One of the reasons I love fall so much is because it’s time to harvest hydrangeas once again. We have two fairly big bushes, so we’re never at a loss for new stock. Except if you leave them on the bush a little too long after they get crispy… whoops! I lost one good batch from the back yard, but I still won the race from the one in the front.
I’ve written a post on how to harvest and dry hydrangeas HERE if you’re interested.
Anyway, I wanted to make a simple arrangement of some sort in between two chairs upstairs, so I fiddled around with some different ideas in my photo studio. The little cranberry pots are from the “dream house garage sale” so I was rather anxious to try something with them.
And as always, everything gets feline inspected before I get the go ahead. Nearly EVERY cat shot I get is slightly blurred. I do not have a handle on shutter speed yet it seems.
“All checks out ok here. You may proceed.”
Thanks Mr. Lake, I’m on it! And thanks for staying still for 2.75 seconds.
There was a reason I grabbed the aqua mason jars and the cranberry clay pots.
We were in bad need of a secondary upstairs chair. I deconstructed ours awhile back and.. well, it was one of those failed attempts. I always had to avoid taking pictures where the chairs sit because of the big fail. Annoying. But I could never find a nice comfy chair with a high back (my neck likes those type) that I liked.
And then I found this guy at the thrift. I actually kind of whined when I saw it. I was ok with the colour, but didn’t love the chair as a whole, but man was it comfy! Darn it anyway. The price was right, the upholstery was perfect, and it was squeaky clean so I knew it would do for now until I could figure out another plan for it or just get another one. It’s Survivor season by golly and we needed a good sit NOW. 🙂
And once I scooched (scootched? sckootched? I give up. spell check wants me to say scotched. Is that even a word?!) it into the house, it was meh. I felt a need to do a little something to calm the conservative look down.
I just found a couple of coffee bean burlap sacks, folded them along the edges and tucked them into place on both chair backs. That’s (kinda) better! For now.
Not a bad match!
Even the little cranberry chair got hit. For now.
And there’s the little vignette to the right. Two old stacked radios, a few jars, hydrangeas, one of the cranberry pots and called it done.
So! These two wing chairs? They are both in PERFECT condition. Not a flaw in the upholstery. So know what I’m debating on?
Painting them. But I’m a little afraid… I don’t love the idea of sitting on dried paint. Is it crunchy when you do? Does it ever crack and come off? What paint should I use?
Or I could slipcover them. But… that would entail finding my sewing machine pedal. Not sure I’m up for that. I like the excuse of a lost pedal just fine. Maybe hire someone.. now we’re talkin’!
Or I could just get them upholstered in some funky way. But I didn’t want to spend a ton on two chairs I don’t really love. And then watch me find two I really DO love after I go through all that. Right.
Until then, we are ready for Survivor! All that’s left is the cat stamp of approval.
So I’m curious! What would you try with these two chairs?
35 thoughts on “Playing with fall hydrangeas and a (very) blue chair”
Your pictures are gorgeous… where’s the blur? I am no photographer, though my pictures are much better now thanks to a lot of your tips. Only problem now is that the old eyes aren’t seeing them clearly anyway!
I would buy a painters dropsheet or two and either reupholster or just drape over and then splatter paint it in your desired colours (not so much that it would be crunchy)…..
I may be one in a million that says this, but I wouldnt do a thing with them. I think they are beautiful the way they are, and how you put on the burlap sacks….well, I think they are perfect! You are so creative and your post has given me ideas on a “very pink” chair that I have, that is somewhat similar to your “very blue” chair. 🙂
Somewhere, I will try to find the post, it was said that to make it not crunchy or cracky…our usage of adjectives is awesome!…anyway, Fabric medium keeps the fabric from getting too hard. Sand any particularly rough parts. Sand lightly with a fine grit sandpaper. In the direction of the grain, if possible…another person said use fabric softner:
1. Spray chair down with water/ fabric softener mixture
2. Using an old paint brush paint the chair, really rubbing in to the fabric
3. Use an old cloth and rub the fabric in one direction
4. Let dry for at least 24 hours
*Repeat*…I am still waiting to see a sure fire method.
I really love the blue chair just as it is. I found the exact chair in pink at my local thrift shop yesterday and I was so excited! Mine was kinda crusty though, but after 2 hours with the upholstery scrubber, it’s perfect.
Go ahead and paint them!!! It works really well and no, it’s not crunchy. Once you wax them the fabric softens nicely. Here’s a tutorial on how:
Try the chalk paint. I’ve seen several done, and it works pretty good. I’ve also seen them done with regular paint–some with an additive from the hobby store and some just plain. Maybe try it on a small piece first.
I also love a comfy wing back chair. I saw an inspiration picture
and they tucked an old lace tablecloth around the chair and just
enough color came through to look really cool. Pinned in just the
right places and VOILA (is that correct?)the right amount of romance
to offset those beautiful Hydrangeas!
