Posts Tagged ‘wood’

Restained and Reupholstered French Settee

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I got the reupholstery itch again and began searching Craigslist again for a bench to add more seating to my living room when I discovered something called a settee. While its supposed to seat two or more people and isn’t really defined by overall size, these seemed smaller than a traditional loveseat. Honestly, I don’t even know what the difference is and I’m no expert on furniture names. I liked the size options that came up in my search and ran with it.

I found a few pieces online posted by a local antiques dealer, but I have a hard time paying for some old beat up furniture at prices that are sometimes more expensive than new furniture. I kept searching for a few days and came across this beautiful ugly settee and got it delivered for $50 after a bit of haggling. The guy said it was an antique. It was definitely reupholstered more than once. The green seems like the second upholstery, and the pink stuff the third. Someone consciously picked this heinousness pink fabric. WHY!? (Excuse the photobombing dog. He thinks its ugly too.)

French Settee_02 French Settee_01

So I set out to refinish the wood and reupholster the fabric. Here’s what you’ll need in addition your thrifted/Craigslisted/found piece of furniture:


  1. 1 sheet of 120 grit sandpaper (or something around 120 grit)
  2. Sock or rag
  3. Paint Brush or Sponge Brush
  4. Wood stain (Sunbleached)
  5. Plastic covering/Plastic bag/Anything to cover the seat
  6. Optional: Brush cleaner


  1. Flat head screwdriver
  2. Pliers
  3. Staple gun (Manual Staple Gun or Pneumatic Staple Gun)
  4. Staples
  5. Fabric (grey/white stripes and grey/white dandelions)
  6. Scissors or Rotary Cutter and Rotary Cutting Mat
  7. Ruler (preferably long)
  8. Glue Gun and Glue Gun Sticks
  9. Pre-made cording/trim or ~20 yards of 6/32 welt cording
  10. Optional: Sewing machine and double cording foot
  11. Optional: Thread

To get started, I began by tearing the chair apart. Basically, removing all the ugly bits: the fabric. This process requires some muscle. I started on the back and used my pliers to start tearing away at the trim that was hot glued onto the chair. I made my way around all the upholstered parts of the chair. What I uncovered was horrible: nails. I’ve never come across this before, but

French Settee_03  French Settee_04

I found an unattached piece of fabric and started tearing it off the chair (also crossing my fingers that the nails would come off in the process). This is great if you’ve got some aggression to take out. Keep tearing at it until you get all the fabric off. I found that once the fabric was gone, it gave me some space to wedge a flat head screwdriver to pry the nails out. It was tedious…but I did it. Only to uncover another layer of fabric and…staples. This is the gamble you take when you decide to take apart an antique.

French Settee_05

So I kept tearing away and wedging my flat head screwdriver underneath the staples and wiggling them out until i finally unveiled the stuffing. FINALLY. I also did this for the back rest and the back side of the settee. For the back rest and back side, I set the stuffing to the side since it was just sliding off the back and I wanted it out of the way for the next step. There was nothing wrong with the stuffing/padding in the settee I didn’t buy any replacement stuffing/padding.

French Settee_06   French Settee_07   French Settee_08

Next up: STAIN! I took my newly stripped settee out to the garage and got to work. First, I started by taking a plastic bag and covering the seat. It probably isn’t all that important, but I wanted to keep the seat area dust/ paint stain free. I took my sand paper and did a rough sand on the whole thing to scratch up the surface, similar to spray painting in my Repainted Dining Chairs post. Next, I took my husband’s old sock to clean up the sanding dust. I dampen the sock, flip it inside out and use the padded side to grab all the sanded residue so it doesn’t fly off the chair and settle back onto the chair.

