Easy, adorable, no-sew re-upholstered footstool

beforeafterUpholstery is one of those DIY projects that can be really easy or really tough! I’ve done a couple chairs (one here), one with help from an upholstery class. I have a recliner I’d love to reupholster, but I am definitely not experienced enough to attempt it. However, there are some very simple upholstery projects that require no more than a staple gun, glue gun and some scissors – these include most dining room chairs, benches and footstools. These are the upholstery projects I – and you – can do!

Awhile back, I picked up this ugly footstool at a thrift shop for $5. I was drawn to it because the lid opens to reveal storage – reminded me of a mini piano bench. And the stool itself was in great shape – the wood was not scratched, the hinges worked perfectly, and it really seemed like it had never been used. (Probably because it was ugly!)

I had some leftover faux fur from a cape and muffs I had made for a friend’s wedding. I knew the fur would be perfect for this little bench that was just screaming for a girly makeover.

DSCF0505Materials

  • Faux fur or other fabric – enough to cover with a couple inches overhang on each side to staple down
  • Fleece
  • Padding (I used the existing padding – it was still in good shape)
  • Staple Gun
  • Screwdriver
  • Glue gun
  • Sample-size paints from the home improvement store
  • Primer
  • Paint brushes – small brush, larger brush and sponge brush for ombre legs

Step One: Prep
Remove the hinges and all fabric from the lid. Determine if the padding from the lid is in good enough condition to reuse. Clean the wood with TSP or similar cleaner. Sand wood with fine grit sandpaper to scuff up any stain or paint.

DSCF0516Step Two: Primer
Primer is key, especially if there was an existing finish on the bench. I had plenty of leftover primer from other projects. You can also use a paint/primer combo – but if you do, I recommend a little heavier sanding first to get through the existing finish. Coat the body, legs, and inside the storage area with primer. Odds are, the legs of the bench unscrew like mine did. I unscrewed them to apply the primer and paint to the body and then loosely screwed the legs back in to paint and primer those also. This keeps primer and pain from gunking up around the tops of the legs.

WP_20140317_010Step Three: Paint
Again, I had some leftover white paint from other projects. For the pink, I went to Lowes and got a $3 sample paint in a darker pink. My bench had a groove running along the bottom edge. This was perfect for me to paint pink. If you don’t have any such details, you can always use painters tape to create a stripe. Or just keep it solid.

For the legs, I wanted to do an ombre pink, starting darker at the bottom of the legs, moving lighter as I went up. I used a couple paper plates to mix the dark pink with the white to blend three shades of pink. Starting with the lightest shade, I painted the entire leg. When that dried, I started a third of the way down or so with the medium pink paint and a sponge brush, blending in the medium pink. Then, after that dried, I sponged on the dark pink. It turned out as good as I had hoped.

DSCF0575Step Four: Cover with fabric
Cut out the fabric you’re using to cover the top of the bench. Make sure you leave enough overhang on each side to fold over and staple down. If you are using faux fur as I did, there is a definite trick to cutting the fur without making a huge mess. DO NOT USE SCISSORS! Use a razor blade or knife to the back of the fur to cut just the backing. (see here for more instruction). Once you’ve cut to size, put the padding between the lid and the cover. Wrap the cover fabric around and staple down to the lid. I found, with the fur, that I did have to trim the fur a little shorter to have the staples stick better. Also, with thicker fabric, you may need to trim out the corners for them to lay a little flatter.

Step Five: Finish
To make the inside of the lid a little more appealing, I covered the center with white fleece. I trimmed the fur so that the fleece laid flatter, and then used a glue gun to attach it to the underside of the lid. Then, screwed the hinges back on and DONE!

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Reviving that plain old knife block

WP_001213Ok, so maybe the appearance of your knife block isn’t the biggest concern you have. It wasn’t mine either. But, after renovating the kitchen, having that ugly lump of wood on my beautiful new countertops was just a bummer. I’ve been wanting to experiment with chalkboard paint, and decided this was the perfect way to try it out!

What you need

A wooden knife block. If you don’t have one already, every thrift shop in the country has a few on hand. Pick one that matches the knives you have – or pick knives to fit the block!
Primer
Chalkboard paint – preferably spray paint
Chalk

 

Instructions

First, thoroughly clean the knife block. If you have TSP, this is best, as it will remove any grease stains. Let it dry.

WP_001215If your knife block has a magnet in the back for extra knives (mine did), you should cover the magnet with masking or painter’s tape.

Coat the block with the primer. If you’re using a spray primer, I would put two to three coats on. If you’re brushing it on, one coat should be sufficient. Follow the instructions to ensure sufficient dry time.

 

WP_001218Once your primer is dry, spray on the chalkboard paint! I do recommend the spray just because knife blocks are such odd surfaces, with all the holes. The spray will just coat easier. But feel free to brush it on also.

With a spray, you’ll need to do 3-4 coats. It is always best to do very thin coats with the spray, as it can easily drip or run down the sides.

Let the paint dry completely. Remove the tape, if you used it. Decorate the sides with chalk, put the knives back in and voila! A fun update to your kitchen counter!

 

 

(Oh, and yes, I did write “Caution! Sharp!” on the knife block. I need reminders like those!)

My Kitchen Renovation–First Weekend

DSCF0284bSince the day I moved into my house 3 1/2 years ago, I’ve been dying to update the kitchen. I hate the laminate counters, with the fake wood look. I hate having a stovetop taking up a massive amount of counter space, with the tiniest oven known to man in the cabinet across the kitchen. While I like the solid oak cabinets, the color is dated and the hardware is dreadful.

After debating a few configurations, I settled on the least destructive. But, before I could do anything, I needed to find a 24” range oven. Standard size is 30”, but I have a small kitchen, and in order to keep the drawers I definitely wanted to keep, I settled for 24”. Anything’s larger than the old one anyway! Once I found one, hardly used, for $300 on Craig’s List, it was ready to start the kitchen renovation!

Here are my tasks (at a high level):

  1. Cut out the existing cabinet and remove the cooktop
  2. Wire up a new outlet.
  3. Insert the 24” Range in it’s place
  4. Build up the piece on the left side, against the wall, to support a thin countertop
  5. Refinish the cabinets with white paint 
  6. Put on fabulous new hardware
  7. Get new countertops installed
  8. Paint the walls a cheery yellow
  9. Install a tile backsplash – subway tile with green accent
  10. Build new cabinets or open shelving above the new range, to include the range hood

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