French Country Chairs DIY

by Sherry

I am starting the new year with my most recent  project. Thanks to Between Naps On The Porch for hosting Metamorphosis Mondays, Thrifty Decor Chic for having us for her Before and After Party, Reinvented for her Trash to Treasure Party , Decormama‘s  Frugalicious Fridays and last but not least
The girl creative, Just something I whipped up .  Whew, thats a lot of partying!

I purchased these two identical french country chairs off Craigslist for $17 each. They were really sad looking with outdated upholstery and a maple Early American finish. The chairs were very well made and I knew I could transform them.  Below is a BEFORE picture. Sorry, I  got so excited about working on the chairs I forgot to take a picture prior to priming them. You’ll have to use your imagination and think of the maple finish that was popular in the 1960s.

Before and during priming
The After Photos
I first lightly sanded the chairs and ripped off the plaid fabric. Next I primed with Kilz and painted the chairs a soft grey/green that was mixed from several leftover cans of paint I already had in the garage. The chairs were sanded for the distressed look and Ralph Lauren smoke glaze applied.
 I knew I wanted a heavy canvas material for the cushions but after pricing the fabric at a local shop I knew I could find an alternative fabric for considerably less than $34.00 per yard! I picked up a large canvas drop cloth at Home Depot for $13.00 and it turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. Now keep in mind I DO NOT SEW! I had to actually buy a sewing machine for this project. The sewing machine was cheaper than paying someone to make the cushions. It took a little trial and error but I finally got the cushions sewn and the fabric attached to the bottom with upholstery tacks.
 I found a design I liked , modified the design and tried applying it with iron-on transfer. Well, of course I don’t have the right kind of printer and the design was  really light and a large part of the design was missing .  I used left over fabric paint and went over the design that was visible and free handed the rest of it.  Okay I know about now you hard core crafters are having a good laugh and  I don’t blame you. This little project took me almost two weeks to complete and I know you hard cores could have done it in a few hours. Hubby must have asked me at least 20 times why I don’t just pay someone to finish the cushions.  I guess he got tired of hearing me mumble under my breath and throw the fabric on the floor and stomp on it. Anyways my DIY project is completed and I am happy with how it turned out. Just don’t expect to see me sew or paint another pillow for a very long time.
Cost of my project: 2 chairs @ $34.00, drop cloth at $13.00 , useless transfer paper $5.00 & upholstery tacks $6.00. Total = $58.00. All the paint was left over from other projects. I did buy a sewing machine for $89.00 but I have already used it for a small project.  Hopefully I’ll get over my fear of sewing and tackle some easy projects in the future.

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Tara January 4, 2010 - 7:58 am

These look Great! I am so impressed with the finished product. You did a wonderful job.

do it yourselfer January 4, 2010 - 2:13 pm

Fabulous! Love these chairs! Great job!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) January 4, 2010 - 2:34 pm

What a wonderful transformation. I just love the new look. They are really beautiful. Hugs, Marty

Karen January 4, 2010 - 4:44 pm

Very nice! I like the nail heads!

molly susan strong January 4, 2010 - 5:04 pm

Rock on my friend. I am not a sewer either but I own the same stencil! Ha. Ilove it.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions January 4, 2010 - 5:20 pm

These are great, Sherry! Good for you for hanging in there throughout the project. Love that you used dropcloths and the design.

Shannon P. January 4, 2010 - 9:22 pm

I am in love with your chairs! Seriously! Love them.

Mary Ellen (megardengal) January 4, 2010 - 10:57 pm

Great chair redo! I love the stencil and that you used dropcloths- my they are being used for everything these days!

Lesley @ The Design File January 4, 2010 - 10:21 pm

Really fantastic project. I just love it! I'd love to feature it on my Sunday blog roundup at

I'll email you about it.

-Lesley @ TheDesignFile

Lisa January 5, 2010 - 6:42 pm

I think the chairs look awesome!

deborah January 6, 2010 - 12:17 am

What a SCORE to find those fabulous chairs for $17 EACH? Wow, & then to be so creative with the upholstering. Really, really lovely. Thanks for such an inspiring post. We will be back! Deborah & Hubs

My Shabby Rose Cottage January 6, 2010 - 3:00 am

Love the chairs…you did a marvelous job! You have to start somewhere!! I sew and paint for $$$….but have been doing it since 1969…and I threw away lots before anything looked good enough. You are very brave…keep up the good work! You will love your sewing machine! There isn't anything you can't do with fabric and paint!!!

Warm Hugs,

Kimm at Reinvented January 6, 2010 - 12:29 pm

Yo go Sherry, that chair is beautiful! We'll get over our fear of sewing together. 🙂 Thanks for linking up!

