Project Create

the biography of a nonprofit

October OCH Art Market – 31 Brand New Artists!!!

We had another great day last Saturday at the OCH Art Market. We had 36 Day of the Dead Masks made from 31 brand new artists! I could not be happier with the turnout…at one point there were 10 artists making masks at one time!!!!!

I was so proud to see the smiles on everyone’s faces and the amazing work they did. Take a look through the gallery to see our creations. Also, check out the new banner Project Create has accumulated (I’ll be honest, 3’x5′ ended up being much larger than anticipated, but I think it is perfect!)

This was such a great day, I am thinking about using the Day of the Dead Mask project again this weekend at the Cypress Art & Media Expo…what do you think???

Free Day of the Dead Masks: Latin Art at the OCH Art Market 10/13/12

This month, the OCH Art Market will be showcasing Latin art and artists…muy caliente! Make sure to come on down and see Project Create, where we will be hosting another free art project: Day of the Dead Masks! This is a great opportunity for art lovers, young and old, to express their creativity and explore the beauty of Latin Art.

The OCH Art Market is proud to be collaborating with the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane to celebrate Hispanic culture on OC Haley Blvd. in staging the Latino Art themed OCH Art Market in awareness of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The OCH Art Market is held on the second Saturday of every month at 1618 O.C. Haley Blvd, right in the heart of Central City. This building, also home to the Zeitgeist Theatre, is a protected historic landmark and with its 18 foot ceilings is a tourist attraction in itself. The market seeks to provide a foothold for returning Central City and Dryades Street to its former glory as a thriving commercial district second only to Canal Street.

More information on this market can be found on the OCH website, or by contacting us at with any questions or comments. Find us on Facebook (Project Create, O.C.H. Art Market) or Twitter (@PrjCreate_Nola, @OCHArtMarket). Also check out the talk about town about OCH from the Gambit

Vote For Our Chair Reupholstering Project on Instructables!

Our tutorial was entered into the Cabot Woodcare contest, and we think that is pretty awesome! If you have a minute, please click on our link and vote for our project. You will see the link to vote in the top right of our page on Instructables.

You can either sign up as a new member (which is free and gives you all kinds of awesome DIY ideas) or you can log in via Facebook. Either way works for us!


Check out these kind words from our creative cousin over at Free Penny Press…it sure feels good to have such great support!

Project Create Is Featured On Instructables! – Update 9/28/12

Update 9/28/12 – Our project received another fantastic complement from Instructables:

Congratulations Project Create!  “How To Reupholster A Chair” has been featured to the homepage!  Being featured by our editors means your Instructable stands out, and represents one of the best we have.  Projects like yours make Instructables great, and we really appreciate your time and effort.


If you haven’t already heard of this amazing website, Instructables is an online encyclopedia where passionate people share what they do and how they do it, and learn from and collaborate with others. What that means is that Instructables is an online derivation of Project Create (this is totally in my humbler opinion, and of course they get the credit for being invented first).

The point is, you can pretty much find any DIY project you can think of on their site (for free!) and teach yourself how to accomplish it. That is AWESOME.

Because Instructables is so great, I decided to upload Project Create’s post on Reupholstering a Chair so that more creative spirits could find their way to the tutorial. Let’s not forget, the whole point of Project Create is to encourage creative expression wherever we can, so we don’t really care if we get the credit…we just feel good knowing we helped someone find their creativity!

Well sometimes it does feel pretty dang good to be recognized…like we just were by the Instructables staff! Here is the email we received:

Hi Project Create!

Your Step by Step Instructable “How To Reupholster A Chair” was just featured by one of our editors!
Look for it in the Workshop category.

Being featured means we think you are awesome.  Keep up the great work!

WOWZA! This is a shining moment for Project Create and I just had to share it with you all. So you better all make sure to check us out in the Workshop section under “Featured“!!!!!!!!!!!

Art Project: Reupholster A Chair

There are so many good chairs out there that are just plain uncomfortable in their own skin. It is time that we liberate them and give them new life! This entry is not so much an art project as it is a creative endeavor. But this does not mean that it is a simple walk in the park. Having said that, I do want to reiterate that it is surprisingly easier to reupholster a chair than you would imagine.

There are plenty of websites our there that will give you instructions on how to DIY reupholster, and I encourage you to check them out. Here are a couple I looked at: All Things Thrifty and Modest Maven. These are great crafting websites you should explore for other great projects as well.