I actually like them the way they are, too. With the flowers and the blue glass jars and the cranberry pots, you really pulled it all together. Their mis-matchiness (talk about “is that a word?”) works with your stuff and approach to life. I can’t even see you having two matched chairs (and that was meant as a compliment!)…
I actually have 2 similar chairs that were my Mom’s so, even though they are not my style, I can’t part with them. They are the most perfect 1980’s mauve you have ever seen. 🙂 I slipcovered them with stretch slipcovers from surefit and not only do they look great, they stay put so my OCD doesn’t kick in. And they are reasonably inexpensive (google for coupons). And I like their fabric options- some pretty neutrals that I can dress up with pillows & throws. I just thought I’d throw that out there for you cause I certainly feel your pain!
My cats LOVE my wing back chairs – a little too much. They are the one place where the cats can’t quite control their claws. The high backs and side wings are so inviting for stretching and their claws get stuck even when they are trying not to. The velvet is perfect for cats and would stay nice for a long time. I would do a funky slipcover. But use tightly woven fabrics to avoid claw problems. There are a lot of fabric painting tutorials out there. I would probably use chalk paint. Pinterest Addict did a tutorial about a pump spray, and then I’ve seen another tutorial about another spray paint/dye that they used on a damask. The main problem with them would be that your chairs are darker colors that are more challenging to cover completely.
I painted floral fabric chairs years ago.. I primed, painted one coat of latex, sanded very lightly, painted another coat of latex and they didnt feel scratchy, didnt crack, sold them to a friend and she put them in her family room with 3 :dare I say, rather rowdy youngins’::
they climb on them, eat, play whatever and she uses a damp cloth to wipe them and they are back to clean.
I had no tutorials at that time but I’ve seen a lot of folks to it and write a tut:) I take that as a compliment lol..
so thats what I’d do till I ran across a couple chairs I was in luv with…
So glad you asked! My 2 experiences are on my blog, but in a nutshell, (1) I tried Design Master spray paint on two Queen Anne wing chairs with sift nubby upholstery. They worked out very well, and when the paint was good and dry, I took a soft brush (a bath brush) and brushed the upholstery nap, and now it is pretty soft. It wasn’t terribly hard or crunchy anyway, and it does not rub off. (2) my other project was to paint a leather chair seat and arms with chalk paint. I used the chalk paint on the leather like a primer and then a latex paint over it. Last I waxed it with clear wax. The leather chair was old, and so there were a few little cracks in it, which are starting to come through a bit, but I am going to give it a bit more wax this weekend. I think the leather had been ignored for many years, and it a bit dried out.
I have not yet painted fabric with chalk paint, but everyone says (including the ASCP book) to dilute it half and half. Then wax and you get a soft leather like finish.
I will be curious to see what you do. I like slips on chairs like these, and I probably wouldn’t paint if slips are an option. I have two chairs I have been using for ten years, the big red toile wingchairs you can also find on my blog, and I covered them using a no-sew method right over the existing upholstery. You will need batting that has a heat activated glue on one side, your fabric, and a quilt-taking gun, as well as quilting pins and fabric glue. I also did a sofa using that method, which I gave to my son. Both held up very well.
Let me know if I can offer any other help.
That is “soft” nubby upholstery.
I like the burlap look, especially on the blue chair. I did have a friend who spray painted a chair and it turned out great. You would have never known it had been painted. I’m pretty sure it was a spray paint especially for fabric. Also, I really LOVE all the rusty gears you use in your decorating. Good luck with the chairs and thanks for all your great inspiration.
I LOVE HYDRANGEAS!! They are sooo gorgeous! Your’s are so pretty! Love the colors! You do such an amazing job!!!! Thanks for the inspirations Donna!
The hydrangeas are beautiful and I am pinning the blue chair. Love how you recovered it…to die for!!!
Soooo cool! Love the chair just as is, but what a coincidence, yesterday I got a post on painting upholstery! She tried chalk paint, and a textile spray, I think. I was interested because at first she sprayed water as directed, then the paint, and it didn’t show, so she stopped spraying the water first, and 2 coats later, the chair was covered. I don’t understand the waxing…on fabric? But what a neat idea to paint upholstery.
Do you remember on Trading Spaces when Hildi painted upholstered chair, / or sofa..and everyone freaked out! I couldn’t believe the uproar…, who knew?
This is the link to the post from yesterday! I think I originally saw it partially on Roadkill Rescue..
But I love how you figured how to incorporate style with the burlap!
I’ve wondered about painting upholstery as well – I don’t think it would be very comfortable. You could try painting the seat on a padded kitchen chair or just a pillow made of similar fabric & see how it feels.
I think you should reupholster them. That way you could get exactly the look you want ( and in cat-friendly fabric, if there is such a thing, lol). If you screw around w/ painting, waxing, slipcovering, etc. you’ll probably never escape the nagging feeling of, this is OK but I wish I’d done that. In other words back to square one. Upholstery is not that hard and the lines on your chairs are simple. I’m positive you are clever enough to accomplish it yourself. I would say, just make sure you choose a good quality upholstery grade fabric (NOT drapery weight) or it will show wear faster than you ever imagined. If you get a friend to help the project will go much faster. Good luck!
