DIY Painting Chairs and Adding Upholstered Cushions to a Dumpster Find

The final product. Just perfect for our bar!

The final product. Just perfect for our bar!

I have been so excited to share these chairs with everyone. I just love them. I had looked everywhere for bar stools for our bar but hadn’t been able to find some that worked. I knew I would have to make them custom, but I hated to buy new chairs to just paint and staple them. I just put it off until the hubs brought in two pub chairs from the dumpster a couple months ago. There wasn’t a thing wrong with them except the paint was peeling off a bit. They were perfect for what I had in mind.

New Chairs Collage

This is what I started out with. They were a little rough. I sanded down the areas where the paint was chipping to give the paint something to adhere to. I decided to go with a cream color spray paint to lighten up our room a bit and match the granite counter top of the bar.  I used a paint with primer. It took about one can per chair.


I took the chairs outside for ventilation. Oh you may have trouble with the paint setting if it is really cold or humid outside. In the desert we have perfect days almost everyday so I didn’t have to  worry about temperatures or humidity. I am sure that there is a correct way to do this, but this was a cheap and simple way to get these redone.  I sprayed an even coat over the chair and then allowed it to dry. I repeated the process until the chair was covered to my satisfaction. After that, I flipped the chair over and went through the same process with the rest of the chair. I repeated the process of spraying and drying until both chairs were almost completely evenly covered with paint.


here they are after the first layer

Once the chairs were completely covered with the paint and primer combo paint, I allowed them to dry for a day. After drying I went over them with a gloss paint in the same color. I used about half a can on each chair. I did this to get a good seal on the chairs. Once again, I am sure there are many ways to get a seal on the chairs. Maybe a clear sealant would work as well.


I removed the seats from the chairs. I used craft glue to glue the above cushions onto the chair seats.


Make sure to put some weight onto the seats and allow the glue to dry. I used my tool box. It is really heavy.DSCN7961

After the cushions were dried I trimmed the corners of the cushion so the they weren’t so sharp. It was really easy to do with my sewing scissors. I also trimmed down the edges of the cushion that overlapped the seat. I laid it down and trimmed my upholstery fabric large enough to be tucked away once screwed back onto the chair. ((as an afterthought I think that I should have added a layer of batting over the cushion and seat to add a bit of extra padding so that the edges of the preformed cushion were less aparent)) Also, with fabrics like the one I picked I was careful about lining it up so that the chevron would be straight.



I pulled the fabric tight and used an upholstery stapler to secure the fabric. I was careful to make sure and place the staples where they would eventually be covered up by wooden braces under the seat once it was put back together. You may want to take a hammer and hammer the staples in the rest of the way if your stapler didn’t do the job. These were solid wood chairs so my light weight upholstery gun didn’t quite do the job.



I trimmed the corners where the fabric bunched up.


Once the cushions were complete I simply used the old screws and holes to reattach the seats to the chairs. The last touch was to add chair pads to the bottom of the chair feet to prevent scuffing up my floor any further. I got mine at dollar General for practically nothing. There you have it! This project was so easy and left me with chairs that looked like they had come from a custom made store. Another great thing about these is I can change the fabric any time I want to change the room up. These were perfect for our Christmas Eve party. Everyone loved them, and they also loved that there was actually enough seating for everyone for once.


UPDATE: Once I completed these chairs, I soon realized that the fabric would need to be sealed some how. I found Thompsons Fabric Seal available on All you have to do is follow the instructions on the can and the fabric will be water ad fade resistant. I love it! I will get a can as soon as I can and finish these chairs.

The final product. Just perfect for our bar!

The final product. Just perfect for our bar!

Good Luck! I would love to see your projects so link them up here on the comments or stop by The Blue Jar facebook page and post them.