Saturday, June 9, 2012

DIY - Hope Chest

Many, many years ago – close to 35, I think – my father made a cedar-lined hope chest for me.  It was designed to be upholstered so that it could function as a seat as well as a cedar chest.  My intention at the time was to needle point a cover for it so that it could be finished.  For reasons that I no longer recall, the needle point cover never got made and the chest never got finished. 

Filled and sanded, my old cedar chest
awaits a major facelift.
Until recently.  Today, in fact.

A while back I was looking at it, thinking that it really has been useful over the years, but that it needed a facelift.  It was battered and scarred and more of an eye-sore than it needed to be.  I determined to re-vamp it and finally get it finished. 

I had a notion of what I wanted to do with it, but before I could start, I needed the fabric to upholster the seat.  My first thought was:  contact my sister!  She’s an avid quilter and so, I reasoned, probably spent a good deal of time in fabric shops.  I shot off an e-mail explaining what I wanted and why and was rewarded a couple of weeks later with about 20 photos of potential fabrics to choose from.  I also learned that there was a difference between a fabric store and a quilting shop.  While both sold fabric, fabric stores sell all kinds of fabric whereas quilting shops sell fabric more specific to the interests of quilters.  Who knew?

The amazingly gorgeous fabric my
sister found for me!
Anyway, my sister did make her way into a fabric shop one day and obliged me with some pretty spectacular choices. But photo #8 was the instant winner!

E-mails were exchanged.  Arrangements were made.  Money was forwarded.  And, eventually, the fabric arrived in the mail.  The project could finally begin.

Each colour took only a few minutes to
apply, but each layer took a day.  
The next order of business was to choose paint.  I took the fabric to the hardware store and began the tedious process of matching the colours: green, yellow, orange and red.  I found four that I liked and were fairly close and ordered them.  A few hours later, I was loaded up (as was my credit card) with all the bits and pieces I would need to get things happening. 

I must digress…

Once I knew what fabric I wanted and was waiting for it to arrive, I sanded, filled and sanded the hope chest in preparation of the real fun. 

Digression complete…
It took two weeks to get to this stage.

The bare wood required primer.  So that’s what I started with.  Two coats over two days followed by two more days of curing passed before I could start painting with the colours.  There was still one more thing to do, though.  I had to tape off the stripes.  There was no planning involved; I just started taping off areas as the mood moved me.  I felt that random thicknesses and spacing would be more fun than measuring it all out with precise widths.  I had no idea what it would look like or how it would turn out. 

This is what the cedar chest looked like
before the transformation.
As the days passed and the roll of painters tape slowly dwindled, the transformation took shape.  It was a bit of a wearisome process with all the waiting and patience that were involved.   I prefer not to have to wait and be patient, especially when I’m excited about something.  And I was excited about this.  I wanted it done, already.  I wanted to see it finished.  But paint has its own pace and will not be rushed. 

At least not without consequences…

Nothing dire, or terribly dramatic, I’m afraid.  I just got a little too eager after the painting was done and plopped the top onto the box to see what it looked like put together.  The result was pleasing and so I left it in situ overnight.  Unfortunately, the paint was still tacky and the lid stuck to the bottom and so I was compelled to do a few touch-ups.  Sigh…

My semi-successful attempt at
In the meantime, I set about upholstering the top.  The only other thing I have ever upholstered in my life is a foot stool that I made in grade nine woodworking class.  It was more or less like wrapping a present and I figured that doing the top of the hope chest would be an approximate  reprise of that, only on a slightly larger scale.  Let’s just say that it isn’t horrible.  I mean I can live with the results.  (I kind of have to now, anyway.)

I left the touch-ups to dry for two days.  After that I couldn’t stand it anymore and I set the upholstered top in place.  There were still a couple of things left to do – put the hinges back on and attach the handle, but I was distracted by other demands that life was dishing out and was forced to leave those for a few days. 

The finished cedar chest ready for public consumption.  
So today, after digging two fence-post holes, weed-whacking, plant shopping and plant planting, I decided to finish the hope chest.  Guess what?

Yep the touch-ups were still tacky and the top was stuck to the bottom again.  Sigh…
One day I will re-touch-up the freshly damaged touch-ups.  As long as the lid is closed no one (but us) will ever know.  

1 comment:

  1. Beauty - no less than I expected when I saw the fabric you chose. Good job, sis!


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