Thrift Shop Shakedown #5 & My $10 Chair Makeover

Hello beautiful friends! I’m so excited today because Nancy and I have a brand new Thriftshop Shakedown video to share with you!!

Nancy blogs at Artsy Chicks Rule and we met about six years ago or so through our blogs. Would you believe that we started our blogs only days apart in the same year? We’ve been dear friends ever since!

Every few months we get together for a day of thrifting and we record it so we can share it with you! We also each pick out something to make over while we’re shopping. Today we’ll show you what we did with our finds! Be sure to look for Nancy’s makeover at the bottom!

I hope you enjoy the video!!

If you have any trouble viewing the video, you can see it on YouTube HERE.

So here is what I found on our hunt to redo:

It had gorgeous carved details that I immediately fell in love with.

I usually try to keep the upholstery intact if it’s in good shape, and I’ll just cover right over the existing fabric. However, this one smelled super musty. I decided I would remove the padding and fabric and replace it.

Except there was no padding…only straw!

Oh my heavens, it was so gross, ya’ll. I half expected to find something dead in there with the way it smelled.

But nope…just springs and about 100-year-old straw.

The upholstery webbing was dry-rotted.

I decided everything needed to go! I’ve included a few affiliate links so you can find the products I love.

But first, let’s see if I was able to save this sweet piece?

Yes, I was!

How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.

And I promise it doesn’t smell anymore!

How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.

I decided to ditch everything except for the frame of the original seat:

I haven’t tossed that needlepoint fabric that was on top yet, but I’m not sure I want to keep it. It kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies now.

To create a functional seat, I started by removing all the nails from the frame. Then I used my jigsaw to cut a piece of thin plywood to fit the seat, using the frame as a pattern:

Then I cut 3″ foam that I purchased from Hobby Lobby to fit the seat using a sharp knife:

It wasn’t ideal, but it did the job.

I condensed the rest of the how-to photos into a couple of photo collages so you can skip ahead easily if you don’t need all this info!

How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.

1. I sanded all the edges of the wood I cut smooth and then nailed it to the frame with small nails.

2. Then laid it on top of my foam and wrapped it in batting. I pulled it taut and stapled it in place.

3. Then I started adding the fabric at the front, middle.

4. After adding several staples across the front, I moved to the opposite side, pulling the fabric taut as I stapled it in place. Be careful not to skew the pattern if you are using checks or stripes!

How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.

5. I continued all the way around, starting each side in the middle and working my way to the corners.

6. I folded each corner to look like this.

7. The seat just sits in the chair opening, so I wanted the bottom to look finished as well. I used carpet tacks to secure a piece of fabric across the bottom, folding the edges under all the way around to give it a neat finish.

The chair itself was painted in Dixie Belle’s Cotton. However, it bled slightly after the first coat. I should have known better.

I decided to give the entire chair a once over with Rustoleum’s spray primer using my medium sized spray shelter:

Medium spray shelter from HomeRight

This one is a great size! That did the trick…I gave it one more coat of the Cotton and no more bleed through! I sealed with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in clear. It isn’t super smelly like others I’ve used.

How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.

Those beautiful carved details stand out so much more now…

How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.


How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.


How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.

Here’s another peek at the seat…

How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.


How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.

And the underside of the cushion…

How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.

And the back…

How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.


How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.


How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.


How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.


How to replace a straw-filled seat with foam.

I’ll admit, it was tough painting over the beautiful wood on this chair, but now it has a fresh new life!

Here’s what Nancy found to redo:

She found hers at our very first stop!

Click HERE to see what she did with it!

And as promised, here are a few photos from our yard sale…the first hour and a half pretty much looked like this:

We were probably about 30 minutes in when I remembered to take photos.

I bought this rolling hanging rack on Amazon and it was so helpful for hanging clothes!

My Mom and my sister did it as well, so this is a combination of all of our things.


Brennan finally decided he was too old for many of his toys…

It looks like he had a ton, but he inherited a bunch of his cousin’s toys as well as a few of Jack’s.

And that’s about all I got. It was a huge success and our closets are all a little cleaner!

We donated most of what didn’t sell, but there were a couple of things I decided to keep and redo. I also have a few things that I was planning to sell but decided to keep and make over instead. I’ll share those on Tuesday! Here is one of them:

This used to hang in Brennan’s nursery! I’ll share what I did with it next week!

UPDATE: I think you’re going to love this one! See how I updated HERE now!  

I hope you enjoyed shopping with us!



Don’t Miss a Thing!

If you like what you see, there are several ways to follow along!

Email * Facebook * Pinterest * Twitter *Instagram

Never miss a thrifty makeover! Receive my new posts right to your inbox!

* indicates required


  1. Judy Barrick says

    Good morning Christy
    Love getting your emails .Just had to message you to say how much I liked the photo of the chair that you sent me this morning .It makes me want to do something like that. I look forward to seeing your items that you have updated.Hope you have a nice day

    Best wishes from

    Judy Barrick in York North Yorkshire England

    • Thank you, Judy!! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one from all the way across the big pond! Enjoy your day as well! XOXO

  2. Mary Kaiser says

    That is beautiful now. I am sure glad you painted it because it turned out great. I haven’t done any makeover of old chairs with fabric, but feel confident that I could do it after seeing your tutorial. Loved the video, and it was so funny to me that you don’t get a cart because you never find any thing when you do, that is exactly what I always say when I go thrifting! Funny, but so true!

