I'm excited to bring you a fresh and new upcycle, the Arched Greek Key Stamped Chairs. I stumbled across these beautiful wrought iron and travertine chairs at a local charity shop, and for $20 each I knew I had to bring two home with me. My plan was simple - reupholster the cushions with fresh fabric and paint an abstract print onto the fabric. I have been feeling really inspired by the Greek Key lately, particularly Lucy Folk's interpretation and wanted to paint this onto the fabric. And surprisingly there were many complexities with this upcycle.
Reupholstering the cushions was simple and straightforward, however there were many challenges with creating the Greek Key. I needed to create a stamp or a stencil that ensured each key would link with the next (or as close as possible) while also taking into consideration the shape and curves of the cushion. The Greek Key is always in a straight line, so this was going to be a challenge and therefore the final pattern on the cushion stumped me for days. I would also only have one chance to get it right as I was stamping the Greek Key stamp directly onto the cushion (and didn't have any spare fabric to rely on!). I spent a lot of time practicing and creating the final pattern, but I was also aware I wanted it to look organic and not belong in a Versace showroom (know what I mean?).
I have to admit, this upcycle almost broke me! There are many different Greek keys and they are actually quite complex because the formations are highly detailed and they have to connect from one to the next. I ended up designing a Greek Key stamp using cardboard and using a photo I took of a tiled Greek Key floor in a restaurant here in Noosa . Once I cut out the stamp, I knew I had to use proper fabric paint to make this upcycle look as professional as possible. I did a lot of research and discovered a way to turn any water based acrylic paint into fabric paint simply by adding a mixture of glycerine, white vinegar and water to the paint. Which is exciting because you can use any colour paint you like or even make up a bespoke colour. To make your own Arched Greek Key Stamped Chairs, please read on. And as always, happy making!
Before we begin, I've got some really important information to share with you:
What is the Greek Key?
The Greek Key (also known as the Greek Fret) was an ancient symbol for infinity and the 'eternal flow of things'. These days, it's known for symbolising eternity and unity because of the continued line pattern.
How to make fabric paint
If you are using water based acrylic paint, you can turn it into fabric paint if you mix 20ml glycerine, 20ml white vinegar and 40ml water in a small bowl then slowly add it to the paint until the consistency is thin like pen ink.
Remove the cushions from the chairs using a screwdriver.
Cover one cushion with the white cotton fabric and secure in place with the staple gun. Trim excess fabric off using the scissors. Repeat with the other cushion.
Cover one cushion with the linen fabric and secure in place with the staple gun. Trim excess fabric off using the scissors. Repeat with the other cushion.
Use a ruler and a pen to create your Greek Key. Cut the stamp out using a box cutter or a craft knife. Cut and glue smaller pieces onto the correct side of the Greek Key, as this will act as the stamp's handles.
Dip the stamp into the fabric paint and wipe off excess paint using the small paint brush. Stamp the arched pattern onto each cushion. Set aside to dry. Put the cushions back onto the chairs using the screwdriver and they're done!
There's nothing like upcycling and breathing new life into a pair of chairs thrifted from a charity shop! And while this upcycle was filled with lots of challenges and complexities, I am so glad I persevered with it because now it'll be easy for you to replicate. And IMHO, I think the chairs look absolutely gorgeous!