Senior editor Sally Armstrong shares a DIY project to turn a basic chair into a personalized memento.
Have you got picturesque snapshots trapped on your phone or computer, or tucked away in albums? I discovered a fun way to let one of my favorites take center stage. I took a photo of a harbor in Maine where my family vacations every year, had it printed as a decal and attached it to the back of a chair. I got a custom look — and it was easy and inexpensive to do! The end result is a nice memento that we get to enjoy every day.
You’ll need a photo decal, chair, acetate sheet, cutting mat, utility knife, marker and a ruler.
You can get photo decals printed at many art shops; I had mine done at the local
DeSerres (I made an extra decal, just in case I made any mistakes). Take in a picture you like and have it printed slightly larger than the surface it’s going on (mine was a 12″ x 20″ decal for a 7 1⁄2″x 15 1⁄2″ surface). This photo was taken on my phone, so the quality isn’t amazing — but that gives the image a soft, painterly look. If you prefer a crisper effect, make sure the photo you’re using is high-resolution.
This project works best on a chair with a fairly flat surface and straight edges. Once you’ve got your supplies ready, start by placing a sheet of acetate over the back of your chair where the photo decal will go. Using a ruler and marker, trace the outline of the back of the chair onto your sheet of acetate to create a template.
Lay the sheet of acetate onto a cutting mat and carefully cut along the lines you made with a marker in step 1, using a ruler and sharp utility knife. Be sure to keep your fingers safely out of the way!
Lay the acetate template over the vinyl photo decal and make sure your cutting mat is underneath. Once the acetate is on top of the section of photo you’d like displayed on the chair, carefully trim the decal using a ruler and utility knife. If you’re worried about the template moving while you’re cutting, tape down the corners so they don’t shift.
Peel the backing of your photo decal off to reveal the sticky side of the photo. Start at one end and carefully attach the decal to your chair back, smoothing out any air bubbles as you go. If you make a mistake, don’t worry; you can peel off the decal and reposition it fairly easily. This also means you can change up the photo as often as you like, just like a rotating art gallery!