    • Thank you, Mary! Yes…every time I choose not to get a cart, I find so many things ha ha! Have a great day! XOXO

  3. Do you ever have any problems filming yourselves in the thrift stores?
    I’d be told to leave here 🙁 ( Britain’s a bit neurotic these days)

  4. Christina in SW FL says

    Christy, you and Nancy had a great time visiting the stores. Wonderful video and so fun, thank you! Great job with the video!
    The chair is certainly old and now has a beautiful, new life. The check fabric is just what it needed.
    Fun yard sale and such great weather for it. Thank you for the photos of this as well.
    Have fun with your new makeovers and enjoy the weekend!

  5. Veronica says

    After you primed the chair did you hand paint or spray the chair with paint?

  6. The chair turned out so sweet, Christy! I love the fabric! 😉 So much fun, can’t wait to get together again soon! xoxo

  7. You all have the best Goodwill stores I’ve ever seen. Everything looked so organized.
    My granddaughter found a $5 chair recently and I found the same yucky straw and rotted webbing. What a mess! But I finally got it cleaned up and almost finished recovering. It had a seat and back to recover.
    I always look forward to your posts.

    • We are very lucky indeed! Isn’t that straw so gross? I was more than happy to toss it. Glad to hear yours is coming along well! Thank you, Nancy!! XOXO

  8. Cheryl Atkinson says

    Christy, it looks like ya’ll had a lot of fun. I love the chair painted. Your pieces are always perfectly distressed. I need to try and re-do because i am always coming across pretty chairs. I don’t have any experience with all. Cotton was the perfect color. I am about to paint a bed tray, you know the kind with the folding legs that you can eat breakfast in bed on. I know i have see you make one over. Can you please tell me where i can find that? thank you for all you have taught me.

  9. sharon austin says

    Turned out super cute! Can’t wait for the next transformation! I seriously wish I was near you to get those pillows at your yard sale. LOL Side note: Are you aware your link for the orbital saw says carpet tacks in the article?

    • Thank you, Sharon! I hated to get rid of any pillows, but I was trying to be good and purge lol! And yes, thank you…jigsaw was replaced with carpet tacks when I added the link ha ha. Kind of hard to cut wood with those! XOXO

  10. Sherry Stuifbergen says

    Love latest “Shakedown” video. Watching it is like going along with you and Nancy. You both are so much fun! I love to thrift as well. You do great work with all your finds, Christy.

  11. You did a wonderful job with that very special old chair! When I saw the “before” photo I thought there were a million ways you could have gone with it, but the chippy white with the b/w checked seat is perfect!
    I also really love how full you made the chair cushion. I would imagine the thicker it is, the harder it is to pull the fabric taut evenly, especially when you have checks that might be wavy if you didn’t get it just right. But you, of course, went the extra mile to make it look so comfortable!
    Just a great job accenting an old chair and making it perfect.

  12. Carole stuhmer says

    I would have loved going to your sale…I redo chairs a lot, just like you showed us, and people love them, but recently I have had to work with a dermatologist for eczema on my hands. We determined that there were probably “mites” in the old foam/straw filling that I react to……would be safer to wear heavy kitchen gloves when removing the old stuff, then bagging it up tightly to dispose of it. Who would have thought?………….I also ran into this when I ordered 100% linen fabric from China….was tightly packaged in plastic, and I should have put it in a hot dryer or washed it first. Beautiful fabric, but had to give it away…….just a FYI. Thanks for all you show us..

    • Oh wow! I didn’t even want to touch it honestly. I used needle nosed pliers to pull everything apart as much as I could. I was just so grossed out by it lol. Too bad about the fabric, but I’ll keep that in mind! XOXO

    • Hello….when I come across old (or newer for that matter) upholstered chair, foot rests or fabric I lightly dust them with food safe diatomaceous earth and then let sit for a least a week (the longer the better) or so in a back shed. Mites or any other creepies (bed bugs, fleas, ticks etc…) can be introduced into your home. If that was my chair I would have taken the backing off and dusted the insides. If it is a book….I wash it down with 409 or something similar then stick in the microwave 45-60 seconds…depending how thick it is….. with a paper towel on top and a small bowl of water…..Learned my lesson years ago!!!! I brought home some fabric and put it in the laundry room, for when I had time to deal with it. Had a MAJOR mite infestation!!!! Had to go to a hotel while they indoor bombed/sprayed the house. Be safe not sorry!!! The DE and light sprayer can be found on Ebay.

  13. Kimberly says

    Christy, it is ADORABLE. I know it is hard to paint over wood, but I do so love the fresh, clean look of paint. This chair is definitely “perked up”!
    BTW, I don’t believe you cut out that seat using carpet tacks. I think you used the jigsaw you have pictured 🙂 (although I did think for a minute about how you used your superpowers with the carpet tacks to cut wood)
    Thanks for sharing your yard sale pics. I am glad the weather held out for you.

