Get Crafty! DIY Folding Chair Upgrade

Hi Friends!

Monthly Pinterest Challenge with Hey Love Designs

This project is part of the Monthly Pinterest Challenge.

I want to tell you that this makeover was a magical experience. It wasn’t. It was a pain in my ass! It was also a true taste of patience.

Spoiler alert: I have no patience.

Thanks to Friendsgiving and my major desire to play hostess again, I was in need of extra seating in my home. My condo is so small that there’s no way I can fit any more furniture in my home. The solution? Folding chairs.

The thing is, folding chairs are kind of ugly. There are some pretty ones out there but I’m not trying to spend a ton of money on a short term solution. I recalled an image on Design for Mankind that I had pinned to Pinterest a long time ago and I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do with my chairs.

So with this plan in my back pocket, I then scoured Craigslist for a few days and found these lovely chairs – only 4 for $25!

Fold Chairs Found on Craigslist | Hey Love Designs

I heart Craigslist.

When I brought the chairs home, I knew that I had my work cut out for me. While they appear fine, upon closer inspection, the chairs were also super grimy, scratched up, and the vinyl was just disgusting. But for just about $6 per chair, I wasn’t going to complain. I ripped up the vinyl and the very disgusting padding underneath, scrubbed the entire chair down with an alcohol and water solution, and had to take the whole seat apart to get all the vinyl off.

There was a lot of cursing, prying, and stink eye going on to get the seat apart.

Chair Makeover | Hey Love Designs

Chair guts.

The next day I set out to buy all of my chair makeover supplies. Spray paint, primer, fabric, and new padding for the chairs. I thought this mint color* and the pattern of this fabric pair well together and they won’t clash with other patterns going on in my living room (see here and here).

Mint Spray Paint and Grey Metallic Fabric | Hey Love Designs

With all my supplies gathered, it was time to set everything out on my balcony. It’s mighty-morphin’ time! (Oh yes I did go there.)

Fold Chair Makeover | Hey Love Designs

Let me tell you the one downside of living in a small condo. I have very limited options on where to paint. Painting indoors was out of the question. I didn’t want to paint in the grassy area behind my building because I didn’t want to leave the chairs unattended between coats. Family and friends graciously offered their garages and yards, but my stubborn self and inflexible schedule decided to stick with my balcony.

I regret not getting help.

Despite my balcony being quite large, it was still awkward as hell to try and spray paint these chairs. Trying to navigate around the chairs plus wind blowing stuff everywhere was just so frustrating.

Again, I cursed and gave the whole project the stink eye.

I carefully sprayed each chair with Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi-Purpose Spray Paint White Primer.* Despite the great coverage this primer offered (apparently two times the coverage of normal primer), I wish I had lightly sanded the chairs and did a second coat. Why? I’ll get to this later.

Folding Chair Makeover | Hey Love Designs

After letting the chairs dry for a day, I then went and sprayed the chairs in the mint paint. They key is to do light and even layers. Young House Love has a great tutorial here.

Things continued to go terribly wrong. I noticed parts of the chair had cracked paint. Apparently some parts of the chairs did not have enough primer, so the mint layer didn’t “stick” as well. Don’t skimp on primer, folks.

After 3 layers of Catalina Mist (and waiting days for a non-windy opportunity to complete each coat), the paint job was done. ::cue happy dance::

Folding Chair Makeover | Hey Love Designs

Next up: the seats. Since the existing padding was all sorts of gross, an added expense was buying new foam pads for the chairs. I settled on these foam pads from Joanns.

I used the seat to trace the foam to size and also traced the fabric so it had a 3″ perimeter around the chair. I then cut them both out, then glued the foam onto the chair so it wouldn’t shift when people sit on it. I then placed the fabric on top of the foam and secured the ends with adhesive spray before placing the whole thing into the bottom seat piece. I fastened everything back up, put the chair back together, and viola!

Folding Chair Makeover | Hey Love Designs


Folding Chair Makeover | Hey Love Designs

I’m happy with how they turned out buy oh my damn, was this a long and frustrating process. It was a true test of patience and the costs quickly added up. Thank goodness for coupons!

Would I do this again? Only on a chair that doesn’t require upholstering and if I have the space to paint. Overall though, I’m glad to have chairs that look the way I wanted them to look. I’m also glad that this project I’ve long pined for saw completion.

Friendsgiving Table | Hey Love Designs

Now I can have people over without having them sit on the floor (within perfect face licking height for my dog, Nico).

This post participates in the link parties listed here.


* This post contains some affiliate links in which I will receive (very, very small) compensation if you purchase any products using my links.

  • Jessica

    they turned out great! I think 90% of DIY projects test my patience. I might take these on though, if I could do it in the summer in my parent’s garage.

    • Michelle

      Thanks! They appear nice from afar. Up close they are chipped and the paint is a little uneven but, meh, what can I do? They’re still pretty to look at :)

      Let me know if you end up doing something like this!

  • Cori George

    Wow! That’s quite the transformation. I’m learning my way through spray paint myself — it’s definitely a process!

    • Michelle

      For sure! Next time (if there is a next time) I will make sure I give myself adequate space to spray and to not be sloppy about it!