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Guest Blogger: Transformed Chairs Into Garden Planters

A blue upcycled chair with yellow flowers where the seat used to be with an American flag planted in the flowers. The chair is sitting in the middle of ivy

We all know about those random single chairs which no longer fit in, are not part of a set nor fun to sit upon any more. Well, with this easy and clever transformation, a misfit chair can become a show stopper as a garden planter. You can bet your nearest Goodwill Store has a selection that can be upcycled into a fun addition to your garden, your front porch or your side walk. As your garden starts to fade with the changing season, a chair garden planter will add a punch of color and whimsy to any outdoor space— it is great when used inside, too.

Ability level: Moderate due to cutting chicken wire

Age Level: For teens and older although younger ones may help out with supervision

A picture of the materials needed for this project: a roll of chicken wire, a spray paint can, a regular paint can, a paint brush, a staple gun, a pair of utility gloves, a hammer, a paint brush, a pair of wire cutters, and two screw drivers

Items needed:
1. Wooden chair
2. Spray or latex paint (exterior)
3. Chicken wire
4. Wire cutters
5. Utility gloves
6. Staple gun & staples
7. Plants
8. Accessories (optional)

Time requirement: Once all items are purchased and/or collected, 3 hours (not including paint drying time)

Cost: Approximately $25 per Chair Garden Planter
$7 per chair
$21 for a roll of chicken wire (this project only uses a small amount so lots left over for creative projects)
$5 for a can of spray paint
$10 for a plant

A picture of three wooden chairs

Step 1: Time to Chair Up
Look for a solid wooden chair with interesting and appealing lines or details. Since you will remove the seat, consider ones with seats which are screwed to the frame or that are wicker. Your favorite Goodwill store typically has lots of good options at great prices.

Step 2: Let the Transformation Begin!
To start your chair’s new life, remove its seat. You might have to turn it over to unscrew it; with a wicker-seated chair, you will need to cut the seat apart. Your wire cutters will come in handy now.

Step 3: Prep for Paint
Take a piece of sandpaper and lightly sand the entire chair frame. There is no need to remove the entire current paint or finish, you are simply buffing up the piece to make it more adhering for the painting. When done, be sure to wipe it down with a damp rag and let dry.

Three wooden chairs that have had their seats removed and have been painted. One chair is bright yellow, one chair is blue, and the third chair is light purple

Step 4: Paint Time: To Spray or Not to Spray?
To take your chair from boring to bold, select a fun and eye-catching paint color.  This will make sure your piece stands out wherever you place it. If you have an outdoor space with lots of ventilation, consider using spray paint that is good for exterior use. This will be the most time-efficient way to cover the entire chair frame; using a can of regular paint will take more time but does give you the chance to layer colors and add dimension to your piece. If you decide this will be an outdoor piece, be sure you use an exterior paint.

A set of hands wearing utility gloves using wire cutters to cut a roll of chicken wire

Step 5: Don’t Be a Chicken: Cutting & Stapling Chicken Wire
Given the relative ease of this project, the hardest part is cutting the chicken wire. Measure the width of your chair seat and cut a piece of chicken wire to fit those dimensions with a little extra to allow it to droop in the center. Be sure to use your work gloves to prevent any cuts from the wire. Use a staple gun to affix in place; do the same with another piece and cross over the first piece with it. Staple this in place, too. There may be some rough or jagged edges due to the cutting and exposed wiring so fold and tuck the edges inward.

A bright yellow chair with a purple planter with a spider plant in it. There is chalkboard paint covering the back of the chair with the word "Welcome" written in chalk on it.

Step 6: Pick the Perfect Plant
Given the autumn season ahead, you have so many plant options at your local hardware store or nursery. Mums are always a crowd pleaser because they are hearty and add an immediate punch of color. Pansies and decorative cabbages are plentiful this time of year, too. If you want to place this garden piece inside, consider an indoor plant like an ivy, fern or spider plant that will cascade over the edges.

A purple upcycled chair that has flowers and ivy where the seat used to be. Connected to the back is a Halloween sign that has a black cat in a purple witch's hat and a purple bow tie with a green sign that says "Trick or Treat". In the background there is a set of brick stairs with a live black cat sitting on them

Step 7: Time to Accessorize 
You can make your chair planter really unique by adding things like chalk board paint to write messages, embellishing with fall or Halloween decorations or adding a small bird house. These touches will allow you to easily change the planter to reflect the season, holiday or event.

After completing this project and getting many compliments sure to come, you will feel “chair-ful!

Time Kime in the process of upcycling one of the chairs into a planter. A man in a purple sweater, green shorts, a Washington Nationals baseball hat, black glasses, and a goatee standing over a wooden chair that has the seat removed and half painted in blue. The man is holding a spray paint can

Tim Kime is an artist, life coach, connector. He is President of Kime Leadership Associates offering executive coaching, meeting facilitating and motivational speaking.  He is also Chief Creative Force of Transformation Junkies which upcycles furniture and other household items into functional works of art. He combined his two passions—unleashing the potential in people and transforming items with the launch of the Art of Possibilities Workshops.  These workshops are part upcycling, part dreaming, part goal setting.

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