I have been crafting and working with textiles, wood, beads, yarn, paint and paper all my life. I dabble in anything and everything that looks interesting. Paper folding, book binding, watercolors, quilting, jewelry making, beading, crocheting, metal stamping, tatting, etc. etc. etc. I work at a new skill until I feel some sense of accomplishment, gain a basic level of proficiency, complete the item I set out to make–or becoming totally frustrated or bored. Then I’m ready to move on to the next project. 

Sometimes I wonder if this “jack of all trades” mentality means I’m not really good at any one thing, just mediocre at many things. 

For now, lets just say I’m still learning and I’ve found every project has a lesson to learn.

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I did a few things differently with these cute harp-back chairs to achieve a slightly different result than my typical waxed finish. 

And I learned a few things along the way.

I wanted these chairs to retain a more authentic distressed finish in that they wouldn’t have much of a sheen or shine to them, they needed to look a little flatter. Like the paint has been worn and buffed down over years of use. 

I also used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Thus I knew I needed to do something after painting/distressing them. I didn’t want them to feel too chalky. So after sanding the edges I wiped the entire chair down with a damp wash cloth to remove the dust and the powdery look ASCP leaves after sanding. This brings the true, rich color back after the sanding. Then, right after wiping them down, I used a dry paper towel to “buff” the chairs. (Notice the little chess pieces on my heavily-loved coffee table. This table has been through four kiddos–might be time for a make-over?)

Perfect.


I wouldn’t use this finishing method with a table top or shelves where I know there will be heavy use. But for the backs and legs of a chair it makes a nice alternative to waxing. I know that they’ll naturally continue to distress as they are used and love.

The medallion fabric came from my sister’s quilt store. It was hard to settle on a fabric, but honestly, covering the seats is so easy you could change the fabric by season if desired.

lessons learned . . . 

  1. Label the seats and chairs as you separate them so when it comes time to put them together there is no confusion as to which seat goes with which chair. I did not do this and I found that the holes for the screws were not all drilled in the same location and they were difficult to match up.
  2. When stapling the fabric to the underneath side of the chair, keep the holes for the screws clear of fabric. I was excited to see my fabric on the seats and didn’t do this either. I had to go back and rework the areas where the holes were because I couldn’t just screw through the fabric.
  3. I used a standard industrial staple gun. Nothing fancy. Initially the staples were not going all the way in. Then I learned that the tension on my staple gun could be adjusted. So look for that if you have a similar problem.
  4. For a faster, flatter, rustic finish, wipe the piece down with a damp wash cloth and then “buff” the surface with a dry paper towel.

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