We have had such a productive day! I am so bouncily proud of what we've achieved. For my birthday, Rachel got me a 6 month subscription to a brilliant magazine called "Molly Makes". This month's issue arrived this morning as we were doing the housework, so I enjoyed perusing it in the car on the way to Sainsbury's. I was totally inspired by an article about Selina Lake, an interior designer. The pictures were AMAZING. It reminded us that we've been meaning for a while to re-upholster the grotty, paint-splattered cushions of our shabby, 30-year-old kitchen chairs. It seems a silly waste of money and carbon to buy a new set of kitchen furniture, when they are servicable and really comfy, but they do look quite grim:
We don't like the dark varnish on them either, so we decided that our first step would be to sand it all off. Well...we got through about half a leg by hand, then decided we needed to return to Bury to purchase an electric sander. (By this time, I'd also had my second design idea, so we needed to acquire some scraps of wallpaper too.)
It turns out that the sander was the best £22 we ever spent! We'd have had no hope trying to sand the whole chair by hand. Even WITH the sander, it took a long time and our wrists ached mightily. However, each time we saw a new section of wood freed from it's ghastly varnishy prison, we felt a fresh burst of inspiration to carry on!
Soon, it was all sanded down, and ready for step two...the new cushion cover. I realised that to get this to work would need considerable planning, so I drew a scale plan of the patches. Lots of good mathematical thinking.
This was followed by lots more maths as I carefully measured and cut all my little patches. The beauty of it is, we already had all of this fabric - some are very old scraps inherited from Mum's, some are lovely fat quarters acquired from various places. I chose the colours that would tie in with our brown, green and mocha coloured kitchen:
I then worked very patiently to sew all the pieces together, gradually building them into bigger and bigger pieces... until... Ta da!!!
Admittedly, it's not yet stapled down, since our stapler is too pathetic to get through the apparently very hard wood under the chair seat. But I am VERY pleased with out it looks! It's the most complex patchwork I've ever made up and true upcycling! Can't wait to get started on chair number two. Will have to wait though - don't think my arms would take any more sanding tomorrow! Besides, tomorrow, work on design idea number two will continue...
Design number two was inspired by a photograph on a Selina Lake design with a bookshelf. Every box is backed with a different vintage wallpaper, creating a colourful and vibrant look. As I walked into our house with our shopping, head full of this an other images, I spied our shoe store. It was the first item of furniture I built when we originally moved it, and it's very practical. A true IKEA spacesaver. But it is a bit...beige.
For this reason, after selecting our preferred sander, we spent some time playing in the wallpaper aisle of Homebase, choosing vintage wallpapers that fit in with the subtle colour theme of our hallway. The nice Homebase man said we could have a couple of feet of each paper that we liked for free, so we carefully tore ourselves strips the right size.
As you can see, tonight we used the leaf wallpaper. We actually practised first with newspaper, to make sure that the drawer would still fit once papered. Once we'd checked that, the process was as follows:
Step one: remove shoes from one drawer, clean draw with damp cloth and take apart using screwdriver, to leave you with just the wooden front.
Step two: cover the front with double sided sticky tape, getting it as close to the edges as possible.
Step three: lining it up equidistant from each side of the wallpaper, and as straight as humanly possible, and making sure the paper is the right way up, lie the draw on the paper. Stand on it to make it stick very firmly.
Step four: Carefully prepare the corners for folding by trimming off extra parts. Put more double sided sticky tape down the sides of the draw, and on the back. Very, very, very carefully, remove the plasticky top of the sticky tape and fold down. Slowly. One side at a time.
Step five: remember to poke holes through the paper for the spikes and screws that hold the drawer together!
Step six: re-attach the handle, being careful not to let the paper rip.
Step seven: sit back and enjoy!
Step eight: step further back, tidy up and really, really enjoy the view!
We're thinking we'll do the diagonal next, because that might be just enough. Don't want to over do our embellishing. We're so pleased with it! It is just too cute! The other wallpapers are gorgeous too - all their colours blended so well that it was easy to pick out lots that matched. The real beauty of it is that if one gets ripped or damaged, we can just nip to Homebase and choose another wallpaper to replace it with...for FREE!!!! Proper upcycling, I say!
NOTE: When finished later, it looked like THIS.