May {Reader} Thrift Challenge REVEAL: Upcycle A Thrfited Chair

We are on month FIVE of the monthly Thrift Challenge series and today is the best day -- REVEAL DAY!! To catch up on past months, click HERE. This month we invited reader's to participate along with us, and wowza, they did not disappoint!!

Dina ( challenged us to upcycle a thrifted chair. I'll share my challenge results, followed by eleven submissions that will leave you wanting to paint, reupholster, yarn-wrap, or beer-cap-cover your own chair! 

I bought these two vintage metal outdoor chairs (aka motel chairs) off Craig's List last summer for $25 total! I gently sanded the areas with rust or peeling paint, then cleaned the each chair really well with soap and water using a regular scrub brush and a toothbrush to get in the tight spots. I applied 2-3 coats of primer, let dry overnight, then used Rustoleum's Ultra Cover 2x White Gloss on the arms/legs. Once I thought that was dry (like a measly hour later), I taped off the arms and legs using painter's tape and newspaper. I gave each chair 2-3 coats of Rustoleum's Ultra Cover 2x in Seaside and Sun Yellow. I let this dry for about 5 hours then removed the tape and the newspaper...

Turns out the arms/legs weren't completely dry when I wrapped them, therefore I was left with several noticeable spots of newspaper imprint. Gahhhh! I should've waited much longer than ONE hour before taping them off. Stupid! I was anxious to finish them, so I just layed a towel over the chair seat/back and hit the arms/legs with a few more shots of the white gloss to hide the newspaper imprints.

We now have some additional seating on our porch! I just need an outdoor rug to eliminate the awful, earbleed-causing screech of the metal against our concrete floor.

And now for the reader submissions!!

ENTRY #1: Kelly | Cleveland, OH | Great Lake Outfitters

Kelly Says: I found this Ikea Henriksdal chair at the side of the road. The bottom springs were broken, but it was an easy fix with a hammer and some nails. After some light cleaning, I took chair apart {legs off and the back and set were two pieces}. A good friend of mine gave me to vintage feed sacks that I used to cover the chair. One sack was used to wrap the back and part of the other was used for the seats. I cleaned the feed sacks as much as i could but some of the old marks/stains just did not come out but I think it adds character. I just cut and trim the sack and used a staple gun to put them in place. I bought some olive green upholstery trim from a estate sale for $1.50 and used it to cover where some of my staples were. Took me about five hours and all I spent was a $1.50!! 

ENTRY #2: Megan | Sharon Center, OH

Megan says: I found the chair at a thrift store (about a year ago) for $3. I used paint, stripper, and wood glue that I already had. I stripped off about four thick layers of paint from this bad boy (cream, black, green, and yellow), which took quite a long time. I sanded it and re-glued/reinforced the spindles before taping it off and spray painting it. The project was spread out between about 3 weeks (because I have been so busy this month!).

ENTRY #3: Carmen | Cleveland, OH

Carmen says: I had been looking for a bright and happy seating for my home office when I came across this old alumni chair at the Salvation Army for $20. I started by roughly sanding down the surface and then I spray painted the whole thing white (2 cans). I had some left over yellow spray paint from another project and used it to lightly coat the top and bottom of the chair to get an ombre look (1/2 bottle). I bought some needlepoint thread from Michael's and used it to wrap the spindles to give the chair more color and a bit of fun. This took WAY longer then I anticipated. So much so that after an evening of binge watching HGTV and wrapping the spindles I just had to stop for my sanity's sake. I'm going break for a few days and then finish off the rest of the spindles with the remainder of the yellow, turquoise and pink thread. 

ENTRY #4: Christine | Cleveland, Oh | Mama's Happy Stuff

Christine says: I got the chair at a barn sale with my friend, Leah. It was hiding in the part of the barn they had made a party room in, but they said pretty much anything was for sale. When we were paying for our stash, a goat walked up and started smelling our piles! Anyway, it was $5. I've had it for at least a year. I used two $1 paint brushes (one for each coat because I HATE washing brushes so I just toss them) and one of those cute sample color paints from Lowes. I pretty much love it. It's the perfect color for it's new house- my dining room!

ENTRY #5: Kelli | Norman, OK | Kelli's Kitchen

Kelli says: I got the card table set at a yard sale in the boondocks and the brown metal chairs are from the thrift store on 23rd, family thrift. That's very old contact paper on the metal seats - YUK! So, I bought primer, colors and a shower curtain from Walmart. Then we sanded, painted, cut fabric, and attached it. 3 hours work time about 12 altogether drying time. Cost? $25 total!

ENTRY #6: Anna | Cleveland, OH | Cleveland Renaissance Man

Anna says: I bought this rusty metal stool at an estate sale for $10. I scrubbed it clean, taped off the areas I wanted to keep chippy, then spray painted it white. I sealed everything with a matte finish clear coat spray paint to prevent it from further chipping. 

