Vintage Steno Chair Update

A few years ago, we were at an outdoor antique market looking at these funky metal lamps wondering if we could find space for them. As the story goes, they were originally from a psychiatric hospital. What we loved about them were the curvy lines and retro look.

Unfortunately we didn’t have space for them in our small house, so we turned to leave. But then we spied a vintage steno chair that was also metal and sported curvy lines! And I had the perfect place for it too: my future craft studio! With a place for it in mind, we bought it and stored it away for a few years until the basement was finished.

The chair had a beige vinyl floral-patterned seat and back. The metal looked like it had been re-painted a rich forest green. Although we don’t have natural light in our hallway, the vinyl was pretty drab (and busy) no matter what the lighting conditions!

When the basement was complete, although I finally had somewhere to use it, before I could put it into its rightful place in my studio, I had to update it first. As you can see, the vinyl itself was in excellent shape; no wear or tear which is pretty rare for a retro piecel! I thought about reupholstering it.  I’ve reupholstered a few chairs, which you can see here and here, so it wouldn’t be beyond my skillset, but it seemed a shame to rip apart something in such great condition.

I even thought about respraying the metal a different colour. However, for some reason, I really loved the green paint; it reminded me of a European sports car with its curvy lines, like this one I found on Pinterest:

With the green paint staying as-is, I decided to try something new with the vinyl upholstery: paint it!

The paint has to be a product that will stand up to the challenge. It needs to flex because with all the use the seat and back will get, a standard paint would just crack. I researched and found a local paint shop that carried specialty paint made for vinyl. We bought a product call SEM Color Coat in a colour called ‘super white’.

Hubs removed the seat and back and sprayed a few thin coats of the paint. Then we put it back together again.

Here’s a closeup look of the before and after of the vinyl:

Sometimes you don’t have to go whole-hog and every project: a small change can make a big difference. With the pattern neutralized, you can really notice those beautiful curvy lines now!

The off-white paint really compliments both the chair and my craft studio.

My desk area gets a lot of use; it’s where I plan my projects for Birdz of a Feather and film my YouTube videos for Craft Rehab so it’s great to have a chair that’s both stylish and functional! The chair is a great addition to the vintage feel I have going on in my craft studio (along with my upcycled VW desk, which you can see a peek of below).

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share.

To see what else I’ve been up to in my craft studio, check out my Craft Rehab category for clickable thumbnails of each project. Here’s a few craft projects you may have missed:

Upcycle Kitchen Cabinets Into a One-of-a-Kind Desk! | Birdz of a Feather

Follow my blog here (link in footer) or on Bloglovin’ (click button below) to see upcoming DIY and craft projects – in and around the home. You can also follow us on Pinterest and on our Youtube channel.

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Hometalk HQ Challenge: Plant Basket

When the Hometalk Headquarter decor challenge was announced, I contacted Cori to find out a little bit more about their renovation and learned that the new space would be wide open. What better way to decorate a new space than with greenery? The list of benefits from office plants include increased creativity, improved productivity, reduced absenteeism, increased engagement with work, etc., so how could I NOT include a decor item incorporating a plant into my final project?

Plants that are low maintenance make great office plants, and that includes plants that require relatively low amounts of water, so succulents are a great choice as long as they’re placed in a spot with lots of natural light!

Today I’ll be showing you how to make a basket to ‘house’ a planter filled with succulents.

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This project was ‘inspired’ by the Hometalk logo, but this time I didn’t recreate it literally as I did with my previous projects.  I upcycled a leftover piece of cut MDF from some centrepieces I created for a baseball-themed Bar Mitzvah.


It struck me that the MDF ‘baseball diamond’ was house shaped, so I used the wooden base as a starting point for my basket. I used the same base as a backer for the vinyl record art I created for my VW Bug Keyholder. I love to upcycle so I NEVER throw anything away!

Originally, we purchased the MDF from Home Depot. I painted the MDF base Hometalk’s signature blue and then marked 1/2″ increments around the perimeter. Hubs used a drill press to drill around the edge. I used a toothpick to clear out the holes and make sure that there was no debris left for the next step.

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To complete the rest of this project you’ll need: wooden craft dowels, twine, sisal rope, white glue, a glue gun, glue sticks and beads with a large enough hole to slip over the dowels. I also wanted to incorporate some of the signature blue into the woven element so I added in a strand of turquoise using some yarn I already owned.