Here is a step by step outline of how Project Create went about reupholstering this club chair (the total cost for the project was $65, including the chair which was purchased for $25 at an estate sale):

reupholstering a chair

reupholstering a chair

reupholstering a chair

This is the chair in its original state. Awful. Seriously, this was truly offensive.

reupholstering a chair

When you are removing fabric and pieces, start any chair from the bottom first. Most chairs are finished on the bottom, so the best method is to remove fabric in the reverse order it was put on…this way the last pieces you will remove will be the first pieces you put back on. Here is a tip: If you bought the chair from a garage sale, buy some Lysol disinfectant and repeatedly spray the chair down while you take it apart. This will help with any odors as well.

reupholstering a chair

For this chair, I needed to remove the bottom frame to get to the fabric. I used a thin flat head screwdriver and a hammer to get between the frame and the chair, then I just pried it apart. Be careful with any nails or staples that are exposed…I recommend wearing work gloves.

reupholstering a chair

You can see all of the staples that were used – removing these is the most time consuming part of the project. You want to be careful removing the fabric so that you can reuse it as a template for the new fabric you choose. The best way to remove these is using any method that works for you…I used a pair of pliers and a thin flat head screwdriver. For full disclosure, after I removed the first few panels by manually extracting every staple, I decided to try pulling the fabric off in one piece. This worked to some extent, but be warned that the fabric may rip easily. This isn’t a huge problem in itself, so long as you can get the general pattern of each panel.

reupholstering a chair

You will want to save the piping that you remove, as it is already cut to be the perfect length for each section. Again, just keep on removing the staples and fabric.

reupholstering a chair

Make sure to label each section that you remove so that you know where they go when you are recovering. I made sure to label the section, the side it is on, and the direction it went back on.

reupholstering a chair

Ply-grip: Our worst enemy and our best friend. The sharp metal teeth you find on large sections such as the back and sides are called Ply-grip. You will want to be careful with these pieces because they are very sharp. The best way to open them is using a butter knife to pry it open (seen in the next picture). Because I wanted to keep costs as low as possible, I wanted to reuse the ply-grip, so I made sure not to bend everything out of place too badly. You can grip the fabric with your pliers and just pull it out of the ply-grip.

reupholstering a chair

Using a butter knife to open ply-grip. Yes, those gloves make me look creepy.

reupholstering a chair

Continue removing fabric panels until the frame of the chair is totally exposed. Be cognizant of where batting and foam pieces are – some of them need to be removed to get to where fabric was stapled in, and some (like in this picture) should be left along because there is nothing further to remove. Here is a tip: if you want your chair to be more comfortable, you can go ahead and add more batting or foam at this point. Also, if you got the chair from a garage sale, it might not smell the best, so you can remove the batting and replace with new, although this will increase the price of the project.

reupholstering a chair

This is a (not very good) picture of the back of the chair. I wanted to point out how it was attached to the frame: the manufacturer did not use ply grip here. Instead, the panel was apparently attached on the top edge first, with the two sides having the ply grip. This may make more sense later on, but it is important that you keep any foam backing or cardboard lining so that you can reuse them to keep your edges smooth.

reupholstering a chair

This chair had buttons in the upholstery that I think looked awful. This picture shows where they were attached in the back (the strings were stapled to the frame). I made sure to remove these, so that when I put on the new fabric, the batting would be nice and smooth.

reupholstering a chair

When you have the fabric completely removed, you can start cutting our the pattern in the new fabric. Here you can see I laid a piece of the old fabric (face down) on the back of the new fabric. This way, when I cut out the new fabric, it will be facing the correct way. If you are using a patterned fabric, be cognizant of where any images will be centered when you attach the fabric.

reupholstering a chair

After I cut out all of the new fabric, I began attaching. Remember, You will be replacing the fabric back on in the opposite order that you removed it. This bottom pieces was the last part that I removed, and thus the first to be replaced. All you need to do is put the cut fabric back on, tuck it back into the places it was tucked, and then re-staple it in the same places it was stapled before.

reupholstering a chair

You will attach the piping in the same reverse order that you removed it. This cannot be explained exactly without looking at the actual chair you are working on, so only you will understand the order it was attached. If you saved the original piping, you can use a seam ripper (or scissors) to open the piping and take out the cord. To make the new piping, cut our a 1.5-2 wide strip of your fabric in a length 2-3 inches longer than the cord. Then use a sewing machine to sew the piping. Here is a tutorial.

reupholstering a chair

Before you attach any woodwork, think about whether you want to paint or stain it. You will want to do any of this work before you attach any new fabric. I chose to spray paint the wood black for a modern look.

reupholstering a chair

Make sure to tuck in all of your panels and staple where appropriate – remember that you should never see staples exposed on the finish product.

reupholstering a chair

I didn’t take an image of when I made the cushion, so I used this one to show you what you need: a sewing machine. Using a basic pillow cover strategy, I just sewed a cover for the cushion that was already on the chair. This is another opportunity for you to add batting – but keep in mind that will change the size of the pillow cover. Here is a tutorial.

Well that pretty much sums up the basics for re-upholstering an old chair. There are going to be lots of roadblocks in your chairs, because every chair is different. Just remember to document the steps and order in which you remove parts, and you should be just fine. My chair took about 6 hours to complete, but yours may take longer. No matter how long it takes, be patient. Remember that at the end of the journey, you will have an amazing new chair for a fraction of the price!

Here is a before and after picture of my chair:

reupholstering a chair

So do you think you are up to the challenge? We would love to see your re-upholstered masterpieces, so make sure to post them in our comments section!