French Settee_09  French Settee_10

Now its time for some stain. I used some free stain I got from my contractor. Who doesn’t love free? I popped open the can and stirred (lesson learned from another project), dipped my brush in and started slathering it on. I used a regular bristled brush for this and in hindsight I wish I had used a sponge brush to show less brush strokes. Use whatever you’re comfortable with or what you have on hand. It probably doesn’t matter that much. A sponge brush for stain is just my personal preference. Voila. Stain all done. Yay for one coat stain! I let this sit in the garage for a few hours before moving it into the house to dry. It probably sat in the house a few more days while I waited for my fabric to arrive in the mail.

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Selecting fabric took me longer than usual. I thought about going with a geometric print, a solid, and damask. I didn’t like any of them so I went with a simple wide stripe that I thought would be a good contrast for the more intricate wood work. I was pretty happy with my choice.

Once my fabric arrived, I realized I was faced with another choice. Which way do I make the stripes go!? I was reading Young House Love and saw that they used some rendering program to see what a design idea might look like. I have no such fancy tools. I have Paint (not the paint kind of paint, but that program that comes free with Windows). So…here’s my version. Don’t laugh. I make do with what’s free. Also, if I stand far enough away from my computer screen and squint a little (I promise I did this), it doesn’t look so bad.

French Settee_14  French Settee_13

I decided on vertical stripes for the back rest and horizontal for the seat. Now it was time to cut the fabric to fit the seat. Normally (and logically), you’d save the original seat fabric and use it as a template by tracing it with an extra 3-4″ around the edges. However, I was an idiot and threw it out. Don’t do that. Be smart. Save yours. I had to measure the seat and cut a rectangle to fit with an extra 4-5″ just in case. I’d deal with the corners later. I did the same thing for the back rest and seat back. Those were much easier because they’re just rectangles. Lesson: don’t throw out the old fabric!

Next up is the fun part. AIR TOOLS! You can use a regular staple gun for this, but I can’t even put in words how much fun a pneumatic staple gun is. SUPER fun. So, I set up my pneumatic air gun (follow instructions for the one you have or use a manual staple gun), and got to work.

I stapled one staple in the middle of each of the four sides of the seat, making sure the pattern is locked down and straight before I make way way around the edges. I made sure to pull the fabric tight as I stapled around. To make sure it didn’t turn out wonky and crooked, I used the lines in the pattern lined up to the seat edge as a guide. However, I did not make sure to leave 4-5″ from every corner, but you should. I ended up pulling those out to do the corners later. Learn from my mistakes.

French Settee_15  French Settee_16

Once I did all the sides, it was time to work on the corners. Because you left the right amount of space and didn’t staple right up to the edge like I did, you can pull back the corner and start cutting in a diagonal line. I had to remove a few staples to get enough space to work with. Womp, womp. It doesn’t matter a whole lot how straight you cut here, but it is important to make sure that where you stop cutting is the actual corner of the chair. If you don’t, your corner is going to be crooked and ugly. So don’t mess up! Adjust your cutting line as you go and aim for the corner.

French Settee_17

Next, I folded/tucked the excess fabric underneath until i got a straight edge against the side of the chair and the corner laid flat and neatly matched up to the corner of the wood leg. I also made sure that the fabric folded under was laying flat so there were no bumps or wrinkles. Then, I secured the corner down with staples. I did the same for the other side of the corner. Repeat on the other 3 corners.

Tip: For some of them, I had to cut deeper into the corner to make sure it laid flush against the corner of the wood. Better to cut too little to start than to cut too much!

French Settee_18  French Settee_18a

Repeat the process (minus the corners) for the back rest and seat back. Start by doing one staple on each of the four sides, then make your way around the edges.

Tip: I tipped my chair over to make it easier to work with. The fabric kept sliding down when I was trying to staple and then I thought: DUH. Stop working against gravity.

French Settee_19

After I finished this, I trimmed all the excess fabric beyond the staples. I trimmed close to the staples, but left as much fabric that would hide underneath the trim I’d glue on later. Its a balance between having hanging fabric shreds poking out the trim and not compromising the fabric near the staples.