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The mini dowels act as the ‘ribs’ of the basket. I added a dab of glue onto the bottom of each one and hammered them into the holes with a rubber mallet so they wouldn’t split. Let it dry over night, then you’re ready to begin weaving.

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I tied a knot and attached my twine/yarn combination to the dowel in the lower left corner and then started weaving in and out around the dowels. If you don’t want to make a basket, you could also turn this piece into a desk tray to hold various items and cut the dowels off at a lower height. Below you can see I was experimenting with placing a pen holder in the centre.

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Here’s a closeup of the twine/yarn combo. I think the blue coordinates beautifully with the base and adds a nice touch of colour to the finished product.


Once you’re back to where you started at the corner, loop back around the last dowel so you can start weaving in the opposite direction. This will leave a gap at the corner, but don’t worry about it because it will get covered up from the inside with all the ends from the weaving.

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As you weave each row, push down on the twine to ensure the rows are level. Once the dowels were almost half woven , I added in two pieces of sisal rope to act as handles.

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Before I attached them to the basket, I took some thinner sisal and wound it around the cut edges so they wouldn’t unravel.

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Then I positioned them along the side and wove them into the starter row.

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Here’s a closer look at one of the handles from the inside of the basket. It’s not necessary to hot glue it to the sides because the weaving will hold it tight.

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On subsequent rows, you’ll need to position the handles either up or down in order to weave them in and secure them into the basket. You’ll get the feel for it as you go; I’d never woven before and once you get going, it becomes intuitive.


Since you will be doubling back at the end of each row, take the opportunity to loop around both corner posts at least once to keep them together and strengthen the corner as shown below.

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I continued weaving until I used up all the twine and didn’t have enough to complete another row. Then I knotted the twine/yarn combo around the two corner posts where I originally started. Don’t cut the tail – you’ll need it later.

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To finish off the top edge I used a much thicker sisal rope. Because I wasn’t sure how much I would need to go around the entire perimeter, I unraveled the whole skein and folded it in the half in the middle. The picture below doesn’t show the corner dowel, it only demonstrates the fold of the rope, however I actually looped it onto the same dowel I initially started with in the lower left corner of the basket.

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Starting from left to right, bring one strand around the first dowel and criss-cross the other strand right over it in the opposite direction around the same dowel as shown in the picture below. Tighten as you go to keep it consistent, but don’t pull so tight that you skew the positioning of dowels (or worse yet, break one)! This rope feature will give you a braided look along the edge.


When the edging is complete, bring both pieces of the rope to the inside of the corner as shown five pictures below and follow the instructions under ‘finishing off the edging’ to secure it to the inside of the basket.

To finish off the top of each dowel, dab a bit of white glue onto a bead and insert it onto the top of the dowel. You can also use hot glue if you’re careful not to drip it everywhere! I bought a variety of different coloured beads from the dollar store; if you want to switch up your decor you could even forgo the glue and switch out the beads whenever the mood strikes. The weaving around the top is tight so it’s not going to go anywhere; the beads are just to give it a finished look.

As you can see below, not every dowel is exactly the same length, so just take a mini hacksaw and trim off any that are too long and protruding past the bead.


I stopped weaving the handles in before I got to the top of the basket because I thought it might look good if they just flopped to the sides, but when I was done I changed my mind. I used the bodkin shown below and some of the turquoise yarn to secure the handles to the sides of the basket so they would stand up better.


Once you’re done with the decorative stitching, place a dab of hot glue over the knots of the yarn on the inside of the basket to hold it securely and keep it from loosening over time.


Finishing off the Edging

At the corner, bring the double strands of rope to the inside of the basket. Remember that tail of twine/yarn you saved from the main weaving? Use it to wrap around the two pieces of the rope to secure it all together. When you get to the end, secure the twine with a dab of hot glue underneath the rope where it can’t be seen.


I used a clip to help secure the twine while I was determining the length to cut it and reaching for the glue gun. It acts as a second pair of hands.

Eyeball the length of the interior corner from the top of the basket to the base and apply a dab of hot glue to join the two pieces of rope near the bottom. Also apply hot glue just above where you will be cutting the rope to keep it from fraying (glue along the inside where it won’t be seen). Cut the rope even with the bottom of the basket and then secure it to the corner base with a dab of hot glue (again where it won’t be seen).


I didn’t glue along the seam itself: I only glued the rope at the bottom as I didn’t want glue oozing out through the weave of the basket!


