Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another Man's Trash...

Well, I'm not ashamed to say that I scope out the "bulk trash" in my neighborhood. It's the stuff that people put out just before big trash pick-up day.  You never know what people are going to put out-- chairs, wooden tables, patio furniture, etc.  It's always fun to check things out and search for something with potential for a makeover.

Just the other day when I was on my way home, I spotted something on the side of the road that I have always wanted.  Well, in it's condition at that moment it wasn't what I've always wanted, but it had potential.  (I should have thought to take a picture of it in the bulk trash heap, but I got excited and didn't think.)  I pulled over, pulled it out of the heap, and headed home.

What was it that I pulled out?

It was the frame for a papasan chair, and it looked something like this. (Minus the blue paint on the stand.  I realized after the first swipe of spray paint that I didn't take a "before" picture.)

I decided to liven the old frame up and spray paint it blue.

Pretty big difference...

Now that I had this snazzy "new" papasan chair frame, I needed a cushion.
Sure, I could go down the road to Pier 1 and pay $80+ for a cushion, but (1) I'm too cheap for that, and (2)  where's the fun personal touch in that?  Oh, and did I mention I'm too cheap?

 Since buying a ridiculously expensive cushion was out, I decided to make one.  Now, I've never in my life made a papasan chair cushion, but I figured if I could make a pillow, I could make a cushion, so I looked up some ideas online.  I sort of combined different things I read and just got started.  

First, I measured the diameter of my chair, using a sewing measuring tape so it would contour with the curve of the chair.  I added about four inches to that number-- to account for "fluffiness" and the parts turned under while sewing, and that was the diameter of the circle I cut out.  

I laid out the fabric (I bought about 4-5 yards) with right sides together, and then marked a center point.  From that center point, I went all the way around marking at half the diameter (the radius) of the circle I wanted, and then I cut it out.

Now that I had my circle, I sewed it like a normal pillow, going all the way around the edges, leaving about a 2 foot gap so that I'd be able to stuff it.  Trust me, you need that big opening because I literally climbed inside while stuffing my cushion.

For the stuffing, I decided to use what I'd seen online-- several regular sleeping pillows cut into wedge shapes.  I went to Wal-Mart and bought about 7 of their $3 pillows... a grand total of about a $20 investment.  (You can use fewer pillows, but I decided to go big or go without.)
Then I cut them from corner to corner, creating pillow "wedges."

Yeah, Murph thought it was his new super huge and fluffy bed.

I arranged the wedges with the points all towards the center, creating a circle.  You may want to test it to make sure it's "fluffy" enough for your taste.

Finally, I finished up by stuffing the cushion, sewing up the opening, and tying off a few different points so that the cushions won't move.  (For the tying off, you'll want to use a great big darning needle and some strong yarn... especially if you make a super stuffed cushion like I did.)

I can't tell you how pleased I am with this chair.  I LOVE it.  At first I thought it might stay on the lanai since my total investment was only about $60, including paint, pillows, and fabric, but since it's so super comfy, I think it might have to find a home in the main part of the house.

Since the hubby is gone for a bit, I've temporarily moved his recliner out of the way so I can snuggle up in the papasan to watch my Golden Girls in the evenings. 

I'm not the only one who is in love with this chair now.

  A certain little guy named Murphy seems to think this is his new "nest," and every time he walks
by this chair he has to jump in it and snuggle up.

Now, because you guys know I love a good before and after, check it out...
What do you think?

What do you guys think?  Anyone else have a papasan chair you love?  Or maybe one that needs a makeover?


  1. You are so creative!!!!! I'm pretty sure I failed art class in third grade and never made it past stick figures and paper flowers haha. The chair looks amazing and good choice on the fabric :)

  2. love that!!! I wish I knew how to sew..

  3. Very creative, you really made it look modern.

  4. This looks AWESOME! I want one now... and all your time, so I can do this too! :) Jealous....

  5. Ok, how did I miss THIS the other day!? So nice!

  6. you amaze me!!! can i hire ou to help me do projects and put pretty artwork in my house?? <3 lylas <3

  7. Ok, before I finish reading this post I just had to say this...I am scrolling down checking out the pics of your creation when I see "Golden Girls"!! You, too??? Girl, I watch them most every night as I am using my laptop in the bed after John is snoozing away! Love me some GG!! :) Now, back to the regular programming of reading your post...

  8. The chair turned out so cute! You did a great job, sweet friend! I have always wanted one of those chairs...perfect spot to snuggle! :)

  9. Hahaha! Ann-Margaret, I LOVE me some Golden Girls. I'm a total Hallmark channel junkie, so I watch Golden Girls all the time!

  10. This is seriously amazing! I'm jealous of your amazing sewing abilities!

  11. Great job, it looks awesome! How did you prepare the rattan for the paint, and what kind of paint did you use? Has it come off with the movement of the dish against the stand? Thankj

  12. Thanks! It was actually so weathered that it didn't have much of a finish on it anymore, so I didn't bother sanding. I just took some spray paint (since it usually sticks to EVERYTHING) and went to town. So far, it is holding up very well. I really didn't have any crazy high expectations since I picked it up on the side of the road, but so far, it's surpassing my very low expectations. :)

  13. Looks great :)! Questions for you. I want to spray paint the base of my papasan chair. What did you do to prep it and what kind of spray paint did you use? Thanks in advance :)!

  14. Thanks! I just used a cheap indoor/outdoor spray paint from Wal-Mart. Since it was a total experiment, I didn't want to invest too much. It worked great though! As far as prepping the surface, my papasan frame was in pretty rough shape to begin with since I picked it up off the side of the road. If yours is in better shape than mine, you will probably want to do a light sanding just to scuff up the surface so the paint will for sure stick. Once you do that, paint away! It should turn out great! Good luck!

  15. Came across your blog - I found a frame at a garage sale for $1! Not quite free, but close! Was wondering how your chair has held up after several months of use? Mine is in pretty rough shape but I may need to sand it before staining it again - so wanted to see if you have had any issues with it rubbing against the base?

    Love the idea for the cushion! Was going to pay $50 for one on sale at Pier 1 - but will make my own now!! :)

  16. Hi - I love this! What type of fabric did you use?

  17. Thanks for the tutorial, I just found a Papasan chair, (minus pillow) today at the end of my road, being bulk rubbish collection in my suburb! What a great find!

  18. On Saturday I bought the chair from garage sale next door at $2 and searched for the cushions on internet and market and it took heck out of me to see the prices of the cushions. I got disappointed and started surfing internet and found this tutorial. Whaoo! I am not good in sewing though, but I took one of my old comforter out, shaped it round and tucked it with large safety pins and here I am with my lovely

  19. Just bought myself one of these from the second hand shop for £10 with a cushion. I'm going to spray paint it white and make a super cute cover for the cushion. Good to know this works if the existing cushion turns out to be a bit gross!

  20. This may be old but I just got a papasan love seat and am gonna attempt to make a cushion for it! Any suggestions on how to "double"this??

  21. I've been looking for a tutorial like this! Thank you so much! I am also not willing to buy an $80+ cushion haha :)

  22. This is an awesome tutorial, thanks for sharing. I just bought at papasan chair yesterday and will probably spend most of my weekend refurbishing and creating a new cushion. Did you use a sewing machine to sew the fabric...or did you do it all by hand?



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