test driving iron-on vinyl

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January is my month for decluttering and sprucing things up around the house. I've been working like a dog on everyplace but my office and studio, but at least the kids' art room is looking good. It's not really a room, more of a breakfast nook that got taken over by the rascals and is furnished with the last remnants of my husband's college furniture. Since the furniture isn't precious it's ok that paint gets on it, but it's January and I'm feeling anal. I can't stand the sight of these dirty seat covers another minute. And I'm over that floral. The original cane seats are long gone, replaced with plywood topped with 1" foam and they've been recovered over and over with the help of my trusty staple gun.
Well, I'm recovering them again, but this time might be the last because I'm trying out a new product that I think is gonna be my new favorite: iron-on vinyl! A few years ago, I looked into having fabric laminated for these chairs and it turned out to be something like $20 per yard with a 5 yard minimum, so I didn't pursue it. Then I came across this Therm O Web iron on vinyl at JoAnn's and bought some to play with.
It comes in matte or shiny & I got the matte. It reminds me a lot of the laminating stuff you can get for paper at the office supply store.
It has a waxy paper backing that you peel off to reveal a tacky side.
You place the vinyl tacky side down onto the front of your fabric and then smooth out the bubbles. You can still peel it back up at this point if you notice a wrinkle or a thread stuck in there.
Then you take the backing you just peeled off and use it as your press cloth. The directions say to do the ironing on a firm surface like a table, heat on medium. There's no toxic odor like I was expecting either.
After it cools, peel back the paper and voilĂ ! Vinyl-coated fabric!
And my favorite part: the stapling...
Instant gratification!


ThatGirl said...

What a cool product! I love the fabric you chose for the chairs. I know that's one of your favorite colors.
I have been looking at laminated fabrics and been unimpressed by the price, but more importantly by the limited range of designs and colors.
I have been wanting to make a raincoat and now I feel like I can choose absolutely any fabric (or collection of fabrics) and make something I love.

Becky said...

Ooooh! A raincoat sounds great! I was thinking of making a tote-style lunch bag next and using it for the lining...

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking about doing the same thing with my dining chairs and found your blog while searching for tips. In your experience, was the vinyl-coated fabric still flexible and easy to use? I'm concerned that folding the fabric and stapling around the seat corners may be difficult or too bulky. Thanks!

Becky said...

Marti, you do sacrifice some flexibility in the fabric by laminating it, but a square corner is no problem to fold. You might get some puckering on a round corner, but I'd still try it. I can also add, now that we've been using the chairs almost a year, that they are bullet-proof. I've stood on them in treaded sneakers and the kids have used them pretty heavily with no signs of wear.

DZ said...

How do you think this would work on a faux-leather (vinyl) couch which has been peeling? Obviously, these cushions have a lot more give than the chairs you show here. I'd rather turn my flaking couch into a fun modern art project than replace it...and am looking for ideas to color and cover.
I'm open to anyone's ideas and thoughts!!

Becky said...

DZ,I wouldn't try it. The product isn't intended for vinyl on vinyl. And the width is limited. The best thing I can think of is to bite the bullet and slip cover your sofa which is a pain, I know. I've done mine twice.

DZ said...

Becky, thanks for your advice. I agree slipcovering is the best way to create a uniform appearance. I'm actually hoping to have some fun and not have this look like a 'normal' couch when done....instead, show off a patch of another color, perhaps splash some paint on it as well.

Do you know of any material that would adhere to a vinyl upholstery?
Thanks and best,

Becky said...

DZ, why not slap some different vinyl patches on then with some epoxy-type glue? Maybe you can get some remnants of different colors?

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