    • Thank you, Kimberly! I too love the fresh look paint gives a piece. And ha ha!! As soon as I saw your comment earlier, I went in and fixed it. Thank you!! The words must have swapped out somehow I was adding the link. Pretty funny! Glad the weather held out for our yard sale too! Have a great weekend! XOXO

  14. Amy Giannini says

    I used to wonder why kids would watch someone else open a package in the popular “unboxing” videos; now, after enjoying watching you guys go thrifting, I get it!

  15. Ellen Shook says

    I always love your redos but this one is particularly wonderful! So fresh and pretty. I love to redo things, just for myself — no booth or store — and have brought home some pretty hopeless cases that smelled and/or were encrusted with ick. I invested in a cheap electric knife I keep just for cutting foam for chair seats. It makes the job a breeze to cut and sculpt the foam.

    • I’m so glad you like it, Ellen, thank you!! I actually have one of those knives that I bought just for cutting foam, but I have no idea where it is ha ha! XOXO

  16. I love how the chair turned out. I’ll have to pick up that paint. It’s so pretty.

  17. What a sweet chair makeover and I LOVED your thrift video. Both you and Nancy are too cute.. I wish I could come…lol. 😉

  18. kathy walsh says

    Hi Christy! A tip for cutting foam – I use an electric knife I picked up at a second hand store – it’s fast and super acurate – well as accurate as the person in control of the knife. I don’t need it often but when I do, it earns its keep. Definitely worth the $3.00 I paid! Love your projects!
    BTW what is your favorite brush?

    • Thank you, Kathy! I actually have one of those knives that I bought cheap just for that purpose, but I have no idea where it is LOL! You’re right though…it is much easier! My favorite brush is a 2” angled Purdy brush. XOXO

  19. PLEASE!!!!! PLEASE!!!! Go back and get those granny panties for me!!!!!!
    Love the chair and now that last blue shelf looks like a match on the carving.
    Don’t throw out the needlepoint soak and wash in Woolite, let air dry and make a pillow top for your shop!!!

    • Bahahaha! The things people donate! I may try to save the needlepoint. Woolite to wash and turning it into a pillow is a good idea! Thanks, friend!! XOXO

  20. The chair has such gorgeous detail, great find! I didn’t recall seeing you say anything about distressing the paint, but I’m guessing you did since there is a photo showing the dark wood exposed on the edges. Did I miss that?

    • Thanks, Vicki! Sorry I left that information out. I did lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper across all those pretty details! XOXO

  21. Much much better look for the chair!

  22. Charleen Adams says

    Beautiful chair,Great job!I think what you found wasn’t straw,I believe it is excelcior. That was used a lt was even used in some stuffed toys, loooong time ago. Love your projects. . take care

    • Oh could be…I googled all the different stuffings that were once used trying to find something that looked like what I had. There was even what looked like moss on the very bottom. Whatever it was, it was gross ha ha! Thank you, Charleen! XO

  23. Loved the chair painted white but with that “straw” filling and that beautiful wood I think it might have been a pricey antique. Did you check out its value before you painted it?

    • Thanks! I actually saw one that had the exact same back on it when I stopped by my antique mall yesterday. They had it priced at $38? It could have been an expensive antique, but oh well too late lol! XOXO

  24. Marcie Lovett says

    Of course you saved it! And it’s beautiful now. The crisp white and the check make it look modern and antique at the same time. Good job with the yard sale. Neighborhood sales are the best for bringing in shoppers – and you get to see what your neighbors have been hanging onto!

    • Thank you, Marcie! I agree…I had three other fabric options, but I think the check complimented the age of it nicely. We were very lucky with our sale, and boy am I glad now that I have this beautiful sunny Saturday free! Have a great weekend! XOXO

  25. Cecilia from Georgia says

    Love it!! The video was so cute! You gals are a hoot. I haven’t used DB wax but after I use the HUGE can of AS I will try it. Have a great weekend!!

    • Thank you, Cecilia! We have a ball shopping together…if only we could do it more often. It’s always more fun with a friend! That was my first experience with Dixie Belle’s wax and I was very pleased that it didn’t have the intense smell that some others do. Enjoy your weekend too!! XOXO

  26. Hamilton Billiards says

    Lovely makeover Christy! The chair looks stunning. We’ve been renovating antique and used furniture for many years and it’s always great to see other people’s work and ideas. Carolina at Hamilton Billiards.

  27. Katarina - says

    Oh wow, the chair looks stunning after your makeover! I love how you’ve highlighted the carved details even more and kept the original charm of the chair. It looks so elegant and sophisticated now and fits your home decor perfectly.

  28. Robyn Wright says

    Absolutely gorgeous and looks Oh so cushy!

  29. Julie Briones says

    Love the details of this chair! Do you have a guess as to how old it is? Straw for the padding? Wonder when people did THAT?! It looks lovely, Christy!

Leave a Reply to kathy walsh Cancel reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.