ENTRY #7: Cristin | Buffalo, NY | Eve of Reduction

Cristin says: I purchased this 1930s sewing rocker at an estate sale for $40. It originally had a cane weave for the seat and chair back. This had all been removed at the time of purchase. I decided to replace the cane weave with a wooden board, topped with foam and soft, wool felt. I hand embroidered the felt to jazz it up. The back of the rocker was a design challenge because it was curved. There wasn't a way to curve my board, so I used that to my design advantage. To pull the fabric out to fill the gap from the curve, I used the holes from the cane weave to create a "corset" across the back of the chair.

ENTRY #8: Dina | Akron, OH | Dina's Days

Dina pulled this chair out of the trash in an all-star creepy fashion! Go HERE to read her full blog post on how this chair made it home and how she painted it. 

ENTRY #9: Kristin R. | Cleveland, OH

Kristin says: I corrupted a little church chair! I got this at a garage sale ages ago for one dolla!!! I was going to paint it and decided it had the perfect indents for beer caps!! Original plan was to do the seat and back however the shellac drips right between those slats of wood! So it's just the seat for now :) I may cover the rest of this bad boy with paper beer be continued...

ENTRY #10: Laura S. | Akron, OH | Lisa and Laura Write

Laura says: These stools were given to us after they didn’t sell at a friend’s garage sale almost ten years ago. For whatever reason, they’ve survived a few moves, decor changes and surrounding upgrades. We’ve actually gone so far as to cut them down from bar height to counter height to keep them in our house. No clue why. In the beginning, they were espresso and then white and now white with a fun, more comfortable, durable print.

Stools: Free
Raincoat Fabric: $6.37 for half a yard at Hobby Lobby
Batting: Leftover from previous project
White Paint: Leftover from previous project

Super-easy upgrade. I wanted something more comfortable than raffia (or whatever the material is called) so I went hunting for a durable, outdoor fabric. Then I landed on this vinyl coated fabric used to make raincoats. Washable, more comfortable and cute. Perfect! I simply, unscrewed the screws holding the tops on the stools and covered first with batting and then with the fabric. A staple gun secured the pieces in place. After a fresh coat of white paint to hide the wear, I was finished!

ENTRY #11: Laura H. | Ashtabula, OH | Silk 'n' Treasures, LLC

Laura says: I recently began refurbishing furniture for my business in Ashtabula. I will have a booth at the June Cleveland Flea. I started with 2 identical chairs that had to be slightly altered so they would fit together properly. I purchased them at our Salvation Army store for $8.52 total; they were part of a five piece set, four chairs and a table. I then sanded them, put a coat of primer on them followed by 2 coats of dove grey paint. The seat is made of plywood with 2" foam and a cute print material. Total cost for this project was $36.04. 


Inspired?? I am!! I think a re-upholstered chair is in my future! GREAT JOB to all these ladies! One will be chosen at random on Monday, June 2nd to receive this print by one of my favorite artist's, Katie Daisy

This giveaway is not sponsored by Katie Daisy.

Before you rush off to the thrift store or go out trash pickin' for a chair that you can redo, be sure to stop over at Dina's Days to see the reveal of this outfit I challenged her and her readers to recreate. 

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  1. Wow! They are all so cute!! The little polka dotted card table and chairs is just too stinking cute!! Kudos to all!!!

  2. Oh my goodness! What great projects! I love yours Katie and the others are ingenious in their own ways - like the one where the colored twine/thread/yard was used and the recovering with the rice bag - they are ALL gorgeous! I'm so thrilled to be included in the group - thank you for another great challenge. I hope to participate in the next one as well!!

    1. Thanks for participating again, Kelli! The use of a SHOWER CURTAIN was genious!!!

  3. Unbelievable! What a great idea. Well done everyone.

  4. These are amazing! I have those same stools (Entry 10) and they've been giving my boys slivers so I've wanted to recover them. Raincoat fabric - brilliant!!!

    1. You'll have to send me a pic if you recover your slivery stools :)

  5. I love these chairs! We are DIYers and love to give new life to old items. Great job!

    1. Lisa you'll have to join us for the next Reader Challenge! Probably sometime in early Fall!

  6. AnonymousJune 02, 2014

    I love your motel chairs, and I think the colors you chose are much better than what they had before, especially with the white legs/arms. Great job.
    Dawn @ We Call It

    1. Thanks Dawn! I had origianlly planned to paint both chairs yellow, but then decided to do a different color on the second one. My husband was at Home Depot and I told him to choose whatever color he wanted -- he did a great job choosing the turquoise color!!

  7. Wow, I love the colors you chose for your metal chairs. Eye-popping!

  8. Looks fantastic! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams, starts on Fridays :D Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

  9. Thank you for sharing this post at City of Creative Dream's City of Links on Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again this week :)


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