Here’s how the rope looks from the inside of the basket secured to the inside corner. If you wish, you can take a pair of scissors and trim away some of the longer ‘flyaway’ strands of the sisal to tidy it up.


I didn’t add the ‘Inspire‘ wording to the basket as shown below, but if I was using this as a desk tray I might add it in to coordinate with the earlier pieces I created for the Hometalk HQ decor challenge. Of course, the handles wouldn’t be necessary to add if you were making this as a tray.


Here’s a look at the final basket on its own.

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I used a planter filled with succulents that I already owed to demonstrate how pretty it would be planted up.

If I had more time I would definitely make a custom hypertufa planter to mimic the shape of the inside of Hometalk’s logo – and fabricate it in white concrete! It just so happens that I have a DIY tutorial on how to construct a hypertufa planter that you can use to accessorize this basket if you want to take it that one step further.

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The possibilities are endless for this project: you could make this basket in any shape your heart desires. I already have special plans to make a thank-you gift, and for my own craft studio I’m going to weave a basket using my Birdz of a Feather logo so I can use it for thread storage. I’ll update you on both projects once they’re done.

Well, that concludes my ‘Inspire’ series for Hometalk’s HQ. It’s time for me and Hubs to turn our attention to putting the finishing touches on my craft studio. I’m looking forward to reclaiming our dining room table again and to bringing you even more projects once my new craft space is up and running!

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If you enjoyed this project, please pin and post on Facebook.

To see the other projects in the ‘Inspire‘ series created just for Hometalk, click the links below.

Hometalk HQ Challenge: Inpire-Themed Office Decor


Cubicle Wall Art – How to Print 8″ x 10″ Art Canvasses with a Printer

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Don’t forget to follow me here on Birdz of a Feather or on Bloglovin’!

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Hometalk HQ Challenge: Inspire-Themed Office Decor

When Cori announced that Hometalk was redecorating its New York offices and was looking for decor items, it was game on! She put a challenge out to the community to come up with DIY creations that would inspire. She even added an optional caveat to incorporate some element of Hometalk such as the teal colour, the word Hometalk or the logo.

I wanted to create something that would inspire the staff as much as the site inspires me to be creative so I took the challenge to heart. Afterall, our office space is a home away from home (or closer than that if you’re lucky enough to work at home).

I came up with three different, but easy, office inspired decor projects that staff could use to embellish their own personal office space – with form and function in mind! I upcycled several items I already had and sourced the rest from the dollar store.

I chose to use Hometalk’s logo in these designs, but you’re only limited by your own creativity and these can be adapted to any shape!

Project #1: Test Tube ‘Inspire’ Flower Arrangement

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Who doesn’t want to add a little beauty in their office space in the form of fresh flowers? This project uses the following items:


  1. A 9 3/4″ square cork trivet (I got mine at Ikea)
  2. Part of a binder clip – or 3M strips – as a hanging device
  3. Those little plastic tubes you get with floral arrangements (courtesy of hubs who buys me flowers – a lot!)
  4. Sheet of acetate
  5. Large vinyl coated eye hooks (1 – 3/4″)
  6. Paint (teal and white)
  7. Glue gun & glue
  8. Push pin

I actually did the first two projects at the same time because they were cut to two different sizes and I was able to use the extra cork from the smaller project as the centre of the larger one.

Start by scaling the hometalk logo. The large one is scaled to fit an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper and the small one is scales to 6 1/2″. Draw both the outer and inner outline and cut the paper out. Trace the logo onto the cork with a pen (I traced it onto the back of the cork, but you could do it from the front instead).

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Here you can see the size difference between the first two projects:

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Cut the cork pieces out, Hubs used a bandsaw to cut most of the pieces for me, but I also used a dollar store fine tooth hack saw on the centre section (it was slow but worked just fine).

Take a piece of 100 grit sandpaper and round over any square cut edges to match the rest of the trivet. I find that a beveled sanding sponge is also useful to help round over the edges.

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Paint the outer piece blue and the centre piece of cork you cut out of scrap in white paint. You can either spray or brush it on with a foam brush.

Print out the word ‘inspire’, place it under a sheet of acetate and place a self healing cutting mat under your work. Then cut out the stencil with an X-acto knife and position it over the cork. Using white paint on  a very dry brush, pounce it over the lettering to keep the paint from bleeding under the stencil. If you do get some bleeding, you can touch it up with a fine brush with the blue. I also outlined it with a fine black marker to give it some definition (as you can see, I tested it first on the cork with my initial which will be hidden later with another piece of cork!)