French Settee_20

Next up, the trim to finish off the chair. You can either buy your own trim/cording from a fabric store or you can make it yourself. I decided to make it myself to ensure that it matched the fabric on the chairs. What YOU should do is save the original trim and measure how much you need. I threw mine out because I wasn’t thinking. Instead, I measured out how much I needed. and added an extra foot just in case.

I decided to do double welt cording to cover the staples and because I think it looks extra classy. I started with 2″ strips of fabric cut on the bias (cut on a 45 degree angle) with my rotary cutter, rotary cutting mat, and ruler. Once I got my first cut, I just measured 2″ out and followed the angle of the first cut. My ruler has grids on it so it was quick work to cut these strips.

French Settee_21  French Settee_22

Next, I sewed all the strips together on an angle. This is how everyone did it on YouTube, so I did it too. First, lay the strips together with the right sides facing together and at a 90 degree angle: one sideways, one vertical. Then sew at an angle, from one corner to the next, then trim the excess fabric, leaving 1/4 – 1/2″ and spread the fabric so it lays flat. I did  this for all the strips until I had one continuous strip as long as the trim for the seat. I did this again for the back rest and seat back as well.

French Settee_23  French Settee_24  French Settee_25

Next, I sewed the welt cording into the fabric. First. I folded one edge of the fabric over the welt cording until it was completely covered by the fabric, then placed the second cord next to it and rolled the whole thing over. Welt cording in a blanket.

French Settee_26  French Settee_27 French Settee_28  French Settee_29

Now, I was ready to sew. I got my double welt cording foot and attached it to my sewing machine. I have a Brother I bought a few years ago and I bought this AMAZING set of feet to go with it from Amazon. Best. Deal. Ever.

French Settee_30  French Settee_31

The foot attaches as a snap on foot and the two cords fit nicely into the grooves underneath the cording foot. All I did was adjust the needle so it sewed through the hole in the center of the foot and it was like sewing a straight line with a regular sewing foot! Actually, it was easier because the cord under the grooves automatically fed it through straight. AMAZING. As I sewed, I readjusted the fabric over the welt cording, making sure it was wrapped correctly. Minutes later (seriously…minutes), I had my own double welt cording! It was SO easy. If you have any excess fabric that wraps around, just trim it off. I didn’t have any for mine so I skipped this step.

French Settee_32

Time to glue this stuff on to finish up the chair. I plugged in my glue gun and let it heat up and had about 10-15 sticks of glue off to the side. You’ll need A LOT of glue to do this. That stuff runs through a glue gun like water out of a faucet!

I started at a less obvious corner and applied some glue and began applying the cording. I went all the way around the chair in 12-16″ sections applying glue, then placing the cording until I got all around the chair. I used the point of my scissors to hold down the cording in some places to make turns around the arms of the chair. Other than that, this was pretty straight forward.

When I got to the end, I detached 1-2″ of cording from the fabric and pulled back the fabric to expose the cording. I cut the exposed cording to match exactly to the edge of the start of my welt cording. I then took the excess fabric, folded the raw edge under, then wrapped it around the start of my cording to create a clean attachment. I secured this all with some glue.

French Settee_33  French Settee_34

I did the same thing for the back rest and seat back and I was FINALLY DONE.

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Oh. Surprise! I did the back in a dandelion fabric from my Reupholstered Thrifted Chairs post. The settee is in another room so it ties the fabrics together from one room to the next without being super obvious.

Painted Wood Dandelion Wall Art

Painted Wood Wall Art_Cover

To me, wall art is SO daunting. It seems so permanent and I’ve had such a hard time deciding what to put up. It’s really not that permanent, but the idea of changing it or having to patch a hole or figuring out how to cover up a hole later on is a lot of motivation to make me pick something I can love and live with for awhile. So I went about my usual Pinterest search to find some inspiration and found this painted wall art from Joss and Main.