Janice & Don January 7, 2010 - 5:17 pm

Your Chairs are awesome! I seriously love, love, love them~ and thanks for explaining how you did it (and being honest about it) so I know what to expect when I try it. Thanks for the inspiration!

[email protected] Gal January 8, 2010 - 2:41 am

Those chairs had a great design and you really brought it out, great job!

French-Kissed January 8, 2010 - 5:13 am

What a fabulous transformation…these chairs look absolutlely wonderful! It takes courage to tackle a project like this and good for you for teaching yourself to sew. That sewing machinge will be a fine investment. Lovely project.

Rene January 11, 2010 - 2:19 pm

Beautiful! I really admire you for taking on this project. By looking at the chair, I would never know it was a first time effort.

Congrats on your nice mention from The Design File.

Blue Creek Home January 12, 2010 - 1:47 am

I can't tell you the route that I traveled to get here, but Wow!!! Glad I did. Those chairs and the cushions are incredible!!

The Girl Creative January 12, 2010 - 12:31 pm

I love the chairs! I'm sure your attempts are not much different than the rest of the crafters out there! lol Trial and error, etc. Great job. 🙂

Colleen @ MuralMaker&More January 13, 2010 - 1:23 am

Listen, any 'hardcore crafter' has had lots of projects that took way longer than your project – AND they didn't turn out half as well.
I used to be a display designer at a craft store. My job was to use all kinds of products and come up with projects that would sell the products. People only saw my successes. Believe me, there was a HUGE box of 'yuk' & 'oops' in the warehouse, courtesy of this hardcore crafter.
Beautiful job!

Prior January 17, 2010 - 2:32 am

oo la la, Love these! Lezlee

Desiree January 17, 2010 - 4:35 am

Great job! I love the print on the canvas.

Jane January 19, 2010 - 2:40 am

Those chairs are Fabulous! Way to hang in there and get the job done, although I can relate to your frustration as I don't sew either! They really are stunning, thanks for sharing and for linkin' up to Frugalicious Friday!

FleaMarketTrixie January 19, 2010 - 8:16 pm

Love that chair!!! fabulous!

Judy January 22, 2010 - 2:54 am

I had a good laugh and read this to my hubby b/c I experienced much of what you did with that useless transfer paper and the wrong kind of printer on a similar project I just completed on two dining room chairs. See my most recent post "monogrammed dining room chairs". I thought I was the only one who mumbled, stomped and generally lost my religion doing such a "simple" project.

Glad I'm not alone!

mishebe January 25, 2010 - 5:34 pm

wow, love them. U did awesome. love to see where u put it. mishelle

Night Owl Mama January 30, 2010 - 2:55 am

WOW gorgeous work thanks so much for sharing. its nice to see beauty put back into things came by from Friday follow

~Shelley~ January 30, 2010 - 2:56 am

You did an amazing job!! Beautiful!

New follower from "Friday Follow"! I'd love for you to come visit me!

Have a great weekend!

Ms. Sarah January 30, 2010 - 3:01 am

love the chair! found you on follow friday. cant wait to poke around and read more

Felissa Hadas January 30, 2010 - 3:05 am

Stopping by to follow and say hello with Friday Follow. Love the new chair cover.


Snow White's Blog Shop! January 30, 2010 - 5:18 am

Stopping by from Friday Follow!

Cathy ♥ Snow White's Blog Shop!

Midday Escapades January 30, 2010 - 10:31 pm

Thanks for linking up at Friday Follow! I’m your newest blog follower. Happy weekend!

~ Lynn

Katrina January 31, 2010 - 4:52 am

Wow!! Looks beautiful!

Stopping by from Friday Follow! Have a great weekend. 🙂

Rita A. February 1, 2010 - 6:54 am

Very crafty. It looks great. Thanks for participating in Friday Follow. I am catching up to the links. Rita @

julie - eab designs February 14, 2010 - 4:53 am

Hi Sherry,

I just love these chairs! You did a fabulous job! Looking forward to reading about more of your blog .. lots of inspiration! – Julie

Nancy February 27, 2010 - 4:17 pm

This turned out wonderfully! I love the nailhead trim you added. It's just adorable! Those would be $200+++ if they were in a shop somewhere! Enjoyed this post!

Alaina June 24, 2010 - 3:39 am

I was visiting your white wednesday and I HAD to check out those chairs. I am a chair lover and LOVE them. Great job, you are the only one who notices any shoe prints from stomping on them. I would be honored to have them in my home.

Eliza Freitas October 13, 2011 - 8:25 pm

…simplismente magnifico, amei, ficaram muito charmosas.


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