This post was most recently updated on September 22nd, 2019
No, I’m not “a sewer”. I have a sewing machine, and I’ve taken all the beginner courses. I even have a lop-sided wrap dress to prove it ;-). But let’s just say it’s not my favorite crafty activity.
Sewing is finicky and requires patience, something I don’t have in abundance. And, well, the whole idea of sewing an entire slipcover just seems like a patience-sucking activity. So, no. I’ll never be one of those amazing DIY ‘slipcover whisperers’ you’ll find on other blogs. If you are one of those people, I envy you! It’s not my thing.
But when it comes to dressing up a pre-made slipcover, well, that’s a sandbox I can play in! I’ve been wanting slipcovers for my (p)leather dining chairs for awhile. I love how easy it is to wipe down my (p)leather chairs, especially with two-year old twin toddlers. (P)leather is, well, totally PRACTICAL. But I’m so flipping bored with them.
Oh, how I would love to have stunning fabric-upholstered dining chairs. But it would probably require never feeding my kids again, lol. There’s just a few too many juice box explosions around here for fabric covered chairs!
So I compromised with washable slipcovers to give my shiny brown (p)leather chairs a softer look. I ordered plain cotton-duck slipcovers from Sears, for less than $20 each. Not bad, if you consider that new upholstered chairs would probably cost 10-20x the cost.
I’ve had a slipcover idea cooked up in my head for awhile. I really wanted to have big, whimsical numbers on the back of each chair for each of our five family members (so, numbers 1-5). You may have noticed that I’m in love with typography decor. (If you are too, you should check out my pinboard on Pinterest about decorating with letters and numbers!) I’m also a fan of the whole French Laundry / grain sack look. I’ve seen lots of great DIY projects on other blogs where pillows have been stenciled or painted with French grain sack insignia.
Hmmmm, how to choose, how to choose. In the end, I didn’t. I ended up with a design that combined both ideas!
Wanna know how I did it?
What I used:
slipcover, masking tape, textile medium and craft paint, a foam brush, stencils.
How I did it:
Step One (Prep Work):
Before I started anything, I washed and ironed the slipcovers.
It was a bit of extra work but it ensured that any shrinking would happen BEFORE the stencil was painted.
Ironing was important so that I had a flat, wrinkle-free surface to paint on.
Step Two: The French Linen Stripes
To get the look of french linen stripes, I taped off vertical lines with masking tape.
I found it easiest to do this with slipcover on the chair.
Once I was happy with the tape’s placement, I painted the fabric inside the the tape with a foam brush.
For my paint, I mixed 2/3 textile medium, with 1/3 latex paint.
I am sure that any craft paint would do, but I had a sampler of Martha Stewart Agean Blue on hand.
Once the paint was dry (OK, semi-dry, I told you I lack patience), I pulled the tape off to reveal the stripes.
Sorry, I don’t have a photo, but please imagine three perfectly straight, immaculately painted lines.
OK, no, they were not really that perfect, but I decided they’d do.
Gotta love the “shabby” in shabby chic.
Step 3: The Numbers
I cut my first of the five number ‘stencils’ out of cardstock on my Silhouette.
I made the number 2 first. I’m weird like that. It’s guess it’s just a prettier number than 1.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a Silhouette. You can buy number stencils at any craft store or at Walmart.
Or you can easily make your own.
There are lots of tutorials out there on making stencils with an x-acto knife and freezer paper.
I mixed some craft paint together to create a colour I liked,and then mixed it with the textile medium in the same proportion as the stripes.
Unlike the stripes. I laid the slipcover down on a flat surface to paint the number. Make sure that you put some paper in between the two layers of the slipcover to avoid seeping to the other side.
Not that I know anything about that ;-). Ahem.
If you are using a cardstock stencil like me, make sure you hold the stencil down as you go to ensure that it doesn’t move. Otherwise, you’ll end up with wonky lines.
Not that I know anything about that either;-).
Step 4: The French Grainsack Insignia
For this step, I created a faux French street address on my Silhouette, and cut another cardstock stencil.
Again, if you don’t have a Silhouette, no worries.
You can discover a creative way of making your own stencil by googling “freezer paper stencils”.
To finish it off, I added a little fleur-de-ly.
Step 5: Enjoy
Once the paint had dried on the insignia, I threw it in the washer and dryer to soften it up.
I also wanted to ensure that the paint would stay on through the wash before I painted my other slipcovers.
I am happy to report that it did!
Here’s the finished product:
Now onto the other four slipcovers!
I’ll post another pic of my dining area when all of them are finished.
Until next time,
Love the chair covers! They will go perfectly in my dining room. I can’t wait to get started on them. I must say that your house is lovely. I can’t figure our how you do it all with little ones. Where did you find your tablecloth? I’ve been looking for one with the same colors for months, with no luck. Any info on the tablecloth (brand, where purchased, etc) would be super helpful. Thanks so much!
love, love, love. i got started on this right away to fix my “chair covers don’t fit or look quite right” dilemma. I used indigo blue for the stripes to match transferware on my walls. It looks so good that i don’t think I will add any stenciling. sometimes less is more. my sister says they look so pottery barn! they really took my “french country” theme dining room. thanks a bunch! I am now a follower of yours.
Kathy Donchak says
I just found your blog as I was searching for a way to create some great graphics on new wedding slipcovers I am working on…your comment about your twins made me smile as I have bb 30 mo old twins and am juggling a creative business. Thanks for the ideas and inspiration!
I featured this genius project on my most recent blog post! I’m a new follower!
C’est La Vie
Erin of HomeSavvyAtoZ.com says
I love, love, love these chair covers! Pin! I am a new follower and would love for you to link this post up at my Savvy HomeMade Monday blog party at http://www.homesavvyatoz.com/blog-party-4/
i absolutly love your chair cover i really want to make some for my dining chairs. i showed my parner and he loves them to. like you im addicted to decorating xxx
Cute idea I would like 2 of them please!!! May have to try this if I can find 2 slipcovers for my chairs would look cute with my farm table I am refinishing!
Thanks so much Jen! I wish I could send you two, but I have another 4 to make for my own table, lol! Thanks for dropping by!