Painted Wood Wall Art_01

It’s a cute idea…less cute on the image and text. I like beer (especially good beer), but its not something I want on my wall. I also do love me some grey and white and I love the idea of the wood. So off to Home Depot…

Here’s what you’ll need to recreate my version (but add/change/adjust to make any design you want):

Wood Canvas and hanging:

  1. 5 strips of Red Oak (24″ x 2.5″ x 0.75″) for the “canvas”
  2. 2 strips of Red Oak (1.5″ x 0.75″ x 14.5″) to hold the “canvas” together
  3. 10  1-1/4″coarse thread all purpose screws in gold
  4. 2 Ready Screw D-Ring Hangers
  5. 18″ Mirror Cord
  6. 4 Self Adhesive 3/4″ Felt Pads
  7. Optional: Wood Stain (Sunbleached)
  8. Optional: Sponge Brush
  9. Cordless Drill (Milwaukee)
  10. 7/64″ Wood drill bit (Ryobi Drilling and Driving Kit)
  11. Phillips head drill tip (Ryobi Drilling and Driving Kit)
  12. Wall Anchor Kit (includes anchor, screw, and drill bit!)


  1. Paintbrush
  2. Acrylic Craft Paint (any colors you want!)

So I didn’t really go into Home Depot with much of a plan. I walked into the lumber section and wandered around until I found what I wanted. You can pick any type and size of wood you want. Just keep in mind that the bigger the pieces, the more your wall will have to support. Its gonna be bad news if your anchor doesn’t support it and the whole thing comes crashing down. Womp womp. So anyway, I picked out the size I wanted, and true to my frugal nature, I went and found the cheapest type of wood I could find. This is how I settled on Red Wood. If Home Depot doesn’t carry the size you want, they can cut it for you! However, call ahead to see if the saw is working. Its a conspiracy that every time I go into my local Home Depot, the saw is broken. Annoying. Also make sure you check out the scrap lumber section! You can find some SUPER cheap stuff in there, but there is only stuff when the stupid saw is working. No saw, no scraps. Stupid saw…

Okay, next I went to pick up all the hardware. I picked out some 1-1/4″ coarse thread screws (recommended by the Home Depot guy). I picked up a box because it was cheaper than buying the ones in the tiny little packets. You want to make sure that the screw is long enough to grab the strip or Red Oak that holds the canvas together and the canvas piece, BUT without stabbing through the front of your canvas. I made my Home Depot guy swear this would not happen (and he was right).

Next up, pick up some Ready Screw D hangers. These are rings shaped like D’s and you’ll need 2 per canvas. It comes in packs of 3. Sneaky, sneaky. Trying to get me to buy more than I needed. Since I made 3 canvases, I picked up 2 packages. No extras! HA! Next to these hangers, you should find the mirror cord. The one I picked up holds 40 lbs and I was pretty sure my canvas wasn’t going to be more than that. In the same aisle, there are heavy duty felt pads. I used these to cover the screws so it wouldn’t scratch the wall behind it. You’ll need 4 per canvas.

Lastly, you’ll need wall anchors. I had a kit at home from a previous project. Mine came with a drill bit too! Also check to make sure you pick up ones that will hold the weight of your canvas. Google or ask the Home Depot people.

Tip: A great way to measure not-heavy-enough things with a regular scale is to stand on the scale, remember your weight, pick up your stuff, and stand on it again. Take the difference. Mine weighed 8 lbs each.

Okay. Now that I had all my stuff from Home Depot, I was ready to get started. I paid some good money for some non scrap wood (stupid broken saw…) so I wanted to make sure the wood grain showed through. The Pinterest pin painted the whole thing an opaque grey, but I got a free can of stain from my contractor so I used that instead. You can not stain at all if you want to keep the wood color or paint if you hate the color of the wood. I laid out each plank on top of a box pretty side of the plank up (and by pretty side I mean sticker side down so I wouldn’t have to remove them) so I could get to all the sides of the plank as well, took out my stain and sponge brush, and got to staining. The first time I did this, I forgot to stir the solid bits at the bottom of the can into the stain and one of my canvases is a slightly different color. Oops. I did it for the other two. This stuff is a one-coat stain. So one coat and some dry time later. All done.