Donna…I would go to Rachel Ashwell’s or one of those sites that sell soft, washable, white (natural) linen or duckcloth slipcovers. I love them and they would look AWESOME in your room!
Off to go find this! 🙂
Finally, some color! I challenge you to do nothing with the blue chair. If you paint it, it will get stiff and not be so comfortable. Decorate your room around it. Get or make some nice pillows for the sofa that have some blue in them to offset the color. The red chair, I’m not so crazy about. You can paint that one. Really, try to fix the room with the chair as a focal point. Ann
I knew you’d be proud of me! hahaha
I’d do what you did. Nothing permanent,,,wrap the bottom cushion and the back (tuck it as you did the burlap) with a fun fabric, and then make some arm protectors in the same print or complimentary color. You could make an elasticized skirt too, using a cut down bedskirt that you could easily remove. I’d also look for a small ottoman and cover that as well…or a little tufted stool. LOVE the color.
I recently scored 4 chairs from a local Hotel that was remodeling – for FREE. Same deal, EXCELLENT shape, but ugly color (dark green/plaid) I ordered duck cloth slipcovers in natural (surefit had them buy one get the second half off). The made a simple elasticized skirt for each, to give them more interest. Two have a chocolate brown burlap skirts (I have 150 yards of 60″ wide burlap left over from the tablecloths we made for my daughters wedding this summer). And two have a dark brown and coral paisley skirt (same amount of paisley left over, from table cloth toppers). Then each chair has a pillow made of the contrasting fabric.
Tossed a couple of faux fur throws on two of them, and I LOVE the look.
Check out the chairs in my blog post http://pattyboydstitches.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-strawberry-patch-pop-up-barn-sale.html
I think you will love what you see! The photos were taken at the Strawberry Patch Pop-Up Barn Sale in Hartsville, TN. Christy Jo is so talented at repurposing old furniture. Hope it gives you a little inspiration. However, I love the coffee bean quick fix you did. Very nice.
I love love love my hydrangeas! Yours are lovely!!
As far as the chairs go, I painted two of my chairs. Yes, they are a little bit stiff, but my chairs were kind of that way to begin with. I painted mine over a year ago and there’s absolutely no chipping or other wear. I don’t have a problem with mine, but as I recall some of the other tutorials I found online gave suggestions on how to soften the finish (sanding?). Anyway, I am more than thrilled with how mine turned out and pleased that it was such an inexpensive project. Everyone who sees them is amazed that they are painted. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
You, my dear, can turn your hand at anything! How about a little slip cover lesson or two and these two chairs will be spectacular. The shapes are great and they look like a pair. If they’re not quite the same, so much the better! You don’t want them looking shop bought do you?!? Coffee sack or grain sack upholstery, they will be fab. x
I’d leave the blue one alone…I say that because I’ve been hunting one to do this to!
I love to mix and match things for color and pop but if you want to change it, I would imagine there is fabric paint but I don’t know much about it and share your concerns.
Have you thought about dyeing it another color?
Maybe even leaving part of it blue and dyeing only part or parts of it with a complimenting or even a contrasting color. I think the blue is light enough that you could get away with dyeing. Perhaps a pink or red will turn the blue to purple, which would look smashing together.
Personally, I like blankets, scarves, re-covering cushions and store-bought slip-covers, so I like your burlap idea, maybe follow through with same for the cushions or with a complimenting or contrasting color. Fabric is cheap, but I do not sew, so safety pins on the underside is what you’d find at my house if I can’t just tuck it in. LOL
Why not re-upholster them yourself, in fabric you choose? You know enough about tools to use an upholstery gun. You are all about DIY, so of course no need to pay for it!
You can get upholstery fabric at steep discounts all over the web, just do some online shopping.
Reupholstering is EASY and the end results are awesome! I’ve done 2 of my couches, an ottoman, a bench, headboard, barstools… The only see in was for the couch cushions.
While your furniture is deconstructed you can add padding, change the feet, or add storage etc. I’ve changed the look of a couch and added storage to both it and the ottoman for nothing!
Anyway… Just something to think about as you mull over your options.
I’ve seen a few DIY’s on Pinterest where ppl just take some fabric of their choice (IMHO I can see a neutral colour or burlap coffee sack-type material. Neutrals hide cat hair too…bonus!) Then, just keep pulling the fabric tight and affixing with a staple gun. You could get fancy too with upholstery tacks if you wanted.
Just a thought…
P.S. Love the ‘new’ trunk/coffeetable!!
They would be perfect covered in canvas dropcloths! That would fit in with your funky vibe, and also go with EVERYTHING! You could probably get away with tucking, stapling and like that without actually SEWING a stitch~~that’s what I plan to do with my own fake velvet high back wingback chairs. Just as soon as I get over my surgery I had Monday.
Beautiful! Absolutely love it!