6 Goodwill Upcycle Contest Tutorial: Directors Chairs

This contest is now over! If you would be so kind as to take a few minutes and vote for my project for the Goodwill Upcycle Contest it is super easy:

1. Follow this linkThe contest has now ended, sadly the chairs didn't make the top 25.
2. Find my project-
On mobile: click “View More” 3 times and the directors chairs should be the last one in the first row. 
Browser: Scroll down 17th row and it is the 2nd one in.
3. Click Vote.
The tile looks like this:
You are allowed to cast your vote one time per day, so come back everyday and share the love and support!

As I mentioned yesterday, for the past two weeks I had been working on these lovingly cared for director’s chairs.
And I’m back today with all the details.
After I got the email, it took me a few days to convince the boyfriend that we could enter the contest even though we have like a bagillion different projects going on. And to my surprise, he approved. The real jaw dropper was that he wanted to tag along. So I mapped out all the Goodwill’s in our area, waited for the boyfriends Sunday off, and set off to find something we could tackle in two weeks.

While exploring we kept an open mind and our thinking caps on. Sadly, much of the furniture (our favorite kind of makeover) was already picked over. It probably had to do with Goodwill’s Sunday 50% selected colored tags. Finally, about mid-day we found these seen-better-days directors chairs.
I love how they fold up.

I’ve always loved the lines of a director’s chair and the chances of stumbling upon a set- let’s just say we couldn’t seem to snatch them up fast enough. The boyfriend was pretty fond of them too. I figured we could use them for additional seating outside when we have our outdoor movie night.

Some of you may notice I photoshopped in different flooring and here’s the reasoning:

  1. Because our current floor is hideous, click here for my scathing review.
  2. The boyfriend and I always talk about future plans with our house and he finally caved in and said we can rip up the horrible flooring when we’re ready for the Kitchen Remodel. 
  3. And last but not least:
  4. Because it’s never too early to dream of the all the possibilities. Don’t hate me for my alterations.
The rest of the day was spent searching for other treasures (like the mug I want to sharpie) and fabric to replace the mismatched canvas. I was pleasantly surprised when we came across a huge piece of fabric.
Don’t let it’s folded up size fool you, the director’s chair canvas could barely hold it up. The table cloth was probably used for an entire town’s thanksgiving meal in its previous life. Or maybe it was used for banquets.
The chairs were $6.99 each and the fabric also came in at $6.99. We’re on a super tight budget lately, so my thrifty side thought the prices were a bit out of our comfort zone. On our way home I busted out my cell phone for some good ‘ol android research. I found the directors chairs can fetch a hefty $50+ each at target, brand new. Other make-over’s scored theirs for various prices like these:
Of course I’m envious of the black and white outdoor fabric the woman used to make her update. And as far as the cost for the fabric, I’m sure even if I were to use coupons, the cost wouldn’t come anywhere near $6.99 due to the size of the fabric. So now that we were satisfied on the prices, it was time to talk business. As in, what to do with the chairs, because we all know I can never leave anything alone plain.

At first I wanted to paint a design using fabric paint and a freezer paper stencil from my silhouette using a technique blasted all over the web (here’s one and another). But then I asked the boyfriend if we could put our two favorite movies on the back of the chairs. He was hesitant to identify a movie and instead voted on his favorite series The Simpsons. We talked paint colors and I talked about styling the finished photograph. By the end of the day our brains hurt and we were tired.

A few days went by and we set our minds on a Dark Grey (Knights Armor, Ultimate color collection exclusively at Menards) exterior paint color. I also present a verbal idea to the boyfriend for the fabric design. The idea was for the backs of The Simpsons family heads and the back head of my favorite superhero- Batman. He was happy I caved on the Simpson idea but of course he needs visuals, so I asked him to approve the designs when I was all done.

So off to the store to purchase the supplies:
1 Quart of Paint | 2 Frog tape | 3 Freezer Paper | 5 Fabric/Textile Medium (couldn't find exact)
We also used left over paint brushes, craft paintbrush, primer, sandpaper, and I had plenty of black thread laying around. The paint is Knights Armor, Ultimate Color Collection exclusively at Menards using Ultra Exterior in Satin.