Next up, putting the canvas together. I flipped over all the planks (pretty side down, sticker side up) and laid them out the way I wanted them to be put together. I left some gaps to accentuate the these-are-wood-planks look. I placed the strip of red oak across the back about 2-4″ from the top. I got out my drill an drill bit and drilled a hole through both pieces, making sure not to go through the pretty side of the canvas. I did this because the would might split if I just screwed straight through. So I made the first hole, I switched to a Phillips drill tip and screwed in one of my screws. It seems tedious and stupid to switch back and forth, but its pretty impossible to realign the holes if you do them all at once. Believe me. I tried. Repeat 4 more times, then do the same thing for the other strip 2-4″ from the bottom. You’ll notice that mine don’t match up perfectly and that’s because Home Depot doesn’t cut precisely and I can’t drill/screw in a straight line either. Its okay though. It adds to the rustic look. Tah dah! Canvas done.

Painted Wood Wall Art_02

Next up is the fun part. I was flipping through Etsy for some inspiration and found these:

Painted Wood Wall Art_03

  1. Floating dandelions
  2. Floating across canvases
  3. Crossing dandelions

I laid down some paper, pulled out my acrylic paints and brushes and got to work. I randomly painted on some stems and then drew some straight lines out of an oval to make the petals.

Painted Wood Wall Art_04  Painted Wood Wall Art_05

I added some yellow and grey accents to tie into the rest of my living room decor. I tweaked and added to it until I was happy with what I had. Once I was done painting, I let it dry for a few hours and was ready to hang this thing on the wall.

I stood up the painting right side leaning against a wall. I measured 2.5″ from each end and screwed in the D hangers with my drill with the flippy tabs facing in. No need to pre-drill since these screws are pretty shallow. Just be careful not to hit the screws that attach to the front of the canvas. You can adjust slightly in or outward to avoid those. The only thing you need to be sure of is that they’re equidistant from the sides so you don’t get any wonky hanging. Next, I took the mirror wire and threaded it through the D ring with about 4″ doubled over. I did an overhand knot (that knot that you do right before you do the rabbit ears when tying your shoes–I don’t know names of any knots and you probably don’t either) then took the excess and wrapped it around the hanging part of wire. I did this to make sure it wouldn’t come undone with the weight. I did the same thing to the other side, but leaving very little slack because I didn’t want this peeking out over the top.

Painted Wood Wall Art_07  Painted Wood Wall Art_06

Next, I placed 4 felt pads on each of the screws on all four corners. I did this to keep the screws from scratching up the wall.

Painted Wood Wall Art_08

Now time to prep the wall. I marked off where you want the painting to hang. Honestly, I eyeballed where I wanted the first one and hung the other two equidistant from that one. I didn’t both measuring too much. Next, I took the FREE (love free stuff) drill bit that came with my anchor kit and drilled a hole. Next I took the plastic anchor and shoved that in with my finger until it was flush with the wall. I tapped it with the back of a screwdriver to make sure it was extra flush with the wall. It shouldn’t take that much effort. If it does, you used the wrong size drill bit. Try again. Next I used my drill to screw one of the screws in my kit into the plastic anchor with about 1/4″ hanging out.

Painted Wood Wall Art_09

I hung my new painting up on the wall and adjusted until it looked strait. Voila.

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I did this 2 more times to get my 3 piece installation. Happy painting!

Painted Mah Jong Table (or Poker Table)


Recently I’ve spent a lot of time at my in-laws playing Mah Jong and its been a great way for me spend some time with family. Mah Jong is what I/many people equate to Chinese poker.  Instead of cards, you play with tiles (usually plastic) that get shuffled around a table. To make sure they don’t all go flying off the table, this usually requires a Mah Jong table, which is kinda like a poker table with raised edges about the same height as a Mah Jong tile.

