Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chest/Bench Makeover - Stenciling on Fabric

This post has been a LONG time coming. This has been one of those projects that I couldn't get motivated to finish.

Here's what the bench originally looked like:

I got super excited in the spring when the yard sales started. I think I bought four or five pieces of furniture to refinish. I was so excited to get this little chest/bench for only $5.

I got right to work and repainted it to match my Game Cabinet, using leftover paint from when we finished the basement. {yes, I did it on my kitchen table. I use that old vinyl tablecloth for all sorts of projects}

 I added the stenciling.

 Then I thought I'd antique it. Big mistake, it just made it look dirty and while sometimes that is what you're going for, I didn't like how it turned out. {I didn't get a picture of this unfortunate step} Even my husband, who usually just keeps his mouth shut, commented that he liked it better before. So I did another coat of the light green and re-stenciled it.Then I sanded down the edges just a bit, to let some of the white paint show through.

 Then it sat... and sat... and sat.
 The problem was that there had been a spill on the cushion that had gotten all nasty and had to be replaced. At first I looked at Joanne's and the foam they have there is $60/yard. And it's not very thick. If you know me at all, you will know that I will not spend that much money. Especially when it's to fix up a $5 bench! So while I was trying to figure out what to do, it sat there... in my front room... for months! Seriously, I bought the thing in May, painted it right away  but it didn't get finished until November 1st. All of my kids had birthdays during this time and their birthday presents got stacked on it. So it's in all the birthday pictures and everything.

I thought about just painting the top and not having a cushion, but the lid was warped. Finally we bought some particle board shelving for $15 {which you can see in the above picture too}, which we used for the game cabinet shelves and also for a new lid. I still was not to keen on the idea of painting the lid, but had almost talked myself into it when we were at Home Depot and they had foam mattress pads there. They were only $20 for a twin sized piece. Still more than I wanted to spend, but WAY better than $60. I measured and drew a line where I needed to cut and used a bread knife to cut it.

Another problem I was having was finding a coordinating fabric. After spending hours at the fabric store, I could only find one bolt of fabric that matched, but I didn't really like it. Then it finally hit me.... Just stencil the fabric to match. Once I had that idea it was a simple matter of grabbing some cream colored duck canvas.

 I stapled the canvas to the lid, then stenciled after it was in place. I knew that I wouldn't get it centered if I stenciled it first. I will not attempt to instruct you on upholstering. This was my first attempt and I'm happy with it, but there are so many others who know what they are doing when it comes to upholstery and I'm not one of them:) I did do a test stencil on a small piece of the fabric. The paint did not go through the fabric at all. I'm sure on a light weight fabric it would, but the duck canvas was perfect for stenciling.

So here it is: the $5 dollar chest that ended up costing me $45 and took WAY too long to complete.
Maybe it was worth the wait, because I'm absolutely loving it. I bought it to store blankets. When we watch movies we can grab a blanket to snuggle up in when it's cold. I had a hard time taking it downstairs, because I really liked how it looked upstairs along the stair railing. Maybe next spring I can find another one to keep upstairs.

What do you think? Have you stenciled fabric before? Try these Easy Stenciled Bags!

You may also like:

Thrift Store "Card Catalog" Dresser Makeover


  1. Rachel, this is an inspiring post! It turned out beautiful and I LOVE the $20 foam at Home Depot idea!!! I have some pieces to do and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the price of foam! YIKES! The chest is GORGEOUS and the fabric stenciling idea was perfect!

  2. Great makeover!!! I'd love for you to share this at my link party Submarine Sunday. It's open until Friday @ 11:59pm. I hope you'll stop by!


  3. I totally know how you feel in taking months to finish a project! I love how she turned out. The stencils are fab! Thanks for sharing this at the party this week Rachel! I'm also featuring it on my Facebook page :-)

  4. Love this, it turned out great!! Thanks for linking it up at Artsy Corner!

    I also wanted to let you know that you were featured today :)

  5. $5????? Holy smokes! Well done!! Thanks for sharing :-)