Archive of ‘Dining’ category

Monogrammed Coffee Mug

Monogrammed Mug_01

Seeing as how this my profile picture on all our social media, it would be a shame not to do a tutorial on this monogram coffee mug. I’ve seen this tutorial on a few blogs in various freehand versions on Pinterest. I’m a little too type A to freehand anything so permanent. Next best option: stenciling. So turned to my Silhouette Cameo and some leftover vinyl from another project to do my version of the monogrammed coffee mug and a cute little bonus (keep reading to find out!).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Coffee mug(s)
  2. Oil Based Sharpie Marker(s)
  3. Vinyl
  4. Vinyl transfer paper
  5. Scissors or rotary cutter and rotary cutting mat
  6. Rubbing alcohol
  7. Cotton balls
  8. Oven
  9. Optional: Small paint brush
  10. Optional: Nail polish remover

I got my coffee mugs from Ikea for $1.99 each. I bought 6 and will eventually monogram all 6, but since these mugs are always rotating in and out of the dishwasher, I can only do a few at a time. A girl needs her coffee. So here’s to hoping I get to all 6. One day.

Monogrammed Mug_02

Getting to the goal one mug at a time. I took my cotton ball, soaked some rubbing alcohol on it, and used it to wipe the surface of the cup to make sure the design area of the mug was extra squeaky clean.

Monogrammed Mug_03

Next, I pulled out my Silhouette Cameo and laptop to cut the monogram letter. I knew I wanted a fancyish font. I didn’t find any fonts that came installed on my laptop so I looked online for some free font options. I finally decided on Gresham in case you’re interested in using the same font. I typed the one letter and resized to to fit the height of the cup and was ready to cut. Since I used the Silhouette brand vinyl, I was able to directly feed it into the cut machine (no cutting mat required). I set the Media to Vinyl, Speed to 2, and Thickness to 9. If you do this without a Silhouette Cameo, you can draw/trace a monogram letter directly onto the vinyl and use an X-acto knife and/or scissors to cut out the vinyl.

Monogrammed Mug_04   Monogrammed Mug_05

Monogrammed Mug_06   Monogrammed Mug_07

I printed 5 so I’d have them ready when my other mugs were finally washed. Next, I took one cutout and peeled off the inside H. It felt like such a shame to throw it away, so I stuck it to a water bottle. I had one on mine from the first mug I made. Just make sure to clean the surface with rubbing alcohol before applying. BONUS DIY from an already awesome DIY. His and hers water bottles that match our cups!

Monogrammed Mug_08   Monogrammed Mug_09

Monogrammed Mug_11

Now, back to the coffee mug. Next, I cut a piece of vinyl transfer paper to the size of the H. I peeled the backing off the transfer paper and stuck it directly onto the vinyl. Then, I peeled the backing off the vinyl to stick onto the cup. Make extra, extra, extra sure you line this up correctly before you stick it on. This part doesn’t really lend itself to second tries unless you scrap the vinyl and do it all again. (I’ve done this.)

Monogrammed Mug_12   Monogrammed Mug_13

Monogrammed Mug_14   Monogrammed Mug_15

Next, I peeled off the transfer paper and pressed down on all the monogram detail, concentrating on corners and points to make sure no paints seeps underneath.

Monogrammed Mug_16  Monogrammed Mug_17

Now its coloring time AND you don’t have to worry about coloring inside the lines. I used an oil based gold sharpie pen. If its a new pen or you haven’t used it for awhile, you have to press down on the tip on scratch paper to get the ink flowing. Then just color it in!


  1. Try not to color over the same spot after the paint has dried. It starts to wipe off the previous coat and it gets kinda clumpy.
  2. Try to color in long strokes to minimize “brush strokes” unless that’s the look you’re going for.

Monogrammed Mug_18  Monogrammed Mug_19

Monogrammed Mug_20  Monogrammed Mug_21

Next, I pulled off the vinyl stencil and center lines and noticed some bleeding. It happens and its easy to fix. I took a small paint brush dipped lightly in some rubbing alcohol (acetone nail polish remover works too, and probably better) and cleaned it up.

