I recently took on a DIY project to turn an old wrought iron table and chairs into a shabby chic furniture set I would actually want to use! One of the easiest ways I’ve found to be a better steward of the environment is by finding new uses for old items. Part of this is out of necessity – after moving into my first home, I have no money left for new furniture! However, refashioning old furniture items can be a lot of fun – and while sometimes the results don’t always turn out quite the way you want them, you still get that sense of pride every time you view your handy work!
Recently, I turned my attention to an old wrought iron table and chair set that came with the house I purchased. Appropriately, both are fixer uppers! The wrought iron table and chair set had been used inside the house, but to me seemed like the perfect piece to put outside on my large patio. We moved it out there – no small feat, considering the size of my door openings. Unfortunately, the set, which had already shown signs of serious ware,did not fare well on the patio. High humidity and a lot of rain caused the set to rust and mildew formed on the cushions almost immediately. I decided that updating and weatherizing the set was in order!Before – Not very inviting!
This turned out to be quite an undertaking, as I soon discovered that the set had been “updated” several times before. At least 3, to be exact! I imagine the previous owner also liked shabby chic furniture. There were layers and layers upon paint, and 3 layers of fabric stapled and taped on the cushions. (Yes, taped. You don’t want to hear the horror story of the amount of tape I have peeled off of just about everything in my new house. Previous homeowner seemed to have had a tape-fixation.)
The set needed a lot of TLC!I began the project by taking apart the chairs – an easy task that just involved unscrewing the wood pieces holding the cushions in place. I also removed the glass piece from the table. The chairs and table were then ready to be cleaned. I brought the chairs outside to do this, and sprayed them down with a mixture of water, vinegar, and dish soap. I used a sponge and clean water to wipe down the chairs. I repeated the same with the table.
After the table and chairs were dry, I lightly sanded them. They needed a serious sanding to remove all of the layers of chipping paint and provide a smooth surface, but I wasn’t about to purchase a sander or put in the elbow grease required to do this. I decided at this point that a “shabby chic” look was in order. An imperfect paint job would provide a nice antique finish!
After sanding everything was cleaned yet again. I purchased a white indoor/outdoor spray paint and clear anti-rust spray finish. After the white paint dried, I applied the clear finish. Unfortunately, the “clear” provided a somewhat yellow finish. So I just applied another layer of white when that was dry. No problem!The hard part was redoing the seat cushions. It took a lot of work to pry 3 layers of fabric off of the seat! The fabric was in such bad shape I ripped most of it off, leaving the staples. I used pliers to remove some of the pesky staples still holding fabric.
So many layers of old fabric!I purchased 2 yards of fabric online, and was really impressed by the selection out there! I don’t sew, so never knew how much choice there is in fabric. I selected a good quality outdoor fabric that would be easy to keep clean and free of mildew.
I was too cheap to purchase a staple gun, so opted for inexpensive upholstery nails. The wooden seat was apparently high quality, because it was nearly impossible to hammer these nails in! I also didn’t want to buy the correct upholstery tool. I worked a little at a time, and eventually over a week’s time finished the job.
I really liked the end result and thought it had a nice fresh look – all for about $35. Question of the day: Have you ever refinished furniture? How was the end result?