We prepped by removing the top of the chairs from the bottom which were a few simple screws:
Taping around the hardware which we left on, and sanded:
Primed two coats:
We probably should have used a darker tinted primer because of the dark topcoat, but it covered the wood well, so that's all that matters.

Then after two coats of paint it was beginning to look like this:
When all was said and done there was a total of four coats.

In between coats as the paint was drying I worked on sewing the replacements. I won’t bore you with the details but it’s basically measuring, pinning (because I can’t cut or sew straight lines), cutting, and sewing.
When I was sick of needed a break from sewing, it was design time. After a few hours of surfing the net for inspiration, it was time to take the ideas to Photoshop. The final product looked like this:
The Simpsons

As mentioned yesterday, the batman inspiration came from this amazing etsy artist. I used different buildings and omitted the windows (more unnecessary work with the fabric paint). If the Eiffel tower wasn’t so intricate, you better believe it would have made the cut. Instead, I placed the Sailboat Building in Dubai (it’s really a hotel named Burj Al Arab) which is another place I’d love to visit someday.

The Simpsons design came from searching for the perfect hair outline of each character in the family as inspiration and resizing them proportionately to fit the canvas.

To transfer images from Photoshop to Silhouette is as simple as saving the images as .PNG and importing them into the silhouette studio. Then use the trace feature (playing with the High Pass Filter settings) to outline and detach the image so it’s ready to cut.
Since the area I had to work with on the directors chairs was 15 ¼ in x 8 ¼ in, I had to spread out the Simpsons heads to fit the 12x12 canvas size. No need to waste freezer paper.

Oh and we briefly contemplated another design on the bottom of the chair with as many Characters as we could fit.

I figured the batman one could have all the comic characters like Two Face, Poison Ivy, etc. Ultimately, we nixed the idea mainly for time and the fact that it could make the chair look cluttered.
The batman scene was a bit trickier since it was a silhouette of a city, which meant it was long continuous. I avoided that by grouping the buildings carefully.

Then I used the silhouette to cut out the designs.
Used tape to remove lint, ironed the fabric, placed the images, and ironed them on. Don’t forget the tiny ‘negative pieces’ like Maggie’s bow or Homer’s comb-over hair.
Dolphin iron cover optional- Can’t wait to sew a new one.
Then we mixed 1 part acrylic paint to 2 parts fabric medium (it’s cheaper than buying fabric paint in every color you want) per this recipe.
Then I got my paint on. Using a tiny craft paint brush, I painted from the edges inward. After each hour another two coats were applied. The final hour was dry time followed directly by carefully removing the freezer paper.

Of course the last day, as I was getting ready for the photo shoot, the boyfriend had a genius idea to glow in the dark paint which would have made the chairs all that more personal and amazing. Ahh well, next time. Or I could start all over with all the mounds of extra fabric.

And here is the finished product:

We both loved how each other’s chair turned out. The batman spotlight takes the cake for me.

Close-up of the design.
One last side by side:
Phew, lots and lots of mini-steps over multiple days to get those suckers ready, but I think they’re worth it. Even if we don’t win, they’re still a great addition to our outdoor furniture and will fit in just perfect for our outdoor movie nights.

Do you get a thrill from entering contests? What do you think of the photoshopped floors?

P.S. We were not paid or perked from any of these vendors; we just happily picked up the supplies necessary for the job.

I'm Linked at: Happy Hour ProjectsLiz Marie BlogShabby NestSee Vanessa CraftTidy Mom, and Somewhat Simple.


  1. The transformation is amazing! Great job on your goodwill upcycle project.

    And thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursday!

    1. Thanks for the kind words and stopping by Alli! I can't wait to dig up some more old posts! The link party was such a genius idea!!

  2. Oh goodness! How cute and creative are these. You are talented, love them. Thank you for sharing at Throwback Thursdays!


    1. Thanks for stopping by Denyse.

      Throw back Thursdays was really fun. I hope to participate again in the future. Thanks for stopping by and hosting!

  3. I was wondering if you would be willing to share your Simpsons design. My son is a major fan and would love this. Thanks. Denisecallum@yahoo.com

    1. Hi Denise, thank you so very much for the request. Please check your email!! You totally made my day!


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