So, I decided to purchase myself a Mah Jong set (off eBay) to host my own games and therefore needed to acquire a table to play on. After much Googling and fruitless Pinterest searching, I turned to my mom who took me to an Asian market/random Asian things store (seriously…they sell a random assortment of things like food, cookware, Mah Jong sets, tables, herbs). So I picked up a cheap-ish (relative to what I found online) foldable table (from Tak Shing Hong in case you live anywhere nearby) that I think most families have or they have super fancy ones I’m not willing to shell out money for. Picked mine up for around $60.

Here it is in all its naked wood glory:


Ignore the laptop. Had to be online for work. This is what wireless is for, right?

What to do with all this barely finished semi-wood? PAINT. After a little research (mostly on DIY painted dining tables), I decided to go with oil-based paint because of its durability and minimal sanding required, confirmed by the Home Depot guy.

So here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Table (Mah Jong or Poker)
  2. Paint Brush (you’ll need a good-ish one to not show brush strokes)
  3. 1 sheet of 120 grit sandpaper (or something around 120 grit)
  4. Oil-based paint (any color(s) you want)
  5. Paint stirring stick (I used a wooden coffee stirrer)
  6. Acetone/Paint brush cleaner (I used my nail polish remover because it’s what I had on hand)
  7. Flat head screwdriver or paint can opener
  8. Painters tape (Frog Tape)
  9. Optional, but recommended: Mask (paint fumes are super stinky)
  10. Optional: Drop cloth

So this is happening in my garage and I’ve already spray painted in there (much to my husband’s dismay) so I was whatever about the floors. I skipped the cloth and tried to be a little more careful. Who’s going to see 1 or 2 drops? Not me. The Home Depot guy (cross my fingers and hope they’re right) said to paint in the shade so that’s why I’m in the garage.

On to sanding. I cut the sandpaper sheet into 3 strips just because its easier for me to work with. I lightly sanded all the surfaces I planned to paint. Basically, all the wood stuff on the outside. Not ambitious enough to paint in the drawers/not patient enough. The goal with sanding is to scuff up the surface so the paint sticks better to the wood (again, what the Home Depot guy said and confirmed by Googling).


After a quick sand, I took my paint brush and brushed off all the wood debris to get a clean surface, making sure to get in all the nooks and crannies. If you miss a spot, you’ll find out later when the paint chips off. Not a classy look for a table I’m trying to class up.

Next, I taped off the green surface of the table. Don’t want to paint that. For your table, tape off whatever you don’t want to paint, obviously. Make sure to press all the tape down to keep the paint from seeping through.


Finally, onto painting. I knocked the dust out of my paint brush, cracked open the can with a flat head screwdriver, stirred the paint (making sure to mix in all the goop at the bottom), dipped my brush in the can, and went at it. Grey first around the edges, then the yellow for the cup holders and drawers.


Here are some tips:

  1. Keep a wet edge: make sure that you finish painting the section you’re painting (i.e. don’t stop painting a drawer half way through) You can’t stop on continuous surfaces or it’ll show paint lines, not classy.
  2. Don’t go back and repaint if you don’t get full coverage on the first coat. Work in thin coats and let the previous coat dry first.
  3. Clean your paintbrush thoroughly between coats and between colors. These brushes aren’t cheap!
  4. Oil based paint doesn’t dry. It cures. Depending on weather, it could take 72 hrs to completely cure. Super hot weather and super cold weather extends curing time. Check the temperature guide on the can.


After the first coat I waited a few hours for the paint to be dry to the touch and applied a second coat that provided enough coverage to make me happy. I carefully peeled off the tape and waited 24 hours before I moved the table in the house. I had a Mah Jong set I was dying to use! The instructions and interwebs says to let it dry 24-72 hours depending on how many coats and how thick you applied the paint. I’m not patient enough to wait 72 hours. Here’s the finished product!