I know I always start out by saying that “I’ve wanted this for a long time”… but it’s always true. If I can’t find a good deal on something, or I can make it work without that item, I usually just go without. Since that is how my brain works, you can imagine how excited I was when a friend gave me this Graco Tot-Loc Chair (the table mounted kind of high chair) that I have had my eye on for a while. I’ve wanted one because they seem like they would be so much easier to clean, they don’t take up valuable floor-space, and the older kids can’t push it around the house. So, having one is just one more way to simplify my life and I am so thankful!
I decided that since it looks a bit dated, (even the newer style onesaren’t very cute), I’d see what I could do about doing an inexpensive make-over and I am beyond excited at how it turned out. It did take a fair amount of work, time, imagination, shopping around, and elbow grease, so hopefully I’ve taken out almost all of the guess-work for you if you want to re-do one too.
After assessing what I was going to need to do and gathering supplies, I started the way every project should… and gave it a good cleaning (just like how I mention in my post about The Easy Way To Get A Crisp Line With Painter’s Tape). This thing has been hanging out in my garage for a few months, and I was told it needed cleaned before it was even given to me, so it took me about a half hour to get it as clean as I wanted it to be before I could change anything.
I used rubbing alcohol and a Q-Tip to get the old stickers off, my Sal Sudsspray bottle and a bucket full of Sal Suds and water (to read about why I love Sal Suds so much, go here) to clean the rest. I just scrubbed using a wash cloth, an old tooth brush, and the small part of a bottle brush.
Before I took off the hardware, I decided that I should probably take a picture of how the plastic thing and the bar attached to the back of the chair back…boy am I glad I did! Otherwise, I don’t think that I would have been able to figure out how to put it back together since you can’t see the holes or the stickers once it’s covered. By looking at this picture and going off of the screw locations, I was able to figure out how to put it back together without the hubs help (he is much better at putting things back together than I am, so I usually just have him do it).
I put all the hardware in a gallon-sized baggie so that I wouldn’t come to the project later and have things missing. This project took me a few days to complete because I had to find spare time to do it, so keeping everything together was super important!
The foam was in good shape as far as wear and tear goes, but the color had clearly faded over time. I decided that using black fabric paint, you can find the exact kind here, and a foam brushwas going to be the best course of action. *Remember that to get good results you need to make sure to let all paint cure properly.* I did the foam first because I knew that it needed the most time to dry so that it wouldn’t get paint on my counter top. This was after letting it dry really well after the cleaning. It hasn’t left any marks on my counter, but if it makes you nervous to do this, maybe paint all the foam except for the parts that will be touching your counter or table…
For the covering I used Oil Cloth so that it could easily be wiped down and would be water-proof. However, I wanted a fun pattern and after not being very pleased with the selection at my local craft stores, I found this shoponline that has lots of fun patterns, and is pretty inexpensive (+ shipping was only $1). I bought one yard and ended up only using just under ¾ of it. Seeing the new pattern next to the old one like this got me pretty excited!
I just used a staple gun to attach the oil cloth. I cut any excess material during the process. I made sure to not put any of the staples where the holes were so the screws would go in when I reattached it. You can still feel the holes through the oil cloth so I didn’t have an issue with that. I really could have used another set of hands for this part. I wasn’t able to pull the oil cloth quite as tightly as I would have liked.
I saw somewhere on Pinterest (not taking credit for the idea, just can’t remember where I saw it to link to) a while ago that you can just spray some spray paint in a cup and then use a little brush to touch things up…so that’s what I did for the white metal parts of the chair. It wouldn’t be possible for me to take the whole chair apart because most of it is held together by rivets, not screws. It took 2 or 3 coats of paint in some places.
I left my cup over night between coats and I came back in the morning to find that the paint had eaten through the cup. I left another cup between coats for a couple of hours and it had nearly eaten through that one too… Wow! I didn’t realize it was that powerful/toxic. *Please make sure to wear gloves*
The one thing that I was able to spray paint normally was that bar that goes along the back of the seat. I used my painters pyramids for this, they can be found here(they’re a great investment for those of us that want good looking projects, they make it so that whatever you’re painting doesn’t stick to anything).
Once the paint had dried it was time to put it all back together. I just used a knife to pop a little hole through the oil cloth and then used both a screw driver and a drill to tighten the screws back in place. This took some effort, I’m not going to lie. It was tougher to put it back together than I thought it’d be. Just remember that the smaller piece is the seat part and the larger part is for the back…guess how I figured that out…oh yeah, the hard way. Both stapling the fabric on and reattaching it would be what I consider a two person job. Though all in all, I think that it turned out pretty well even though I did it by myself(the four year old handing me a tool here and there doesn’t count ;).
Well, there you have it! Along with my little rag-a-muffin that insisted on being in the high chair while I was taking pictures. I’m so glad that I was able to turn it into something that I love! Even if it was a giant pain in the butt to put together again. If you notice, there’s an extra little hole in the oil cloth on the back of the seat…I totally put it together wrong at first. My brain does not work that way to just know how things fit together so having the before pictures was invaluable. I did notice that my high chair is missing the safety straps(and one screw). Not that it would matter for mine because my little girl can and does unbuckle anything and everything that she can. However, if my youngest ends up needing it, I’ll be doing a search online and ordering it. They just screw in, so it will only take a couple of minutes to add it.
*Please excuse any spelling errors/grammar issues, I’ve been up since 3 am and I’m a bit tired ;).
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