Stenciled Parsons Chair

With our new dining table in process of being built {yay!}, I decided to make some chair covers to spruce up our parsons chairs so they could feel special too next to the pretty new table.  After seeing how Elizabeth at the Mustard Ceiling made her own ikat stenciled seat cushions, I decided to try a similar process for my chairs.  I will start off by saying this was a time-consuming process and mine didn’t turn out quite as planned, but I’ll take you through the pros, cons, and final product.  Let’s start at the beginning.  Here are the supplies I used to create my own stencil {all purchased at Joann Fabrics}:

  • Stencil cutter
  • stencil adhesive
  • computer paper and computer
  • 8×10 stencil sheet
  • Sharpie
  • piece of glass

I started by tracing a design I liked onto computer paper from a picture on my computer.  Then I laid my stencil sheet {$0.99} on top of the computer sheet and traced it onto my stencil sheet with a Sharpie.

Then lay your stencil sheet onto a piece of glass for cutting {or something else that won’t melt when drawn all over with a heated point}.  I bought a stencil cutter at Joann’s with a 40% off coupon {total about $8}.  This will need to heat up a few minutes before you are ready to cut.  Once it’s hot, it cuts like butta.  Before I started cutting, I colored in the areas that I was going to cut in case I forgot:)

Then start cutting your lines with the stencil cutter.

And peel out the cut piece to see your finished stencil.

Then it’s time to paint.  This is the time consuming part so get ready.  Start by mixing your paint.  I used the Martha Stewart line {paint color-wet cement} acrylic paint with some fabric medium.  I also ended up adding a little bit of black fabric paint I had on hand to darken it up a little bit.  Mix it all on a plate to paint.

I tried two different stencil adhesives {not by choice-the first one flopped} and would definitely recommend the Martha Stewart line.  I bought the first one at Joann’s and it did nothing.  No stickiness at all.  The Martha Stewart worked like a charm.

I used a cheap craft brush I had already and brushed the adhesive on.  One coat will kept its stickiness for long enough to stencil fabric for one chair {a couple hours}, which I thought was pretty good.

Then I laid my stencil out on my fabric and rolled with a foam brush.  I used the bottom edge of the fabric as my guide to make sure it was straight all the way across, then worked my way up.

Here’s what the fabric looked like when I stenciled enough for one chair.

Since my stencil was 8×10, this took a couple hours to stencil enough fabric for one chair.  {I would definitely spend the extra $3 next time to get the larger stencil sheet.} I’m not a patient painter.  This is not a good combo.  I ended up with a few small smudge marks on my fabric, but it came out later when I added a little bleach and washed it all.  Before I washed it, I let it dry overnight and washed it the following evening.  Unfortunately, some of my paint did fade.  I’m not sure if I didn’t use enough paint or if this is normal, but it faded.  It turned out great though because I actually really like the look.  It’s going in our rustic dining room so it fits the style well.  You may want to try more paint or a different brand though if you want a more crisp final product.  Anyone have any tips to keep paint from fading after washing?

The sewing was the quickest part of this project.  I measured my chair, cut the fabric and sewed two side seams.

Then I sewed the seat fabric to the chair back fabric.

To make it simple, I just stapled the fabric to the bottom of the chair.  If we ever want/need to remove the fabric, we can just take the staples out and no damage done.  Here is the final chair back {so you can see the paint results up close}:

I love the overall look, but it does have a few imperfections {awkward seams at the top corners and edges, a few un-bleached paint drips, etc.}.  I think I’ll use this page from my sewing book for rounds 2 and 3.

Or knowing me, I’ll probably just try and figure it out by staring at the chair some more.  I’m not that patient when it comes to reading directions either.  Seeing a pattern here?

We have 6 chairs total-3 will be stenciled and 3 will be covered in gray linen.  Can’t wait to see them around the new table!

What do you think?  Do you like the stenciled look?  Worth the time and effort?  I think so.  And the price tag can’t be beat.  I think I spent around $7 per chair, including paint, fabric, and supplies.




These are the fabulous blog parties I link up to each week:

DIY Showoff: DIY Project Parade

I Heart Naptime: Sundae Scoop

Skip to My Lou: Made By You Mondays

Today’s Creative Blog: Get Your Craft On

Tip Junkie: Tip Me Tuesday

Home Stories A to Z: Tutorials and Tips Tuesdays

Not Just a Housewife: Shoe Me What Ya Got

Blue Cricket Design: Show and Tell

Hooking Up with Hepworths

Shabby Chic Cottage: Transformation Thursday

Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday

CSI Project: Challenge

5 Days, 5 Ways

Remodelaholic: Blog Link Up

30 Handmade Days

Serenity Now

Tatertots and Jello: Weekend Wrap-Up



  1. It looks great! I like the slightly faded look as well! It does look like a lot of work though.

  2. Hey Jessie.. New follower… Great job on the chair covers–I actually like more of the faded/rustic look. Looks like they turned out great!

    Btw, I think we’re fixing to tackle the wood wall after seeing yours. We drew out the plans this past week-end..

    • Thanks, Kelly! That’s awesome you are going to do the wood wall:) I would love to see a picture of what you end up doing when it’s finished!

  3. This turned out so cute! I found you on TT&J’s Linky party. Would love it if you came by and checked out my blog.

  4. Fantastic job, Jessie!

    LOVE how these turned out! : )

    Thanks for linking up at Feature Friday FREE-FOR-ALL!

  5. I love the look! So fabulous and that you stenciled on fabric. What a genius idea!

    I’m your newest follower!

    Feel free to stop by and check out some of my crafts too, if you’d like :)

  6. What patience you have and hasn’t it paid off. I love your chair!

  7. What a beautiful job you did. I love the finished product. I’m a new follower. ~ Megan

  8. Wow, you did a good job!

  9. Really cute!

  10. Great detail, very helpful tutorial. :-) Also, it’s good to see you used your own design for the stencil. I don’t think what Elizabeth at Mustard Ceiling did (ripping off a fabric designer’s work) was commendable or even legal.


  1. […] chair covers for my parsons chairs that will go around the new table.  Last week I shared how I created my own stencil and painted some white fabric for 3 of the chairs and today I’m going to give you the how-to […]

  2. […] with the newly stenciled and covered parsons […]

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