At this time of year I am always searching for creative, inexpensive projects that I can use as gifts for my children or their classroom. This author’s chairs is one of my favorites. My daughter and I created it together as a gift for her classroom. In her third grade class developing stories through revisions and proofreading, adding artwork and creating a quality “book” that represents your best efforts is emphasized and honored. Her teacher had always wanted to have a special chair where the child who was sharing their finished book with the class could sit to mark this sharing time as a special occasion.
Her teacher had actually owned a director’s chair she wanted to transform for this purpose for several years. When I shared with her that as the mom of five and a small business owner I was better able to do one project for the classroom than weekly copying or other tasks she immediately thought of her author’s chair.
My daughter and I began the transformation at Goodwill. We found a half dozen inexpensive children’s picture books. We looked for books with lots of colorful images and especially those with vivid blues and night skies.
We then proceeded to tear all of those pictures out – no cutting, no sharp edges – we wanted all torn edges on all sides. This looked like so much fun we were even able to attract a few brothers for this part of the process.
We attacked the chair by removing the fabric and giving it a quick undercoating of dark blue, this would not be visible in the final project so it was just meant to cover any gaps between our book illustrations.
Once this was done the kitchen table was covered with garbage bags, the rubber gloves came out and the mod podging began. We layered and glued, layered and glued for hours until we had covered most of the wooden areas with our book illustrations. We then returned to do a better job of finishing the exposed wooden dowels with teal paint, dry brushed with the dark blue to create an antiqued look.
The fabric we transformed by using spray pump fabric dye. We stuck on some foam stars, sprayed the fabric and later removed the stars to create the pattern you see. We finished the fabric by ironing on the word “AUTHOR” onto the back.
The final finishing touch was the striped finials that I just couldn’t resist. Every project needs that one over the top fun and unexpected element!
We made great memories together creating this chair. The “Author’s Chair” will outlast her tenure in that class and maybe even in that grade school and we helped to honor the voices of those children who feel celebrated when they read their stories aloud in that chair.
One of the great things about this particular project is that it can be adapted to so many different themes and uses. You could use words and phrases on desk legs or a chair for an older “author.” You could use anime drawings for a developing cartoonist, wherever your child’s interests lie you can find a way to use this concept.