This post is about breasts. And fabric painting. And crazy upholstery projects that we have no business taking on. And a beautiful Naked Lounge Chair.
We all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This disease is huge and heartbreaking, and people pitch in however they can to help fight this thing. Because as my blogger friend Lynne Knowlton says so eloquently, Cancer Sux. Big time.
Every little effort helps. Here is my youngest donating her hair last October to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Her beautiful gold hair went to someone else who needed it more.
And around the same time, Nads and I were able to help in a fun and creative way. We created our Naked Lounge Chair for Battle Pink, to help raise money and awareness. We had the bright idea of reupholstering a chair with hand painted fabric that said “breasts” loud and clear. This was an ambitious project for us, considering we had very little time. And no upholstery experience. Or fabric painting experience. Or even a chair. Very ambitious.
We needed help – and lots of it. And the amazing thing was that everyone we asked said yes. No hesitation. Not one bit. Cancer touches people in heartbreaking ways, and people are often inspired to respond with the best they have to give. Frontier Sales, a fabulous used furniture store in the east end, gave us a great chair. Talented Canadian artist Shawn Skeir painted the fabric for us when we chickened out. And the amazing people at Scarborough Interiors helped us with the upholstery. It all came together to create our stunning Naked Lounge Chair. A gorgeous naked figure lounges on the chair, reminding us to think about our breasts, talk about our breasts, and get to know our breasts like the back of our hands. Awareness is our weapon here, ladies, and this month is the month to talk about “the girls.”
This beautiful chair sits in my living room. She’s quite a stunner. And she looks just as good as she did a year ago, proving that painted upholstery lasts. Yes, people do sit on this naked lady, and find her quite comfy. Gorgeous, practical, and naked – what’s not to love?
Have you ever thought about painting fabric for a project? I’m here to say you can do it, and it’s easier than you think. And don’t worry about being artistic, because even our test pieces of fabric look fabulous, where we just played with the dyes and splashed them around. Trust me, you can do it! Here are the DIY tips you need to know.
1. Find A Simple Chair And Remove The Upholstery
First of all, we chose a chair in a simple design with good bones. No wings, arm panels, or box pillows – these are too challenging for an upholstery beginner. We carefully removed the original upholstery and kept all the pieces, which provided templates for cutting the new fabric. The stuffing in our chair was in great shape, and didn’t need to be replaced. You can find more details and pictures here.
2. Design Your Fabric
The next part was designing the fabric. We chose natural looking upholstery-grade cotton from our go-to source, Designer Fabrics in Toronto. Very important: before you cut your fabric, wash and dry it to pre-shrink and remove sizing. Nothing worse than a shrunk naked lady!
Try to use good quality fabric dye. We used Pebeo Setacolor Opaque and Transparent dyes, which were perfect for the watercolour-like painting technique Shawn Skeir used. We were careful to choose colours that worked well together – nothing too clashy. Have a look at this post for more details. Here you can see the painted strips we used to make our contrast piping.
Although the artwork on our chair is professional, I have to say that even the rough test samples looked fabulous. The abstract designs and splashes that we created when we were experimenting looked amazing. So don’t be afraid to try this even if you think you don’t have artistic talent!
3. Get Out Your Staple Gun and Re-Upholster
The last thing we had to do was upholster the chair. Scarborough Interiors was an enormous help for us, but if you choose a simple enough design I think you can try it yourself. Our chair had a simple front and back, and we just stapled on the fabric and glued on piping at the end to cover the staples. The box seat needed some sewing to add side panels to the top of the seat. The piping on the seat adds a nice touch, but was a little fussy to sew if you’re not experienced. You can always leave this off to simplify the project. More details are available here.