Gold Dipped Armchairs {AKA- The Chairs That Made Me Cry}

Thursday, December 5, 2013 -

I sell most of the furniture I make-over, so I don't typically share the price I originally bought it for. Some pieces I net a fat profit,  and some I barely break even. I don't want my buyers to see what I paid for the piece and think "Hey, I'm paying 5 times that! I got ripped off!" There are other materials and LOTS of labor to consider. Some pieces require a LOT of labor. These chairs happen to fall into that category. 

I will happily share that I picked them up for $5 each. Solid bentwood chairs for $5! I found a church that was clearing out a storage unit. They had literally, dozens of this and a different style chair. The other style is a high-back, dining chair. I picked up a set of 6 to pair with a table in my garage. (You can see them in the background)

They were in almost perfect condition. Just in need of a serious update! I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

 First, I removed the cushions, cleaned the frame and lightly sanded the wood. The frames then received several coats of black lacquer, giving them a smooth, high gloss finish. I then taped off the feet and brushed on 4 or 5 coats of metallic gold paint, giving them a "dipped" look. The whole frames where then sprayed with 3 coats of gloss lacquer.

Time to upholster the cushions.

I'll skip  reupholstering the seat cushion. I think everyone has at least seen that done before. Its pretty straight forward.

Once both seats were done, it was time to tackle the backs. I've upholstered chair backs before. You can see how I did a one here. Thinking this would go quickly, I saved this step for the night before I was to deliver my furniture to the doomed boutique. I chose poorly.

I started by busting out a cheap flat-head screwdriver, and shoving it in the seam between the welt (upholstery name for piping) and the fabric.

I wiggled them apart revealing my new worst enemy, flexible tack strip. It definitely has a purpose in the upholstery realm, but it is covered in nasty, sharp (probably tetanus covered) teeth and is a pain in the rump.

Remember when I said I thought this process would be easy? Well, I didn't realize that  the guy who put these backs together had a major love affair with staples, and obviously doesn't want his work screwed with. Admittedly, if I had a real staple remover and not just a dull screwdriver, the task wouldn't have been as bad. 

I stripped off each layer (removing copious amounts of staples holding each), down to the wood frame and making sure to save the evil crap tack strip. 

At that point, the back frames got the same paint treatment as the rest of the body and allowed to dry. 

Using the original fabric pieces as a pattern, I cut out my new upholstery from some cool black and white fabric I picked up from Joann's on sale. 

Next, I started to put everything back together. I followed the same steps I took to disassemble it, only in reverse. This is when things became stressful (explaining the lack of photos at this point). 

I did replace the foam for the seat backs. The foam was in okay shape, but due to the ridiculous amount of staples holding it down, it got a little maimed on the way out. That wasn't the hard part. 

The hard part was when it was 11 PM, I'm exhausted and it was time to reattach the metal tack strip. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that I hate my electric staple gun. I really do. I won't even bother to mention the brand at this time. Its bulky and powerless. 

You see those little holes? Well, you are supposed to fire at least one staple through each hole, anchoring it down to the wood below. Ready for your mind to be blown? Hardwood... is hard (I know, who would have guessed?). So, when you have a crappy, powerless, staple gun and you can't see the hole you are supposed to be lined up with, it causes difficulty to say the least. 

In fact, I had a 6" bruise on my shoulder for a week where I repeatedly pressed against the stupid staple gun, putting pressure on the back and begging it to fire. Hours later, I called it "good enough".

The next morning, I drug myself out of bed and put everything together. Here's what they ended up looking like.

I actually love the way they turned out. My favorite part is the gold paint dipped feet.

The welt around the backs is a little wonky in a couple spots. It was either the welt or my fingertips. My fingertips won. Its not so bad. Most people would never notice. Though being a perfectionist, I don't like looking at this photo.

In general, I'm really proud with how they turned out. I love the whole look.

Now the really sad part. 

One of these chairs was soaked at the doomed boutique. Apparently, some of the hardware from the tent must have rusted and poured red, rusty water all over the upholstery. When I can scrounge up some more of this fabric, its going to have to be completely re-done. My finger tips are already hurting.

Oh, well. They looked really pretty at my booth before the rain, and I get to share them with you fine people!

Linking at:

Common Ground
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  1. I am so, so sad!! Those are beautiful and all that work!!!!!


  2. I hear you and the staple thing! I really need to get some remover tools! They turned out great though!!

  3. Hi Elisha, I recently found your blog and am your newest follower! I also nominated you for a Liebster Award. I hope you'll accept! Here's the link:

  4. They look fantastic!!! Worth it don't you think?

  5. Elisha, I had to smile because I thought I was the only person who regularly sheds tears and inflicts injury upon herself during a seemingly harmless DIY project. Needless to say, the chairs look phenomenal! Great job, girl.

    1. Thanks Susan! I'll admit, I used some "choice words" putting these things together. I'm sure you've been there too.

  6. The chairs are AMAZING!! I hate it when a seemingly easy project turns way difficult! I am sad they were affected in the show, I when you re do them and sell them it will all be worth it!! You rock Elisha!

  7. What a makeover, you wouldnt even recognise these babies from the before photos! Of course people should pay 5 times what you did, you need to be paid for your time and work and the materials etc. Plus they are getting a one off unique piece that is sure to be a talking point. Great job :)

  8. I can totally sympathize with you - so many pieces of furniture have brought me to tears! But, they do look great - I just hate that you have to redo one!

  9. Your chairs are so AWESOME they made me cry! Sorry to hear of the DIY injury but incredibly happy you did what you do! Beautiful project! Thanks for sharing on the DIY Sunday Showcase

  10. Well, the end result is simply gorgeous! But wow, what a challenge!

  11. Who would have thought--those gold-dipped feet really make them look glamorous. (I gave up staples for old-fashioned tacks, I really hate pulling staples out!)

  12. I love how these turned out!! Beautiful work. I concur with you on everything (even mentioning the price. Totally get it!) I loathe redoing chairs for every last detail you mentioned. Hate it! I did get this really cool tool that comes in handy for removing staples, small nails, screws, etc. The handle looks just like that of a screwdriver, but the end looks like a mini claw hammer pry-thing. Don't you love my very technical terms? Anyhoo, works like a charm on chair seats. You should procure one. (If you need a pic, email me).

  13. Great chairs redone! If you hate the stapler, why don't you just invest in an electric? MUCH EASIER, although, after talking to the Ace Hardware guy, I discovered that the staples I was using were way to long for the job making my staples not go in all the way and/or crimped. I thought longer meant stronger, but I suppose they have sizes for a reason. Also, I recently needed a staple remover but couldn't find one locally. I bought a tack remover and it did the job GREAT! just tap it in with a hammer under the staple and it pops right out!!


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