss some real beauties that just need a little updating. My husband thought I was nuts when I brought these home and now we love our eating space.


20 comments:

Donna Wilkes said...

First, what a great tutorial on painting furniture - clear and concise. Second, I applaud the extra effort you made to keep the caning natural brown. Third (and most important) fantastic result! Just think all those ladies who saw the old set will ooh and aah when they see what you have accomplished and the hubs must be ecstatic over how much you saved doing this.

Distressed Donna Down Home

Amanda@RelovedRubbish said...

These chairs look so elegant around your beautiful table! I love that you left the caning dark too.

Kristy said...

Beautiful job! I love cane backed chairs :) (btw, I live just north of Austin! small world!)

Sherry Calamia said...

I have the same type of cane chairs for my dining room that I was contemplating on painting. Yours looks so great, no need for me to second guess if I should paint!
That will definitely be a future project!

Debbie said...

Thank you for the kind comments! Yes, the hubby is happy about what we didn't spend on getting new chairs and even more happy he has his garage space back!

Heidi said...

WOW !!!!

That is sooooo well done !!! Sure wish we lived closer to each other.... we sure would have fun with projects together !!!! BEAUTIFUL !!!!!

Nadine @ Chic with the Kool-Aid Mustache said...

Great job! They look awesome now...and love that you kept the caning darker, it adds so much.

Qra Domowa said...

brawo!!! świetnie odnowione krzesła:))

Smeyelee1 said...

My husband and I have been kicking around the idea of getting a new dining room table and chairs. The expense is not so much the issue as the set we have is in good condition but quite dated. As I read your post, I am so excited to try this! I have thought about it and thought about it for so long but never had the guts to actually go through with it...UNTIL NOW!! I am sooo exciting to get going on this. Thanks for the detail and pics!!! Janet

lesleypark1 said...

Great Job! Proof that sometimes you have to ignore the husband and just go ahead with your vision! :)

mary lloreda said...

These are the EXACT chairs I have been living with for the past 15 years. They go with the dining room set that belonged to my mother in law. I want to do an update to the chairs but keep the original caned backs just like you did with yours. Thanks for the great information on the process. I am familiar with chalk paint so I am going to order the ochre color and see what happens. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful dining area; thanks for such a thorough tutorial. I just bought a similar set at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. They're in great condition and I plan to leave the cane intact. I thought I might have to sand and use a sealer, even with the chalk paint. What a time saver to skip those steps. I don't have an Annie Sloan stocker nearby or I would buy a sample of the Old Ochre. Your chairs look like a soft off white color, which is just what I'm going for. I have access to CeCe Caldwell chalk paint and guess they must have a similar off white. Thanks again for sharing!

Angie said...

Great job! Your chairs are beautiful! I have almost the exact same ones that need updating. Did you lightly sand between coats of paint? I have used ASCP before and haven't sanded between coats. Thank you and again beautiful job!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! I just got a set of these for free! I've been thinking of how to paint them (wanted 2 tone) with the cane left brown. Now that I see it done I'm excited to move forward. Never painted furniture with chalk paint (always wanted to try) so this will give me the courage...and confidence �� Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posting. I also have a set of these chairs that I got in Round Top a few years ago and was planning on painting them also. Now after reading your post I will clean out my barn and start painting. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I have a very similar dining room set, 6 chairs. How much paint did you use for your chairs? How many cans? Could you email me the answer as I am not able to receive a note about when there are answers on this forum here. alexandra.hewardt.anderson@gmail.com
Thank you,

marion gray said...

I just love this idea. Thanks for sharing. I recently purchased a dining table and 5 cane back chair. I love the cane and don't want to disturb it. Great inspiration. Starting my project next weekend.

marion gray said...

I just love this idea. Thanks for sharing. I recently purchased a dining table and 5 cane back chair. I love the cane and don't want to disturb it. Great inspiration. Starting my project next weekend.

Allie said...

I just purchased two of this exact chair. We removed the backs & legs to be able to make them into a bench. These chairs were manufactured two days before our daughter was born, and let me tell you, they were well constructed. It was a tad difficult to remove the legs and stretchers. I was searching Pinterest for tutorials on chalk painting, when I came across your post. Boy, was I happy to see how yours turned out. Beautiful!! Thank you for posting---I now know what mine will look like. Wish I could post the finished project here. God Bless!

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