Wednesday, June 18, 2014

before + after: papasan chair

Papasan chairs are supremely comfortable, but their style never seems to mesh well with most interiors. We had this light wood papasan chair with a worn cream cushion (the stitching for a few tufts had been ripped out, courtesy of my cat Henrietta), and we were anxious to fully enjoy its function without resenting its form. Our solution: hot pink paint, and a bright white cushion. Here's how we did it.

First I primed the chair frame with flat white spray primer. The trick to getting good coverage was to spray from every angle possible. It took almost two cans to get the base and bowl fully covered.

Then, I sprayed the chair frame with Montana Gold spray paint in Gleaming Pink. I picked it up at Preston Arts Center. Getting full, even coverage required three cans.

Then, I gave the frame two coats of clear acrylic spray for a glossy, protective finish. The gloss also toned down the fluorescence of the paint.

To make the new cushion, Tamsen first opened the old one at its seams, and traced one side onto two pieces of white canvas. (A new cushion took four yards of 54" wide fabric.) She cut out and stitched together the new cushion pieces, leaving an opening into which we stuffed the old filling. She stitched the cushion closed, and hand-stitched tufts using the old cushion as a guide.


  1. Looks great! I am also interested in spray-paining the papasan chair we found. My boyfriend is hesitant and thinks the spray-paint will scratch and chip due to the movement/friction of the papasan chair base and top. How hows your held up? Thank you!

    1. Hi Madlyn! Spray paint will never be the most durable option, but there are a few things that have helped keep the paint job looking pretty good. I recommend using adhesive felt pads (like those you would put on furniture feet) on a few spots around the felt base where the bowl rests against it. (You can also glue small pieces of felt on instead.) This will allow you to reposition the bowl part without scratching. If you move the chair to a new location, wrap each piece securely in a blanket before doing so, so that it doesn't get dinged up on doorways or anything. Also, definitely don't skip the clear coat--it really helps keep it protected.
      Mine has suffered a few chips (mostly where I knocked it while moving the chair to its new spot), but with light use, it won't need to be repainted for a long time.

      If you decide to paint, keep us updated!

  2. Omg that's so pretty!!!

  3. Omg that's so pretty!!!

  4. Curious if I were to use an all weather spray paint could I take this outside when complete?I have a rockasan and a double papasan that I would love to turn into outdoor furniture without spending a lot of money......thoughts/advise? Thanks!

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  10. Just wanted to say thank you. I was able to repaint my papasan chair and I'll also be taking your advice on the felt pads.

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