Monogrammed Mug_22  Monogrammed Mug_23

Now its time to bake. I put the mugs in the oven FIRST, then set the oven to 425º F to preheat. Don’t mess this up. Mugs in oven FIRST and leave them in there while the oven preheats. This allows the mugs to heat up with the oven and prevent cracking (says my Googling). After the oven is done preheating, set the timer for 30 minutes and let the mugs bake. Once the timer goes off, turn off the oven, crack the door open and let the mugs cool INSIDE the oven. This lets the mugs slowly cool with the oven, preventing cracking and setting the paint (says my Googling). The first time, I basically sat impatiently on the floor next to the oven so I could see what was happening (nothing exciting) thinking “please work, please work, please work”.

Monogrammed Mug_24  Monogrammed Mug_25

And…IT WORKED! I’ve had my first mug for a few months and its in great condition. I’d like to think its because of all the extra Googling I did. I know there have been comments around the interwebs saying it washes off. I wash mine on the top shelf of my dishwasher and haven’t had any problems. Here they are in their home (when they’re not dirty).

Monogrammed Mug_26

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_Cover

Since I completed my newly painted Mah Jong table, I needed some chairs to go with it. I was sick of moving all my dining chairs over, so I’ve been on a mission to find some new chairs. Naturally, on the cheap. After a successful dining chair makeover, I was ready to tackle my next set of chairs.

I began my search by stalking Craigslist listings for what seemed like forever and didn’t find anything I liked within a reasonable driving distance. Next up: Yelp. I searched for a few nearby thrift shops and the Salvation Army and Goodwill came up as stores with the best prices and selection. No dice at Goodwill, but I hit the jackpot at the Salvation Army. 4 matching chairs sitting outside, mine for the taking AND marked down to $15 a piece. I walked inside and discovered a sign that said “50% off all furniture today only.” Super win. Four thrifted (and matching chairs) for $30! Shoved these into my car (one in the front seat, two in the back seat, and one in the trunk). And here’s what they looked like (with my photobombing dog, Sammy):

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_01

Here’s what you’ll need to reupholster your chairs:

  1. Fabric: about 1/2 yard for every 2 chairs (yellow and grey-sold out)
  2. Scissors or Rotary Cutter and Rotary Cutting Mat
  3. Measuring tape or Ruler
  4. Manual Staple Gun or Pneumatic Staple Gun and Air Compressor
  5. Staples for staple gun
  6. Flathead screwdriver
  7. Pliers
  8. As needed: 1″ Upholstery foam, amount depends on size of chair seat
  9. As needed: thin tip Sharpie
  10. As needed: hammer
  11. Optional: Gloves

Instead of picking up fabric from Joann’s this time, I ordered online from to get a better selection. I knew I wanted to stick with they grey/yellow/white theme and wanted a bigger home decor fabric selection. Make sure you get home decor fabric, and not flimsy cotton-y stuff you’d use for a sun dress. Unfortunately, the shipping takes FOREVER. So I picked out my fabrics and got to work on sanding and painting the chairs. See my previous post Repainted Dining Chairs for how I do this.

I also prepped all the chair seats for new fabric by removing the old fabric from the chair seats. To do this, I wedged a flat head screwdriver underneath the staple and lifted as much of the staple as I could. Then, I took the pliers and twisted the pliers to remove the staple. I found this to be the most effective method. I’d recommend gloves for this. I didn’t wear any and ended up with a big fat blister. This is a tedious process. If the person who upholstered before you was evil, he/she probably used  gazillion staples. You can curse them with every one you remove. I also, forgot to take pictures of this part, but I did mess up a staple during the upholstery process and had to remove it, so here’s some pictures on how I did it.

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_02 Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_03

After I removed all the staples, I discovered that the previous upholsterer was extra evil. He/she sewed the ugly fabric to the foam. Normally, you can just remove the old fabric and reuse the foam. Not this time. I drove myself down to Joann’s to buy some new foam. Since nobody is ever going to see this foam, I picked out the ugliest one I could find (without any squishy dents), and asked for a defect discount. 30% + it was on sale. Win.

Tip: Bring the wooden part of the seat with you to measure exactly how much foam you need.

