DIY Back to School Reading Setup

For this guest blog post opportunity, I had the opportunity to shop at one of my favorite stores, Buffalo ReStore.  You may remember when I did a collaboration with ReStore and Valu last year for our guest bedroom makeover. If you haven’t checked out ReStore yet, I will give you the lowdown.  It’s a store filled with reclaimed furniture and home items that are sold to support the Habitat for Humanity efforts.  Shopping for quality items at a store which profits go towards a good cause…count me in!

I usually go to restore looking for inspiration and I always find it! Exhibit A: this lovely rocking chair

As I went in for a closer look, I knew it was meant to be.  With back to school on my mind, it would make for the perfect reading chair.

To accompany my reading chair, I also found this dainty bookshelf and a couple of accessories which you will see later on in this post. My mission at ReStore was donezo…for today at least!  Time to head to Valu Home Centers to pick up the rest of my supplies.

Shopping tip: When you are trying to match paint or fabric, always bring your swatch with you.  It will save you a lot of time and trips to the store.  I found perfect matches at Valu!

For this project I used:

  • spray paint
    • 2 cans green
    • 3 cans cream
  • wood (for the backing of the shelf)
  • spray adhesive
  • sand paper
  • sander (you can also easily sand by hand if you don’t own a sander)
  • fabric (for the backing of the shelf and the seat cushion)
  • iron
  • screw driver
  • small nails/tacks
  • staples and staple gun

I decided to start with the shelf and give it a good sand.  Prep work is always the most important part when painting.


  • Once the prepwork is complete, the shelf is now ready for paint! Using the spray paint, give it nice thin even coats.  Be sure to give the paint time to dry in between coats.

    I felt the back of the shelf needed a little pizaz, so I decided to use some wood to create a backing.  Word to the wise: always be sure to measure twice and cut once! 


  • Once the wood is cut, move onto ironing the fabric.  If you have no wrinkles in your fabric, you’re a lucky duck.

    Measure and cut the fabric leaving a little extra on each side.

    Using the spray adhesive, put a nice layer on the wood and let it sit for a minute, then apply it to the fabric.  You will want to press on the fabric and swipe your hand across the fabric eliminating any air bubbles that may exist.

    Fold over the edges and use the adhesive to secure the back of the fabric to the wood.

  •   

    Once that is complete, line the fabric covered wood up with the back of the shelf and use small nails or tacks to attach it to the wood.  I used small tacks as the edges of the shelf were very thin.  I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so hold tight for how it turned out!

    Now its time to work on the reading chair!

Start by simply removing the seat from the chair.  Depending on the chair, this can usually be done by flipping the chair over and using a screwdriver. This chair didn’t call for the regular two choices of screw drivers, but a Robertson head (square head.)

Once the seat is successfully removed, the chair frame can be worked on.  Using the same type of sandpaper and process listed above, sand down the chair.  Once the chair has a nice even sand, wipe it down so that is free of dust and dirt.  

For the paint color, I decided to go with the cream color instead of the lime green and I did this for a couple of reasons; primarily so that the two pieces didn’t match exactly, but so they were an obvious pair.

Using the spray paint, give the chair nice thin even coats of paint.  Be sure to give the paint time to dry in between coats.

Be sure to flip the chair around in multiple positions to ensure you are covering every inch of it.

When the painting portion is complete its time to bring that beauty back inside!  Partially to admire your work of course, but also to begin the process of working on the seat.


For the seat cushion, measure it so you know how much fabric you will need.  I had my lovely assitant helping me with this portion.

Note: When upholstering a seat, always be sure to leave a little extra fabric on each end.  Believe me, you will be glad you did!

Using the staple gun, fold over the edges of the fabric and pull it tight against the seat as you begin stapling the fabric onto the chair.

Do all four sides and work on the corners last.  Pull the fabric tight on the corners and roll over the fabric while you are stapling.  Note: you may need to cut off access fabric if it gets too bunched up and thick.

Using the same screws, reattach your seat to the chair and you are all set and ready to read!

Ready for a tour of the final products?  Here we go!

image1 image2 image3 image6 image9

Doesn’t this just make the perfect reading corner?  Great for teachers, moms, kids and the whole family!

Have a question about a particular step in this project? Just ask!  And as always, remember to reclaim, reuse and upcycle!

-Jackie

Looking for a way to support the Habitat for Humanity? If you’re artistic, philanthropic or ready to celebrate a good cause
this is the one fall event in 2015 you can’t miss!

When: Mark your calendar for October 2nd from 6-9 p.m.
What: Habitat for Humanity ReStore Artfest & DIY Contest
Where: Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 1675 South Park Avenue, Buffalo, NY

haus2home will be participating in the Artfest at ReStore as they have gathered fellow DIYers to test their skills in transforming ordinary ReStore donations into extraordinary creations
that will be on sale to benefit Habitat for Humanity Buffalo. Tickets for the ReStore Artfest are now on sale at both ReStores.  For more details, please visit www.restorediycontest.com or stop into either of the ReStore locations, 501 Amherst St or 1675 South Park Ave.

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