No matter how many decorating projects I do in my lifetime this one will surely go down in history as one of my all time best! I am so happy I had the idea and even happier that I dared to try! It was a little scary -especially since I searched the internet for days trying to find anyone that had done something like this and I came up empty handed. Ok, Enough talking, drumroll please.......................................
Here is the plain white leather barstool before
The stencil I used is from Cuttingedgestencils.com. The paint is from turtlefeathers.net and is called angelus paint. It is made especially for painting leather (it has a bit of give to it and won't crack). The colors I choose were "light grey" and "mustard", and finally I finished off the chairs with a coat of their Acrylic Finisher (in Satin). Before stenciling the chairs I lightly sanded them with a fine sandpaper to give the paint something to grip to. Since the chairs came unassembled I decided to leave them that way to make it a little easier to stencil. The chairs worked well for stenciling since they have a very basic shape (not a whole lot of curves or crevices to try to stencil). I was amazed at how easy the process was - total time was only about 4 hours. Once they were done and had dried for a full day I assembled them.
For the stencil I decided to use a small stencil sponge brush (called a "spouncer" - you can find them at Michael's) rather than a foam roller. I just wanted to go a little slower and more carefully and I was glad I did. The paint is water based so it was easy to tidy up any smudged lines once the stencil was removed and while the paint was still a little wet.
Because I used two different colors I taped off the areas of the large stencil that would be the mustard color. After I stenciled all the chairs in grey, I went back with a small single stencil (it comes free with the large stencil) and painted in the small "mustard" areas. To hold the stencil in place on the chair I simply put two big pieces of rolled up tape on the center of the back of the stencil then stuck it to the chair.
If I didn't already have a full-time job of mother I would consider being a custom leather furniture painter! Just kidding - but really somebody could make a living doing this! There are endless possibilities since there are tons of stencil designs these days and lots of different colors of leather paint. If you are a real artist you could free hand a design. If you didn't want to purchase a stencil you could print something off the computer and trace it then paint by hand. (I didn't trust my skills to freehand anything).
stencil and another $40 on the paints. For the paints I bought a 4oz bottle of the mustard color, a 4 oz bottle of neutral color (which I didn't end up needing), a pint of the light grey, and a pint of the acrylic finisher (in matte) - by the way the website recommends a preparer-deglazer but it is only to be used on leather -not manmade stuff - and my chairs are made of "leatherette" whatever that means so I didn't use the preparer-deglazer on it). I overbought on the paint (but I figured it was better to be safe than sorry). The particular stencil I chose really didn't require a whole lot of paint. I probably could have gotten away with just a 1 oz. bottle of mustard and 2 4oz. bottles of light grey. Click here to see my unhappy thoughts on the "Acrylic Finisher."
So I bought the chairs 2 for $152 from overstock (however I DON'T recommend them - click here to see why) then add in the $80 in materials and my total cost is $384 for four barstools or $96 each!!!!!! To have these stools custom upholstered in a fabric of my choice would have cost a lot more than that and they would have been ruined so quickly. I am hoping this painted leather alternative means they will stand the test of time and 3 boys!
Here is the Before and After of my kitchen.
I honestly have never had so much fun making something. It really was easy and I enjoyed every minute of it. I am seriously considering making a set painted in a red design for Christmas time. If anyone reads this and is inspired to make their own please, please, please send me a picture! I am so excited about the possibilities that I would love to see some of them come to life. And don't hesitate to ask me any questions you may have. I now think every kitchen and dining room should have some custom painted leather dining chairs! It's worry free custom dining!