Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Projects!!

This is the first warm sunny weekend we've had since....well, I can't really remember when.  September, maybe?  This means not only is Spring FINALLY here, but so is the beginning of garage sale season.  So yesterday morning we headed out bright and early (like 6:30 am) in search of glorious riches.  Overall the search was pretty disappointing, however we did come home with 2 smaller furniture pieces to add to our ever-growing project stash.  This meant that I really needed to get off the couch and finish the last of my winter projects- an old antique stool we found for $4.00 at a secondhand store in Madison a few months ago.
 The stool itself is in great shape and sturdy (whew! no structural repairs!), but it was desperately in need of a new seat.  When we bought it, it was covered with a disgustingly filthy, yellowed piece of foam and a torn, stained piece of fabric.  It was so gross I just ripped it off right away without waiting to take a "before" picture.  Underneath that was a fiberboard seat made to look like faux leather (same stuff we used on our dining room chairs, but old and dried out), and under THAT was a filthy piece of old canvas that pretty much disintegrated when I touched it.
 And under THAT was the original cane seat which, despite the fact that it was falling apart, was a NIGHTMARE to remove.  The ends of the legs were covered with rubber caps which appear to be cane tips.  Somewhere there is a nursing home full of people who have been robbed of the tips to their canes.  These things were painted on, which made them a pain to remove- I finally had to just hack them apart with a utility knife and peel them off.  For those of you who know me too well, I will address your inevitable comment by saying that I too am amazed I didn't get sidetracked by a trip to the ER for stitches.

I could have stripped, primed and painted this thing, BUT it was already covered with SEVERAL layers of globbed on paint and I really did not want to deal with taking all of that gunk off.  

So I just sanded the whole thing to smooth off the old paint drips, washed it down with soap and water, and painted over all of it.  Rustoleum makes these great pre-mixed paints, so for this project I used their heavy duty indoor/outdoor paint in glossy black.  Because it can be used on wood, metal, masonry, plaster, or unglazed ceramics, the consistency of the paint is a little different.  It's super THICK, which means far fewer drips, but it's also harder to get a smooth finish.  

I decided to upholster the seat using a fabric remnant we found at the store for under $5.  I chose it because I liked the color and pattern, but also because it is an outdoor fabric so it should hold up really well and be somewhat stain resistant (important since you can't exactly toss a stool in the washing machine).  For the seat I used a piece of 1/4 in particle board that Lance brought home from work for me and some 1" high-density foam from the fabric store.  There's a good tutorial on DIY upholstering here, if you would like more info.

The brackets on the bottom are for attaching it to the inside of the base later on. I've done square upholstery before and had no problems, but as I found out from this project, doing something round is WAY different.  So while I'm not thrilled with how it turned out, it's going to be on the bottom and not even noticeable, so I'll just chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. 

And so, here is the final product- all ready to go to the antique mall:

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