As always, don’t forget to spread the word about Project Create and help us raise enough money to open our studio where these materials and projects can be made permanently available!

Donate To Project Create

Donate to Project Create

Cheap And Quick Art…Just The Way We Like It!

Project Create is starting a new section on our blog focused on giving you great ideas for some quick and cheap ways to add a little creativity into your daily life. While we are trying to build our repertoire of projects you can do in our studio, there is no reason why you can’t try these at home!

So here is our first project: Wire Sculptures!!!

The materials list for this is simple: wire ($3.99 of copper wire for 15 yards), wire cutters (already owned), pliers (already owned), and something to mount your sculpture on (we used a scrap piece of wood – free).

Now this is a difficult project to give instructions on step by step, but here is the gist:

  1. Decide on what you want to sculpt (we chose an alligator)
  2. Map out a simple design of the idea, one that you could trace with a pencil and never have to pick up pencil from the paper.
  3. Cut out a long piece of wire big enough to sculpt your concept with one piece with a little leftover (if it is too small, you can always attach more, and if it is too long you can just cut it!)
  4. Begin shaping the wire into your concept, using your fingers, pliers, or anything else you might think is handy. For example, in our alligator, I simply wrapped the wire around a pen to achieve uniformity around the eyes…The idea here is mold the wire into the simple shape you drew out first. You will be surprised with how easy this is!
  5. Mount your sculpture. I drilled a hole through some scrap wood and put the excess wire through the hole and twisted it around two nails I hammered into the back (see below).

This entire project took only about 30 minutes to finish, and now I have a great decorative piece for a guest room or bathroom area (alligators can pretty much go anywhere in New Orleans!). So do you think you are up to the challenge? We would love to see your wire creations, so make sure to post them in our comments section!

As always, don’t forget to spread the word about Project Create and help us raise enough money to open our studio where these materials and projects can be made permanently available!

Donate To Project Create

Donate to Project Create

State of Affairs: Help Project Create Spread the Word and Raise Money For Supplies!!!

We have certainly had an eventful last few weeks and I am happy to announce that we have a lot more coming up!!!

The OCH Art Market was such a great success that we are now booked to have a FREE Art booth for at least the next few markets (and hopefully all of them from now on!). You can find out more about the OCH Art Market here. In October, the market is showcasing Latino Art, and Project Create will have  a booth set up for you to come on down and make some of your own Latino Art for FREE!!! Here is the link for the event.

Project Create is also proud to announce that it has been booked for its first private event!!! One of the patrons at the OCH Art Market picked up one of our flyers and contacted us a few days later to provide art entertainment at an annual picnic event. I will certainly post more details about that in the future, but I could not be happier to know that our name is getting out there!!!

So far we have raised almost $1500 which is outstanding, but it is going to take more than that to open our own studio! You can help us out by letting your social network know about Project Create  and all of the great work we are trying to accomplish! And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and send out our donation link so we can raise enough money to keep FREE Art events available!

Stay tuned for more great news and updates!!!

Donate To Project Create

Donate to Project Create

The OCH Art Market: A Huge Success Story!

What an amazing first event Project Create had yesterday. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth and supported us. Our booth had painting supplies for art market customers to paint their own artworks for FREE!!!

We had 14 paintings created, and more importantly, 14 NEW ARTISTS!!! The whole point of Project Create is to make more people explore their creative selves…and we succeeded 14 times! On top of that, we raised over $100 in donations. WHAT A GREAT DAY!

Check out some of our pictures from the day:

Project Create Booth

First Project Create Customers!!!

New Young Artists!

New Young Artists!

First Dollar Raised From Project Create Services!!!

“First Time Painting In Years”


Man Cat – A Project Create Mascot!

Family Day Out – Perfect Time To Make Art!

Painting Party

5 Brand New Happy Artists

A New Prodigy In Town!

Busy Makin’ Art

Is He Humming? Yes, He Is!!!

Creative Creature!

Having A Great Time At The Project Create Free Painting Booth!

The Art Market was also a great success for meeting new people and making some great networking connections (even some that may lead to a permanent space for Project Create to teach classes!!!). You can be sure to see Project Create at more OCH Art Market events, as well as other markets around the city. We will keep you updated on all of our events, and until then, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and share our page with your friends!

To help us raise the money for our own studio, you can DONATE here.

Project Create’s First Event: Paint Your Own Art at the OCH Art Market

Project Create has reached a new level: we have raised over $1000 (a huge thank you to all of our amazing donors), and we have officially booked our first event at the OCH (Oretha Castle Haley BLVD) Art Market!!!

This Saturday (9/8/2012 – not March 10), we will be hosting a booth where anyone and everyone can paint their own art for FREE! We will have a table set up with acrylic paints, paint brushes, and canvasses for you to paint your little hearts out. So if you are free on Saturday, make your way down to the OCH Art Market and make yourself an artist! This month is focused on wellness and health, so be sure to also check out some great original art, yoga, and Thai food (Yum!).

I hope to see you on Saturday!!! (and until then, be sure to DONATE and help us reach our campaign goal)

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