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After I posted my dining room redo, I got several emails and questions from friends on exactly how one goes about doing this if you have never done any furniture projects.  Therefore, this post isn't for you DIY experts.  This is for the newbies, the people who haven't thought they could tackle a furniture redo project.  So, for all you Refinishing and Reupholstering virgins - this post is for you.  Because technically - this was my first big furniture project.  So I am going to step you through it and give you some hints and tricks that I learned along the way so that you can do this yourself if you like!   (Warning - picture intensive post to follow!)

To start, the first thing you need to do is flip your chair and/or table over and investigate how it put together.  I initially thought that the table top would be bolted to the legs and I would have to tape it all off.  Nope - there were just some common Philips head screws holding it in.  So - off it came!

I also unscrewed the chair cushions off the base so that all I had to work with was the metal furniture.

Can I just share a close up of the hammered grey that is now gone?  So much better black!  
The next step was to sand down the metal to remove the shiny finish.  I used a sanding pad and it was a breeze.  You don't need to sand hard - just take off the shine so the paint has something to grab on to instead of slide off.  After you sand, get some plain soap and water and wash off any remaining dust so you have a nice clean surface to work on.  Make sure that you take proper precautions if the furniture is old in case there was any lead paint used on it.  You don't want to inhale that in! 

For the actually painting stage of the project, I got a couple of big cardboard boxes that I cut open to use as spraying and drying platforms.  It makes it easier to keep any grass off the thing your spraying and keeps your grass from turning various shades of colors. I also highly recommend wearing plain latex disposable gloves while spraying to avoid getting a miscolored trigger finger!  Simply spray in a uniform pattern and try to do each piece of furniture the same way so you don't miss any areas.  

Here you can see some finished chairs that are drying - oh the black looks so much better! 

Now once you get your first coat on, do a visual scan to see if there are any missed spots or uneven areas.  Simply wait the recommended time that is listed on your spray paint can and then do your retouching.  Also - if it happens to be somewhat breezy when your working with, oh lets say a black spray paint, and you come in with a dark hairy looking man arm on your spray can spraying side - just hop in the shower and use an exfoliating cleanser.  It will come right off!   Once you are totally done, I recommend waiting the recommended time for the paint you are using before you set on a rug or carpet or replace those cushions.

To start recovering the seat cushions, you need to evaluate the type of fabric you are using and the kind of chair you are covering.  For me - the fabric I chose was a really nice durable Chenille (Eddie Bauer from JoAnn's if you are interested) but that was a lot thicker that the previous fabric.  Combine that with the fact that the cushions had to fit down into the chair frame rather than sitting on top. So no matter how tight I stapled - I ended up with bunches like this when I shoved the seat into the chair frame. If you end up in the same situation - keep reading.  Otherwise, you should be able to staple your fabric on the cushion, screw back on and move on with life! 
However, because my fabric was thick it bunched.  So I changed my plan of attack. First, I put in some staples in the center of each side to get the fabric centered where I wanted it. 

Next, I put the cushion in to the chair and used a large rubber mallet (covered with a clean dishtowel) to beat it down into the chair frame.  Once the seat was in, I reached up under the chair and using either my fingers or a pair of needle-nose pliers pulled the fabric taunt around the cushion.

When I had the fabric where I wanted it, I went ahead and screwed the cushion back into place and then made sure that it didn't shift (which it always did) and cause any new bumps or wrinkles (which it always did).

Finally, when the cushion was secured and the fabric taunt, I finished my staples around the bottom of the cushion to keep the fabric in its new permanent place.

And there you have it!  Those are all my tips and tricks for redoing a metal dining set. 

What about you?  Do you have any tips and tricks you would like to share with some other newbies in the comments section?  Or are you a newbie who now feels empowered?  Either way - let me know!

Linking this up to the following
Power of Paint Party with Maryann @ Domestically Speaking
Make it Yours Day with

Visit thecsiproject.com

47 frugal friends said ...

Christine said... @ April 21, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Great tips and the black does look so much better!!

Erin @ SYL: Slipcover Your Life said... @ April 21, 2010 at 10:55 AM

don't you just love staple gunning upholstry? def. one of my fav. home projects to do!

you did a fantastic job!

Chris said... @ April 23, 2010 at 7:22 AM

I'm absolutely in love! The fabric was the perfect choice! Love, love, love it!

Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden said... @ April 24, 2010 at 11:37 PM

Jess, they definitely turned out great! Thanks for sharing, even the parts that you had to unbunch!

Thanks for linking up to Make it Yours Day!

Anonymous said... @ July 22, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Great job! Now it looks so fresh and current! I just did something similar that you can see on my site. Once I have the seat on sometimes I'll use the "good for everything" duct tape to make sure my edges don't show from underneath.:O) Love it!

Unknown said... @ November 4, 2010 at 11:40 PM

Wow, you've redone your dining set neatly! I usually do these kinds of work whenever my aunt's metal furniture gets busted. But in my home, I used durable metal furniture such as hand forged iron fireplace accessories for its aesthetic appeal and hand forged iron hooks to give a place where my guests to hang their coats at.

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