Old wicker arm chair makeover tutorial

There are so many ugly chairs that with just a lil bit of TLC, they can be beautiful. Take this one for example. 

This is the finished chair:

So, in my stupidity, I didn’t take a before picture, however, I did take one of a similar chair. 

Similar chair:

This was the color of the chair cover of our chair. It was the old 70’s terry green color, like the chair you see in every grandparents house, you know the one:

Step 1: Unscrew the bottom cushion from the chair.

Step 2: Paint the whole chair, including the wicker. We used Annie Sloan’s Country Grey, which we buy from a dealer in Chicago, called DiLucca Designs. I talk frequently about how I love Annie Sloan. See I am an instant gratification kind of gal and don’t like projects to take forever. When you have to sand, etc. projects take FOREVER. So, the reason I am willing to spend a little more on Annie Sloan is because it takes 1/3 of the time and you only really need one coat. Here is the chair almost all the way painted.

Step 3: Wax the chair with Johnson’s Wax. You can buy the wax just about anywhere (Home Depot, Target, Lowe’s, Etc.). I have the product list below.

Step 4: We took the arm pieces off of the chair and recovered them with leather. Cut the leather almost to the exact size of the piece. Don’t undercut or it is hard to fix.

Step 5: Nail on brass tacks to keep the leather on and create a cool look. We got them on Amazon for a super great price! This was the first time we used them and we think they look nice. I am sure it will get easier the more we do them.

Step 6: Remove the fabric from the cushion. Then, we put the new fabric underneath and cut it to the same size.  Give yourself a little extra room as it is easy to cut off afterwards.

Step 7: Go over some of the areas that look like there would have been wearing and stain it with a big brush. Old put a tiny bit on. You can always add more, can’t take it away.

Step 8: Staple gun the fabric to the piece. If the cushion has gotten soft and not so plump, you can add padding to it. Fortunately this chair already had a great cushion. As you can see, we recovered it with green velvet that we bought off of eBay.

Step 9: Screw the pad back onto the chair. Should be pretty simple.

Step 10: Sit down and enjoy your work!

Products we used:
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Country Grey (free, we already had it. It is $36 new, but lasts for several projects)
Johnson’s Paste Wax (free, we already had it. It is $6.94 new and lasts FOREVER!)
Briwax Paste stain (free, we already had it. It is $11.99 new and also lasts FOREVER!)
Leather (Got a big piece on eBay for $39 and used just a tiny bit. Lots left over for future projects.)
Velvet (A friend gave us this piece of velvet, so free!)
Brass Tacks ($8.99 for 100 of them, already had them though.)
Old chair ($5 at Salvation Army)

Total for chair: $10 (if you just take out a portion of the leather price)

Thank you Carol for letting us use your awesome workspace to do this project! Check her blog out, Redeemed Vintage!

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  • fantastic, meg!

    i love that you chose leather AND velvet for this project–sooooo much more character.

    come visit soon.


    August 22, 2012 at 1:18 am
    • I just signed up for your blog! Looking forward to reading your awesome posts!

      August 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm

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