Thursday, June 2, 2011

Making over a $5 bargain.

My first post back after a very long time features a little project I've been intending to do for about 3 years. That's typical of me btw.. shocking procrastinator. ;o)

Anyway.. the aformanetioned project was to re finish or recover this little chap..

I bought this 24 inch square storage cube about 3 years ago at the Salvation Army Charity/Thrift shop for the massive sum of $5 [about 3 quid].

It was covered in a hideous brown leatherette material, but it was a good size, and I knew it would be really handy.

I immediately filled it with magazines and assorted other junk.. put it in my living room and set about finding an appropriate fabric to recover it with.
And that's where it has stayed ever since.

Over the years I've bought assorted bits of material with the intention of using it for the poof.. but they either got used for other things or didn't quite work.

Then last week hubby and I were in Victoria and I finally found the perfect fabric.

For the last little while I've felt that our Living Room needed an injection of both colour and pattern.
Of course this has in part been due to the fact that all those 'in the know' as it were, have been calling for more of both in home decor for some time now.
Anyway Chintz and Co in Victoria has a great fabric dept, which is lacking in my neck of the woods, so I didn't waste the opportunity to have a good old nose around.

There were two options that I considered..

The top one is a bold graphic with a vaguely Morrocan feel about it..that came in a linen texture...
or the bottom one which has a distinctly English Country garden flavour and was 100% cotton.

I plumped for the floral for a couple of reasons.. Firstly there's already a floral inspiration on the curtains in that room and secondly the lines of the room are tending towards the boxy. I was afraid the graphic would only enhance that feeling and my intention is to soften it.
So I bought two metres of the floral which I think is a Waverly fabric and is called Charlotte.

First thing I did with the cube was to unscrew the hinges and separate the lid from the bottom..

There was a strip of the tacky leatherette connecting the lid to the bottom..

But as you can see from this photo it wasn't hard to remove ;o)

It was always my intention to leave the existing covering in place..  although I suspect having examined the piece a bit more closely, that the hideous fake leather was ITSELF a make over..
so I could probably have taken it off.

In the end though I left it on, but I did remove the loose piece on the inside that was just there to cover up the staples.

So I've got it in 2 pieces and I also removed the four little metal feet with a view to putting them back on once the new fabric covering was in place.
Next job was to cut the fabric to fit around the bottom.. I measured that I needed 19 inches width to wrap the bottom from underneath into the inside...
The fabric I had was 54inches wide by 2 metres long so I just cut 19 inches off the width right down the full length of the piece. That gave me a strip 19 inches by 2 metres.

It wrapped perfectly round the sides of the base, with a bit of a fold to neaten the edge.. and I used my favourite thing in the whole world.. white duct tape.. to hold it in place whilst I stapled it both underneath and inside. The inside corners were a bit of a bugger.. but you just have to fiddle a bit until they're neat enough to satisfy you.
Once the bottom stapling was done I banged the feet back in.. which was handy because they add some additional security to the staples.

Next I did the same with the top by cutting a square out of the remaining fabric big enough so that it covered all of the old leatherette on the inside of the lid. That was easier to do because there was at lease a bit of plywood to staple into... God knows what the sides are made of.

Once the lid was covered, I reattached the newly scoured and cleaned hinges to it, and I tidied up the raw edges of the fabric and the staples with some more white duct tape.
I then used an offcut and made a square piece to cover my workings.
No sewing.. I used Wundaweb to seal the edges...

AND... I used Wundaweb to attach it to the inside of the lid too, which covers up all the staples and duct tape underneath perfectly.

Wundaweb btw is just an English brand name.. any old bonding type product will do the job just the same.

Plus because I'd already screwed the hinges back in.. the fabric 'patch' even covered the screwheads on those.

I must admit I was really pleased with the results.. it gave a really sharp and neat finish.

And I was surprised at just how easy it was..

The final stage was to re attach the hinges to the bottom.. which hubby had to help me with... but only because I needed an extra pair of hands.
I did then have to come up with an alternative to the strip of leatherette to act as a connector between top and bottom to prevent the lid falling back and breaking the hinges.
A bit of lateral thinking and I came up with this...

This photo shows how I used my beloved white duct tape to finished off the inside of the box too.. which I know isn't perfect, but frankly when it's filled with magazines and stuff, you can only see the fabric covered part anyway. The chain is from a piece that was spare when we put up a light fixture. I just used pliers to disconnect a piece the exact size I wanted and it worked perfectly.

The frame of the top of the box is a solid piece of wood so it was easy to screw into.. although I did have a problem because the screwheads were all too small to hold the chain..
so voila...

I used a washer to give me the extra circumference I needed.. and it worked beautifully. The chain is totally secure and adds a nice touch of shiney to the finished project.

The back looks like this..       The fold is secured with more of the Wundaweb .. It looked alright and was secure enough I think  just as a fold, but I wanted to err on the side of caution.. so I sealed it down.

And this is the finished article... Of which if I do say so myself.. I am very proud. All in all it cost $5 for the cube itself.. about $30 in total for all the fabric.. a dollar or two for the Wundaweb. The chain which was just hanging about in my 'odds and sods box' doing nothing and was therefore FREE, and two screws and washers.. and that's it. Plus once I had actually got my arse in gear to do it.. it really only took about 2 hours to do it.

All in all I'm very pleased with how it turned out.. and I think it works really well in the living room.

 I've got a couple of $10 side tables to show you next. I bought them from the local auction house.. and they have waited a similarly long time for their do over... but they're done now so I'll take some 'after' photo's and post them later in the week.

Jo xx