Repuholstered Thrifted Chairs_01a

You can skip this part if your foam is in tact. If you need/want to replace your foam, keep following along here. I took the wooden part of the seat and traced it onto the foam with a thin sharpie. I used my rotary cutter and rotary mat to cut out the shape of the chair seat along the line I made with my sharpie. I find this is easier than scissors, but scissors will work fine for this too.

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_04

After what seemed like forever, my fabrics arrived. I used the foam and wood seat as a guide for the amount of fabric I’d need for each seat. Using the seat as a base, you need approximately 4″-5″ extra all around. Using my rotary cutter and rotary mat, I cut the fabric to size. This is when you should iron the fabric if you choose to. I skipped this because I hate ironing. The creases don’t really bother me, especially after the fabric is pulled taut over the foam.

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs 05

Next, I opened up the fabric, placed it wrong side up, placed the foam on top, then the wooden seat. (Order: Fabric, Foam, Wood) Check to make sure the fabric is running in the direction you want! I wanted the dandelion stems to run away from the back of the seat, so I had to check to make sure my fabric was facing the right direction. If your pattern doesn’t have a direction (i.e. polka dots), you can ignore this.

The staple gun. For my first set of dining chairs and a few other projects, I used a manual staple gun. It worked perfectly, but for this project and future ones, I was willing to invest in an air compressor and pneumatic staple gun for more power and ease of use. So, I loaded my staple gun, connected the gun to the air compressor, and flipped on the compressor. AMAZING. Love this thing. For a manual staple gun, just load the staples and you’re good to go.

Time for some stapling. To start, I stapled the center of each side of the seat, making sure to pull the fabric tight, but not so tight it makes huge dimples in the foam. If you mess up, you can always pull it out and try again. You’ve probably had plenty of practice with staple removal by now. To place a staple, push the staple gun down against the fabric (I lean my body weight into it) and pull the trigger. Make sure to keep pressing down while stapling so staple lays flat against the wood. If you don’t press hard enough or hold it down against the wood, the staple won’t go all the way in/sit flush against the wood. You can fix any loose staples with hammer, but its best to get them in with the staple gun if you can. Everything is fixable here so don’t worry about mistakes.

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_05

Next, start start pulling the fabric taut and staple the remaining fabric down around the entire seat. To keep from getting the fabric too tight where I’m stapling, I hold the fabric down with two fingers and staple in between. Do this around the entire seat, about 1.5″ 2.5″ apart, skipping the corners about 1″- 2″ from each corner.

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_06

For the corners, I fold the fabric into a fan-like pattern to make sure its neat and lays flat. I start on one edge, making sure to pull the fabric taught and keep making folds until the entire corner is pulled taut. Then I use 3-4 staples to secure the fabric in place.

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_07 Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_08

Now, flip the seat over and check your work!

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_09

Now its time to reattach the seat to the chair. Since I changed the padding, the previous holes for the seats didn’t match up anymore. When I did try to align the holes, it left an ugly gap between the seat back and the cushion. So instead, I placed the cushion where I wanted it and created a new hole with the screw. My chairs have always had pressed wood seat backings, so its not hard to create new holes by screwing in the original screws.

Here’s the finished chairs with my table.

Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs_10


Repainted Dining Chairs

Painted Dining Chairs_Cover

Trying to furnish my house on a budget this past year has been a difficult task and I turned to Craigslist, The Salvation Army, and Goodwill to source a lot of my furniture. Most of the stuff I’ve been able to find has been for a great price in really good condition.

So after securing an awesome deal on a West Elm dining table (Angled Leg Expandable Table), I needed to find some chairs to go around it. After stalking Craigslist for weeks, I was able to find a set of 6 chairs that looked less than awesome, but were structurally in good condition for $125. Not bad considering similar chairs are $49 a piece at Ikea.

