Aug 08

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DIY- Reupholstering and Painting Old Bar Stools

Guest Post by Anna Bruce

Bar Stool reupholstered

My dad recently came upon these old and extremely dirty bar chairs when clearing out an old barn. Seeing as how the ones we currently had made me feel like Pee Wee Herman when I sat on them (They were way too short for our bar), I decided to take these chairs on as my latest and greatest project.

So I hear that Annie Sloan’s chalk paint is quite possibly the bomb dot com. I will never know for sure though, since it is a whopping $60 a pint and I am flat broke. So as I sat looking at these sad chairs, I heard a voice from afar say “Anna, make your own, own, own, own, own (that’s the echo sound.)” So that’s exactly what I did. I searched Pinterest high and low and found a recipe for homemade chalk paint that looked doable. So, here it is:


-2/3 cup LATEX PAINT with

-1/3 cup PLASTER of PARIS

(Be sure NOT to use paint/primer as pictured. That turned out a complete mess and I had to start over with regular paint




Mix well. Add a little water to the paint until the desired consistency and chalkiness -you want it pretty thick. I mixed it in a mixing bowl first, then transported it to an old mason jar. When I was done with the paint, I just put the lid on it and I’ll be able to use it on other projects. 


I made the hubs take the cushions off before I started painting. Excuse my terribly disastrous garage. We are having a garage sale in one week, I promise!!

Then I gave it a good wipe down with a wet wash cloth, let it dry, then got busy!

When you use chalk paint, you don’t need to prep the surface before you start painting. So no sanding or priming necessary, PRAISE BE!

This paint dries really fast so work quickly and work in sections. If you want a really rustic look then one coat is probably all you’ll need. I wanted a more sophisticated look, so I went with two coats. Then, I came back and distressed some areas with 100-220 (depending on the surface you’re working with) grit sanding blocks. The awesome thing about chalk paint other than the gorgeous finish it gives it, is that it is extremely easy to distress.

Next, it was on to the cushions. My mother, being the sweet daughter of an upholsterer that she is, offered to help me on this project. It is definitely a two person job because while one person staples, the other person needs to hold the fabric down tight.


We didn’t remove the old fabric, we just laid down the cushion and cut the new fabric around it to get our pattern. Make sure to cut more than you need, just in case.





After you cut the fabric, start stapling away with that staple gun! Be sure to hold the fabric as tight as you can get it to insure that it will be smooth on the reverse side.




We did the four sides first, then did the corners. When we got to the corners, we just made little pleats and stapled away some more.





Lastly just cut off the excess fabric.










And VOILA! You have a brand new cushion!












Here is the finished product (I still have some more distressing to do to it)







 Cost break down for this project:

Plaster of Paris: $6
Paint: $12
fabric: $18 for two yards (I got the good fabric that is stain and fade resistant since I was using it on a cushion that would get a lot of use once the kiddos start coming.

Total cost for project: $36


Guest post written by my sister, Anna Bruce. She is an awesome photographer and designer. Check out her website at:

WWW.ANNABRUCEPHOTOGRAPHY.COM or visit her on Facebook!

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2012/08/08/diy-reupholstering-and-painting-old-bar-stools/

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