Recently, I realized it was time to recover my great-grandmother’s set of four ladderback chairs. I inherited these girls from my parents in 2002, along with the Queen Anne-style square table that my mom and her “cronies” played bridge at. I think the set lasted about two years under my roof before I got out my paintbrush and painted them white (hide all your antiques–I will paint them!). The chairs have worn four different fabrics since they came to my house, and peeling back the layers is like a “history of interior design over the ages” class, but most recently they were sporting a butter yellow: Two of them live in my sitting room/office, and two are in my living room. Despite the fact that they’re geographically separated, I wanted to number them when I recovered them. I attempted to use the Citrasolv method, which is all over the blogsphere right now, but I couldn’t find a copier that actually worked with Citrasolv (note: I have found one, since that project, and it’s in my public library branch!). Instead, I started with canvas painter’s dropcloths from Home Depot. These are a really inexpensive way to buy neutral fabric yardage. Wash your dropcloth first, and bleach it until it’s as light as you want it (they’re not white, but kind of beige when you start out). Iron it so you have a smooth surface, and cut the dimensions of your seat, plus 3″ all around. Better to have to cut some off than to be left hanging! Or, just pop off your old fabric first and cut around that. I used Apple Myungio for my font, at 700 point, but I also like Century. I cut the numbers out on my Silhouette Cameo, using clear contact paper, because I had some left over, but keep reading if you don’t have a Silhouette and I’ll give you another option. Peel away the number itself and keep the negative, and stick it on the middle of your seat cushion. Squint hard and you can see what I mean! Oh, and press really hard to seal the edges. When I had all four fabric pieces done, I took them onto the screened porch and spray painted them. Yep. Just plain black spray paint. I used gloss black, because that’s what I had, but I don’t think it matters on fabric applications. Give them a few minutes to dry because if you peel the stencils away too early, you can smear your fabric. I let mine dry for an hour on the porch, peeled the stencils off, then let them dry overnight. Then, I threw them in the wash the next day and hung them to dry. You want to get all the excess paint off before you sit on them!
Iron the numbers on the reverse side, and use a pressing cloth underneath in case the paint transfers a bit when you iron. Then, simply use your staple gun to put the new covers on your seat cushions. Here’s how mine turned out:
Yes, you could easily make pillows out of these!
OK, if you don’t have a vinyl cutter, here are your options. The first method is to print your numbers out (actual size) on your printer. Using transfer paper, which you buy at the craft store, trace the numbers onto your fabric. Use a sharpie to color in the number–and be sure to check a corner first to be sure it doesn’t bleed too much on your fabric. Another option is to print your numbers out on thick cardstock and cut around them with a craft knife, making your own stencil. Tape it on your fabric and paint it!
Oh, and apparently they make fabric paint for these things–I just used what I had. Go figure!