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Sometimes I have no clue; where do I get these ideas?! Just as Christmas was approaching I realized I needed some awesome gifts. This project was quite a winner; come, I’ll show you how to make an ‘Always my Baby’ custom chair!

At the Road Side:

Yup, this crazy lady backed up the car and picked this specimen off the side of the road! I loved the lines and curls, and any project was not risking anything. It was also very sturdy – bonus.

Another reason I liked this was that only the seat needed reupholstering. I have taken on bigger reupholstering in my past but it is pretty hard on the hands. These seats are easy to take off with a few screws from the bottom. Once that’s off, it’s wiped down; there’s no places for critters to hide.

After getting the seat board off of the chair it’s a disassembly job. Pulling nails/staples and ripping off the fabric.

Surprise:

This chair was stuffed with cotton and straw! That makes it very old! It’s an early 1800’s Georgian Carver chair made of mahogany. Wow! Good thing I saved it from the landfill, how special!

Alright, don’t get angry that I painted it! Yes, I know it may take away the value but I’d rather it be enjoyed than stuck in the back of my basement.

Painting furniture white can take many layers until it’s solid so I like to add calcium carbonate to my latex/acrylic paint to make it more opaque and hard. This method essentially makes chalk paint very economically. Since I wanted a bit of a sheen I gave it a coat of Diamond Varathane.

Pictures on Fabric:

There are a few options to get images onto fabric. There is a method of using freezer paper that has cotton adhered to it and running it through the ink-jet printer. This did not work as desired, but it may if I could test different fabrics. As usual, I needed something that would work THAT DAY!

There are many companies that allow you to upload your prepared images for custom printing such as Spoonflower. I’m excited to try that but when I have more time.

This time I used fabric sheets that could printed at home on my ink-jet printer.

Using Photoshop I made full page collages of a lot of baby pictures of my darling daughter. To simplify I changed them all to black and white as well. I know the seat is larger than 8.5″ x 11″ so I needed a few different pages.

Once the seat board was stripped a new piece of foam is cut to the same size. Using a higher density foam is better than cheap foam by the way. As a base layer a white fabric is tightly stapled first so that the stress is not on the new fabric.

Patchwork Piecing:

Since I was working with letter size sheets they needed to be sewn together. There needs to be extra to wrap around so allow a few inches larger than the seat. I used 6 sheets; 3 in a row and another row of 3 sheets. After sewing them together I wanted extra strength so I fused it to one full sheet of cotton with iron on fusible web. I love this stuff for simple easy attaching of fabrics to each other.

Staple staple staple:

Center the padded board over your fabric and staple the middle of each side pulling tightly. Work each side from the middle outwards to the corners. Its’ the same technique as stretching a canvas. Pulling tightly is the key, as well as another 2 hands…

Fold neatly to take in the bulk of each corner. Match all the corners to look alike. Seat done; how cool is that?!

Never Fails:

Well, I can never leave well enough alone… if there is another way to be unique. The top of the back was just calling to be customized. Aha; some flowing type font would be perfect.

Using any software that lets you choose fonts I found what I was looking for. You can print it large enough, but I just sketched it out quickly… (that’s how I roll)

Transferring:

Just like when I transferred & painted the growth chart I rubbed some graphite (pencil) on the back of the paper and then retraced it as it’s taped in position on the chair. The lines are ‘transferred’ to the custom chair (like using carbon paper except it is erasable). Now a fine brush and some black acrylic paint, fill in the type. It’s not that particular type so it’s not that hard to fill in. If you have a Curio or Silhouette you could custom cut some vinyl as well.

I like this fabric so much I may actually upload it to Spoonflower as a print. Who can resist cute cheeky baby pictures?!

This will be an heirloom to pass on. Such a sentimental gift that is useful as well. Yes, it’s a bedroom chair so it won’t get much wear & tear. My grown baby, who is now a wonderful woman will always see how much I cherish her when she looks at it.

Go grab your baby’s albums and make some custom piece for a loved one!

A custom pillow, a custom chair, whatever you like… Put your heart into your work (play) and show someone how much you love them!

barbmaker

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 7 Comments

    1. Yes me too! It’s too bad that popular styles change. Someday the stuff that is popular now won’t stand the test of time as it’s poorly made. I’m hoping antiques will become fashionable again!

  1. Wow, Ms. Barb. I love that you don’t glom onto the current trend (farmhouse, chalkboard, etc). I love this chair. What a treasure. My baby has been my baby since we adopted her at 3wks old. We had 1,000 pics of her in her by her 1st bday. 😱 She will be 11 this month. I’m thinking pillow bc I don’t have a spare chair. Now, how to pick fave pics? The baby pic struggle is real.

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