Painted Dining Chairs_01

I got a quick lesson on how to do this from the painting contractor who was painting the interior of my house.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Chair(s) to paint
  2. Screwdriver (or Cordless Drill if you have one)
  3. Cardboard/Drop cloth/Something to cover the floor
  4. Fine grit sanding sponge (Home Depot)
  5. Sock or Rag
  6. Paint and Primer in 1 spray paint, about 1.5 cans per chair (Rustoleum gloss finish in white and yellow)

This is definitely an outside project, so laid some cardboard out I found and turned the chair upside down on it. There were 4 screws that attached the seat to the chair and I used my drill to unscrew them. You can use a screwdriver for this, but honestly, get yourself a cordless drill. They are SO useful for so much stuff. I did this for all the chairs at once and keep all the screws in a zip top bag for safe keeping. I don’t know about you, but I tend to lose everything important. As for the seat, I put it inside the house. I recommend you stash it somewhere clean especially if you’re not planning to reupholster it.

Next, I took my sanding sponge (permanently borrowed from my contractor), ran it under some water and wrung it all out super dry. I prefer the one with the angled edge to get in all the nooks and crannies. Notice all the grids in the back of my chairs. That was SO MUCH WORK. Think about that as you pick out your chairs. Sanding is terrible, but it must be done. Here I used wet sanding, recommended by my contractor and painter to get a smoother finish. The purpose of sanding here is to slightly rough up the surface and take off the layer of glossy finish. This helps the paint adhere better (said my painter). So I went at it. For days. And more days. This is the least rewarding part of the process. Power through.

Next, time to clean up the sanding. Time to wipe down the entire chair. Every bit of it. You’ll start to see chipping wherever you miss. Don’t miss. I like to take my husbands old socks (after I’ve washed them), slip it over my hand inside out and start wiping down. The terry part of the sock picks up all the bits of sanded off stuff and holds it in the sock. Pretty nifty trick I discovered.

Painted Dining Chairs_02

Now its finally time for paint. Spray paint is easy to use and looks awesome if you follow instructions. First, flip the chair upside down. This is what all instructions and contractors have told me. Made sense to me. Next, pick up the can, flip it upside down, and shake it for AT LEAST 60 seconds. I got lazy and didn’t do this for ONE can and it sprayed all this crazy white sandy stuff out all over my newly sanded chair. No good. Next, I popped off the top and did a test spray on the cardboard, checking for that evil sandy stuff. If everything’s all good, then get to painting.

Spray in semi-slow even strokes about 10-16″ away from the chair. Don’t expect to cover it all on the first first pass. Its not worth the runny drips all over the place. Cover all the surfaces once, then go back if you need to touch up any spots. Remember, you’ll have to do a second coat anyway, so we’re looking for coverage, not perfection on this first pass.

Painted Dining Chairs_03

You can either let it dry or be impatient like me and try to flip it over to do the rest of the chair right away. I press my hands against the inside seat of the chair (notice no paint there) to pick up and flip the chair over. Requires some maneuvering but worth it for impatient people like me. Repeat painting the process with the chair right side up.

Painted Dining Chairs_04

I didn’t flip the chair back over for a second coat because I figured that nobody’s going to see the chair upside down anyway. So I left the chair standing up and applied a second coat with the chair right side up. Here are some tips I picked up along the way:

  1. Always test spray. Its not worth re-sanding the whole chair again if you get crazy stuff coming out of the can. Did this twice. I should have learned the first time.
  2. There is tons of over spray. My patio has white cardboard box shaped outlines. I moved to the grass later on and let the gardener mow off all the over spray. Self cleaning!
  3. If you see shadows in the corners, especially if you have a grid back chair like mine, hit the corner with a quick spray. The shadow is because there wasn’t enough paint there.
  4. If you aim and spray along the corner edges of the chair, you’ll hit 2 surfaces at the same time. I was amazed. And conserves paint!

Painted Dining Chairs_02a

Let the paint dry a few hours before moving the chair/touching the paint. Spray paint dries pretty quick, but wait about 24 hours to make sure the paint has dried all the way through before reattaching the seat cushions or using the chairs.

I went on to reupholster the chairs with some fabric from Joann’s I got on clearance. Look out for a post on chair cushion reupholstery coming soon!

Painted Dining Chairs_05

Here are some other chair colors I liked:

Painted Dining Chairs_06

  1. Grey
  2. Light Blue
  3. Teal