Saturday, May 21, 2011

Before and After: Wicker Loveseat + More Stenciled Projects

Last weekend my husband and sons went on an overnight campout, which left my daughter and I some time together- just me and her. It was lovely. We had a "camp-in" on the living room floor and in the morning we bounded off to treasure hunt at yard sales.

We didn't have tons of luck at the sales, but we did have a really good time. My big score for the day was this wicker loveseat that I spotted two blocks away.

I was sure that it would either be overpriced or already sold (this seems to be my luck lately), so when I discovered that it hadn't been spoken for and was very reasonably priced I snatched it. The couple who sold it to me even offered to deliver it to my house! How sweet is that??

Upon close inspection this cute little loveseat was definitely showing some wear.

The wicker was still in pretty good shape, though, and the piece itself was very sturdy. After a little pondering I decided that I didn't want to paint it but would rather keep it natural. I grabbed my can of Minwax Polyshades that I used on my sofa re-do and got to work painting it on.

Here's an in progress shot. You can see in the left half of the photo the portion that's been stained and the right half that has not.

The stain didn't completely conceal the weathering that the seat had, but I didn't mind. I just wanted to darken the whole thing and make it a little more uniform.

After staining I had to get to work making a cushion. I priced them online and decided that I could make my own for way cheaper than buying a new one. I measured the seat and used a piece of paper to trace the curve at the back.
The tricky part was the foam. Have you ever had to buy foam? It is EXPENSIVE. Even with a 40% off coupon, I would've ended up paying over $30 at Joann for the amount that I needed for this project. Instead I searched for a used crib mattress at second hand stores and on Craigslist. It took about a week, but I ended up finding one for $15. Since it had springs inside I swapped it with the one my son has been using (which didn't have springs) and used that one for my cushion. Here it is stripped of the plastic cover.

Next I measured and marked the cushion with Sharpie and traced the curves using my paper template.

Cutting this stuff turned out to be tougher than I expected. I always use my electric carving knife when I cut foam, and on your regular spongy foam it works like a dream. But this mattress wasn't made of regular spongy foam, but was more like a really dense, thick batting. Eventually I got through it, though I almost burned out the motor in my knife in the process.
I'm afraid I didn't take any photos of the next few steps, but after cutting the cushion I deconstructed the plastic cover and re-made it to fit the new shape. Knowing this would live outside made me really want to do what I could to protect it from getting wet and gross.

What I'd planned to do was purchase some inexpensive fabric from This is the one I really wanted.

But by the time I was ready I realized that I didn't have any money to spare. So I thought and thought and finally decided to just make my own fabric.

There was still quite a bit of drop cloth left over from my sofa project, so I traced the shape of the cushion onto that with a washable pen. Then I made a stencil of the chevron pattern I wanted to use and mixed some acrylic paint with textile medium, very much like I did with my rug project.

I stenciled away, then cut out the pieces and sewed them together to make my cushion slipcover.

Really long upholstery zippers can be pricey, and I didn't have any Velcro so I used a row of buttons along the back as the closure.

That done, I got to work on some pillow covers. Using the same drop cloth fabric, I cut out a long rectangle that could wrap around the pillow I'd be using, leaving seam allowances on either side. Instead of stenciling I decided to try creating stripes using painter's tape on the first pillow cover.
I didn't try to get full coverage but kind of wanted a worn, washed look to the stripes. For the next pillow I printed off a number 5 on paper and cut it out to make a stencil. I don't know why I chose the number 5. I think I just like how it looks. :) Putting our house number on the pillow would also have been cute.

The pillow covers are a simple envelope style with no zippers or closures and came together really quickly.

Here it is all put together.

I'm so very happy to have a place to sit and relax on our porch now. There may be another pillow added soon, but for now it's cozy and cute enough for me.
I think my favorite part of this project was challenging myself to keep everything low-budget. Just for fun, here's the cost break-down of the whole thing:

loveseat: $35
cushion: $15
stain: on hand
fabric: on hand
paint: on hand
textile medium: on hand
cording: $2.40 (10 yd package purchased w/ 40% off coupon)
buttons: on hand
pillows: on hand

I still intend to waterproof everything with that spray stuff you can use on tents, but I haven't figured out where it is in the garage yet. Until then I'll just pray for sunny days and lots of opportunities to enjoy my new loveseat!


Oleander said...

wow, great job!

It looks fantastic

Amy Bahnmiller said...

You are so stinking fantastic... I love the ideas you have!

Anonymous said...

Oh I love this! How clever! I really like the buttons, and they give it so much more character than a boring zip. This is truly lovely, you should be chuffed :)

juleeln said...

i googled sew easy loveseat cushion cover and found your post. i am amazed. bravo. i love the piping and buttons. i hope i can summon the courage to try it.

awesome post!

Carol said...

I'm so impressed with your ability to make beautiful things by using your noodle and doing so much of it yourself. I'm always on a tight budget, and you're an inspiration to make do! AND... I think what you've done is way cooler and more attractive than store-bought!

Anonymous said...

I looked up wicker loveseat & yours came up. Love what you did. My husband brought a loveseat home that was on the curb home last night. My fear was spending so much on seats or foam.

custom printed cotton fabric said...

fabric is available online for the cover of the pillow. with reasonable price.