Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From Caterpillar to Butterfly, My Adventures with a .99 cent chair

This is the adventure of the .99 cent thrift store chair. It all started one afternoon on a Sunday at the Volunteers of America Store on Jefferson Road in Henrietta. My mother and I had attempted to make a short trip wandering around the store. Unfortunately at the time I was experiencing severe pain in my back and leg due to a fractured disc fragment embedded in my sciatic nerve. That's a pain I don't wish on anyone. I wandered over into the furniture section and found this funny little lonely chair all by itself. I noticed how the price of the chair had been increasingly marked down, and plopped down, letting mom wander the rest of the store until she was done and came back to find me. This ugly little chair turned out to be one of the most comfortable chairs I've ever sat in. It's soft and has exactly the right amount of lower and upper back support. I had heard somewhere that there was vinyl spray paint, so I decided I would give it a chance at a new life. Mom hoisted it into the cart to roll it to the register, and I asked the cashier if it really truly was only .99.
She said it was my "lucky day!" She has no idea how right she was. 

The Mark Down
The Big Reveal!!! TA DA!!!

Once we got the chair home, my friend Richard helped me take it apart. It was dismantled right down to the frame, which was in very bad, very rusty shape! I also asked his advice about vinyl spray paint, since he knows a lot about cars, I'd figure that he had heard of the stuff. He confirmed my suspicions and told me what to look for at the auto parts store. I only knew one thing. That the seat and back should be white. Everything looks better white. I also planned to leave the arm rests wooden. We went to the auto parts store and they had every color except white, so I ended up buying the Rustoleum vinyl paint online from amazon. It took four cans to cover, but it worked relatively well.

Once I get a hold of a can of spray paint, it's very hard for me to resist the urge to stop spraying things, so I thought hey, why not have the arm rests white too? I had some Krylon spray paint left over from another project and set to work putting a few coats onto that, once I'd given them a good sanding.
The one thing I didn't count on was the chair seats sticking to my table surface due to the humidity. I ended up with a few areas that peeled away from the surface of the seat, and no amount of re-spraying was going to cover the indentations it caused so I had to come up with a way to cover these areas. It took me two days to come up with the idea to use vinyl wall decorations they sell at home decoration stores. The only criteria was that the images needed to be big to cover the peeled paint. I initially thought great big flowers would work, but in the end went with the butterflies which had a softer feel to them. For the most part they adhered very well to the seat surface, but to be safe I spray sealed them with a clear sealer. Again Krylon came to the rescue.

Then it was time to attack the frame. I went back to the auto parts store where I saw a heavy duty auto grade Krylon Chrome spray paint. I bought three, because I didn't know how it covered. The frame was horribly rusty, so I had to attack it with a wire brush, and a tack cloth. Then I set about to paint. OMG!! I fell in love with that paint. It only took less than a half a can to cover, and it looked amazing. It did however give off a nice fine chrome colored powder if you touched it, so again I rubbed it down with a soft cloth, to get as much of that off as possible and attacked it with three coats of the clear sealer.
Then is was just a matter of screwing it all back together! I think it came out amazing. It's not perfect but then again, what is. It is however beautiful, functional, and super comfy. It ended up costing almost 45.00 in the end to revamp it, but it was totally worth it. It will be less if I take back the two cans of chrome spray paint (but I really don't want too! anyone want something chrome painted...lol) ;)
This is the finished chair. It has gone from caterpillar to butterfly, and it only took four months!
What do you think?

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