Saturday, October 6, 2012

From trash to something pretty...

I have always enjoyed creating things--whether it's hand-sewing a fabric purse, refashioning vintage jewelry or painting a design on a cabinet, a wall
( or the floor*) of my 1920's bungalow.

Recently, however, it was pinterest that really got my creative juices flowing.
Once I started perusing the many fascinating DIY boards of my fellow pinterest-enthusiasts, I became almost obsessed with finding discarded items to improve with tassels, lace, paint, wallpaper, etc.

One of my recent projects began with 2 old hardwood chairs I found sitting out by a neighbor's trash can. After I ascertained that the chairs were, in fact, to be thrown away, I grabbed them. What a deal! Free!

I suppose that most people would probably have stripped, sanded and refinished the chairs. Not this girl!
 Based on an idea I saw on pinterest, I dug out an old lace curtain valance a friend had given me, laid it across the chair at an angle, taped it in place and spray-painted (flat white) through the lace. It made a pretty lacy doily-look design. Tip:The best type of lace for this project is one with a pattern in the lace that's more on the larger side, as the design is clearer.
 I then painted the rest of the chair white.
(I used the semi-gloss interior wall & trim house paint I had on hand.)

 It looked pretty good, but I decided it needed a pop of color, so I painted a fine line in deep turquoise around the edge of the lace design using a tiny artist's paint brush.
 I intend to eventually put a couple of coats of varnish over both chairs to keep the design from getting scratched and I would advise you to do the same. 

I was thrilled when my 'trash to treasure' chairs were featured on a few months ago under 'Doily Design Chair'.
Having no blog at the time, I relied on the owner of that website to post it for me. I really appreciate all your help, Beckie!
Here is a picture of the lace curtain panel I used to make the spray-paint design.(notice the large design pattern)


Here are the chairs just after I spray painted through the lace.

 Here is a close-up shot of the chair seat. The edges blurred a bit when some of the spray got under the lace.
Tip: Be sure to securely fasten your lace to your wood, so you have a cleaner edge to your design.

Here are the finished lacy doily-design chairs...from trash to pretty nice!

*Just found out my chairs made the #1 spot for 2012 on!!
 So cool...


  1. Thank you, Ambra! I enjoy thinking up new ways to recyle 'trash' into 'treasure'...

  2. While spraying dye over a lace covered t-shirt, to have this same effect, I found it stayed put and eliminated that lifted edge, to lay my lace over a plastic table cloth (wrong side up)and spray lightly with spray adehesive. Peel off after a minute or so and the lace adheres well to your surface and gets a good seal, but is easy enough to peel off when your paint is just tacky.

  3. Thanks for the tip, Gina.I have used the spray adhesive on paper before, but never thought of it for fabric. Good suggestion!

  4. Thank you,'s really pretty easy--try it!

  5. This is very nice and I pinned it on Pinterest for my inspiration. When i get dining room chairs, i hope to remember this easy and awesome way to turn yuck into fabulous!

  6. Marie
    Thank you for the pin and for your compliments. I know I keep repeating it, but it really is quite easy to do. Don't give up...! You can change 'yuck' to fabulous, too...

  7. I am hooked! I love this look and currently trying to come up with a few ideas on changing the look of a chair and ottoman my uncle gave me, it doesn't really match anything in my house, and we are getting ready to remodel everything, so this might just be the perfect idea to fix it up ad a little accent to the whole room! Thanks for the idea!

  8. Quennie
    You are most welcome! The possibilities are endless when it comes to wood furniture. I hope your chair & ottoman project turns out great...

  9. Great job, this certainly qualifies as a trash to treasure look. I can't wait to try this out.Congrats on making the #1 spot for road kill. Thanks for the idea, I love it, now I need to keep my eyes open for chairs that I can transform!

  10. Thanks for the nice comment, Mimi2six...
    I hope you find the perfect chairs---it really is quite simple to do and yet, looks so great!

  11. Can you tell me how you got the dark brown ? Did you first paint the seat of the chair and then spray white ? I have been looking at the original chairs, the lace, and the color and am having a hard time understanding how you got the color contrast and such a clean look. I love the chairs and want to get it right. Thanks you for such posting.

  12. Cheyenne
    The dark brown color on the chairs is the wood stain that the chairs were when I found them.They are vintage hardwood chairs---walnut or mahogany, maybe? I just wiped the chairs down with a damp rag and, after they were totally dry, I placed my lace where I wanted it, taped it to keep it where I wanted the design and spray-painted through the lace.
    Thank you for the comment and let me know if you have any more questions!

  13. Wow , what a great idea of converting the trash into the beautiful things , I am very surprised to read your post . How beautifully you have done this . Great work man keep it up.
    bamboo floors

  14. The chairs are gorgeous. I will be moving soon and these lovely things are on my "to Do List" as soon as I get settled enough to think about anything other than packing/unpacking.

    I plan to use spray adhesive to attach my lace.....the same kind that is used to temporarily attach stencils.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  15. Thank you, Jerry! I love to do it....

  16. gaidheallass, I really appreciate your kind comment. The response I have received from these chairs has really amazed me!
    That is a good idea to use spray adhesive--I should have done that and I wouldn't have had the over-spray on the edges.
    Happy creating!

  17. Thank you for your post Elise. I got a wooden chair for my birthday from my little brother in February because I haven't stopped talking about your project. Lol. How sweet. My only problem has been finding a lace pattern I like. Wish me luck.

  18. Burnheadstudio, If I may make a suggestion, try to find an 'open' lace such as the lace curtain I used. It makes a larger pattern that is then easier to edge in another color, should you decide you like that look.

    Hope you find just what you want soon!

  19. Here's some great art made from recycled materials...

  20. Actually, I like the "blurred" edges. It makes a very soft look.

  21. I appreciate that JeanneMara....I like the way it looks, also, but some people prefer a cleaner, sharper look...

  22. Hi, greatings from Denmark.
    I am eager to try this. It looks so beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing your idears.

  23. Hello, Susie! I am pleased to hear you are going to do this---you should be able to find some nice vintage lace to spray-paint through there in Denmark...
    You are most welcome!

  24. I Love this idea. I'm a trash to treasure junkie as well and I am in the process of staining a dresser black. I think I will do the front of the drawers in this technique and angle the top...great idea! It will look great in the black, white, green room I am doing

  25. Thanks for your comment, Susan! Your plan sounds great.. I would love to see photos when your room is completed. If you wouldn't mind sending some to me, here is my email

  26. How did you get the multiple colors effect?

  27. Liadan, if you are asking about the faint hint of blue in the design, here is part of the directions from above:
    'I painted a fine line in deep turquoise around the edge of the lace design using a tiny artist's paint brush.'
    If that isn't what you were referring to, let me know and I will try to answer it...Thanks for your comment!

  28. Oh I am so glad I stumbled across this. I love redoing chairs, and doing one for a benefit this year. Lace has been on my mind for it since FOREVER and this is exactly what i needed! I plan on sanding mine, then painting and adding accent touch. I have to redo the cushion too. Thanks for the inspiration!!


  29. Try it, Amy! It's not difficult at all.....but looks like you spent hours working on it. Thanks for the comment.

  30. Great idea..very beautiful.. love it..