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For the centre, figure out the positioning for the eye hooks and pierce starter holes with a toothpick. Flip it over and add double face tape onto the back. Peel off the tape and position on the front of the larger piece of cork. Using the starter holes, screw in the eye hooks and position them so that they are pointing to one side. You need to have this double layer of cord to accommodate the depth of the screw, otherwise it will poke out the back! Add the plastic test tubes to rest in the eye hooks.

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Squeeze to remove one half of a binder clip arm and hot glue onto the back of the cork at the top to act as a hanging loop (you can glue a scrap piece of felt or foam over the ends to prevent it from scratching the surface it will be mounted to). You can then use a push pin to attach the hanging loop to your cubicle wall! Alternatively, you could use 3M strips if mounting to a wall.

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All that’s left is to go out a buy a few flower stems to complete it.  Lift out the tubes, remove the tops and fill the tubes with water. Cut the stems and insert through the top first and then pop the top back onto the tube; close tightly.

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Project #3:  Business Card and Post-It Note OrganizerHometalk HQ Challenge 113_BOF Inspire.jpg


  1. Post-it notes
  2. Cork Trivet
  3. Cassette tape
  4. White foam
  5. Part of a binder clip – or 3M strips – as a hanging device
  6. Double face tape
  7. Glue gun & glue
  8. Paint (teal only)
  9. Push pin

Follow the steps above to cut and paint your piece. The middle section of this one is made of white foam instead of cork. You can tell I’ve had this foam for a while because that’s when items at the dollar store really did cost a dollar – not $1.25 or $2.00 or even $3.00!

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Can you guess what the business card holder is? It’s one half of an old tape cassette plastic shell!

Open the cassette and take out the tape and paper. The two pieces of the ‘hinge’ can be separated giving you a pocket piece to hold some of your business cards.

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Position the tape cassette tape case under the white foam. Once happy with the positioning, double face tape it to the cork. Apply double face tape to the foam and position it onto the cork and over the top portion of the cassette tape case to hide the edge.

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Once that’s done, you can add some sticky notes to the centre. If you can find white to blend in with the foam, all the better (I just used what I had on-hand). Hubs used a chop saw to cut the bottom of a regular stack of Post-it notes into the shape of a house to mimic the Hometalk Logo. I only did this for demonstration purposes and I wouldn’t do it again: paper flew everywhere and it was hard to clamp so probably not the safest thing to cut. We made sure we were not cutting the top side with the glue or we’d be cutting away all the adhesive!

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Add the other half of the binder clip arm as you did in the first project and hang. You can velcro a pen to the side if you wish, as shown in the third project below.

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If you like, you can also add some scissors by attaching another cup hook to hang them. The backer board shown below is made of wood and I didn’t end up using it for this particular project – or adding the scissors – because I went with a smaller size. As an option, I could have completed this one and added dry erase film as the white centre to make this into a dry erase message board.

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For my own office in my craft room-in-progress, I would use cork in a round shape and fashion my trademark Birdz of a Feather logo into a message board using chalk board paint on one side and dry erase film on the other. The options are endless!

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Project #2: Desk Top Dry Erase ‘Inspire’ To-Do Board


  1. Dollar store frame
  2. Card stock
  3. Printer with colour ink
  4. Dry erase pen
  5. Self-sticking velcro

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The last project is a dry erase to-do board for the desk top. All you need is a 4″ x 6″ frame from the dollar store with glass that slides out, a dry erase marker, some card stock, a printer and self adhesive velcro.

I used illustrator to design the to-do list. I added ‘inspire’ down the side and made it transparent so it would fade into the background but still be noticeable.

If you want to print your own Hometalk to-do list/dry erase board, I’ve attached the pdf for you to make your own! Dry Erase Board Printout

Once printed, cut the card to 4″ x 6″ with a paper cutter.

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Add a small piece of self adhesive velcro onto the dry erase marker and the side of the picture frame stand so you can keep them together (rough side goes on the frame). Slip the cardstock behind the glass, write our your to-do list and you’re ready to tackle your day.

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I still have that piece of wooden board left that I showed earlier and have come up with a few more office decor projects. I won’t divulge what they are just yet; you’ll just have to follow my blog if you’re curious to see them once they’re posted!

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At Birdz of a Feather, we’re feathering the nest… one room at a time. If this project has inspired you, please pin and share on Facebook.

Follow my blog here or on Bloglovin’ to see other DIY projects in and around the home.

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