This is a story of one of four chairs that I did for a customer, Linda, who has become an interesting new friend in the process.
What a Prrrr fectly fine chair! This little chair actually had a broken cane seat. It looked kind of sad until Jim, Linda's husband, put a solid wooden seat on the hole where the cane was. I painted a piece of canvas, put some batting under it, and tacked it down with upholstery tacks. It turned out kinda cute don't you think? Not bad for an old chair that had seen better days and probably was never going to be in anyone's dining room again....until now!
Want to know how I do the seat? Well, it is not as intimidating as it looks. The first thing I do is take some paper and make a template of the wood piece I am wanting to cover up. Next I cut a piece of canvas a couple of inches bigger than the area I want to cover. This will be bigger than the template, because it has to cover the batting, and leave room to put the upholstery tacks down. I will trim it up better before I tack it down. Next I paint it. I actually use a combination of artist acrylics, and craft acrylics. To insure that they stay flexible, I put some Fabric medium on my palette, and just mix it in with the paint as I go, right on the brush. No rocket science here. I get all the picture painted the way I want, and then I seal it with a flexible varnish. I use Polyurethane on the rest of the chair, but I want to make sure the picture doesn't crack when it is used. I like Liquitex flexible varnish for this part. I don't make the batting very thick either because I don't want a lot of give to it, just a little padding to cover up the edge of the wood insert . Just an FYI, I seal it before I tack it down.
I take the paper template and cut a piece of batting 1/4 inch larger than the template.. Don't make this too thick or it will set up too high and look funny. I actually had about a 3/4 inch to 1 inch batting, and I thought it was too thick so I just separated it in half width wise and it was perfect. The hard part is determining how much of an edge you want on the picture. I just tacked mine pretty close to the wood insert, and the edge of the batting. To get the batting to stay in place, spray some fabric adhesive on the wooden insert. I put plastic all around it to prevent the sticky from getting on the chair. That would be terrible!!
I am so bad about eyeballing things instead of measuring sometimes, that I drive myself crazy. Now in hindsight, I should have measured all around the perimeter, made a mark everywhere I wanted a tack...but of course I started tacking and then started making marks when it looked like I was having trouble getting it even.... SO, what you get is a chair
that has the tacks uneven with handmade charm...,. ANDDDDD do you see the one lone silver tack? I didn't even know this until someone was studying the chair (closer than I did obviously!) and ask about it! I actually had one box of antique tacks, and one box of shiny gold tacks..same style but different finish. Time to improvise. I painted the gold ones black, waited 30 to 45 seconds and wiped them off.. Now the problem came in when I was short one lousy tack and I searched everywhere. Finally I found one, whew! painted it, and tacked it on, only to realize (after it was pointed out to me by someone who was studying the tacks a lot closer than I was...) that it was silver!!! Well, I will have to make a trip over to Linda's one of these days and replace the tack.
She said she doesn't care, but I do,..now that I know!
How long did it take me? Wow, I always think I am going to log my hours in but I forget and get sidetracked, so I will never know for sure. I would have to guess around 27 or 28 hours. What can I say, I get lost in the details.. :-)
If you have any questions about the process that I haven't explained, feel free to contact me by email. at firstname.lastname@example.org I am happy to help in any way. Oh, and sign up with your email if you would like to get updates when I post something new. Thanks for visiting!
Have a grateful day! Carolyn