By M. Quick
Loudoun does DIY! Hello guys, gals, and non-binary pals! Do you find yourself wanting to spruce up the library space, but aren’t sure what to do? Try a DIY project!
Our Instruction & Reference Services Librarian, Michael English, noticed an ad in the NOVA Daily Flyer that promoted NOVA’s surplus furniture inventory. Any department at NOVA can have these items for free, you just have to submit a request form to have them delivered. He noticed that there were four highchairs/bar stools available and figured that we could make some use out of them.
The warehouse was eager to get rid of them and delivered the chairs on the next business day. Here is how they looked when they arrived:
Depressing, right? I decided that it would be a fun DIY project to clean the chairs up and make them less horrifying. I cleaned them with wipes, broke off the orange plastic guards on the bottom. and then attempted to take them apart. This was the hardest part because the chairs are easily 30 years old and have been sitting in a warehouse. With a little elbow grease, WD-40 (actual grease), and my trusty Allen wrench/hex key multi-tool I was able to get it done.
I went to the nearby JOANN Fabric store and browsed the durable canvas fabrics. There were tons of patterns to choose from, but practicality won out and I went with two different shades of green. I got one yard of each fabric (more than I needed), one pack of hot glue sticks, and one can of black spray paint. The fabric was on sale for 60% off and the nice salesperson helped me find a coupon for the other items. I also grabbed two plastic tablecloths from the party store next door, so I wouldn’t make a mess with the paint.
While the chairs were dismantled, I took them outside and painted the legs so they would all match. I was able to find a shady spot in the grass and set up the tablecloths to prevent a mess. They had to dry outside for about an hour before I brought them inside to cure overnight. In retrospect, I could have used another can of spray paint, but I made it work.
As the chairs dried, I reupholstered the seat cushions. I brought my hot glue gun from home and chose to wrap the new fabric around the old one.
Finally, I reassembled all the chairs. Look how pretty!
It took me about a week to do the chairs (in conjunction with other work duties) and cost around $35 total or $8.75 per chair. In comparison, this Ingrid Bar Stool from the VCE website costs $225, you don’t get a cushion, and it would take two weeks to arrive. Also…it’s ugly.
We’re still figuring out how best to use the chairs, but they add a certain je ne sais quoi to the space and give us extra seating. DIY doesn’t have to be complicated – it’s a great way to be creative, have fun, and save some much needed $$$!