say yes to plastic

21 November 2011

She was so right.  I should have listened.
A lovely reader named Faith Ballard wrote this on my first post about our kitchen desk chair:

“a word to the wise:  (from someone who has as many kids as you do and a passion for white and blue upholstery fabric) RUN, don't walk, to Joann's and get yourself some clear matte vinyl, and cover that sucker immediately.  Unless you plan to re-cover it every two months.”

I thought, Ahhh, we’ll be okay…
Well, here’s okay 3 months later:
November 2011 010 1
It’s one of the most used chairs in the house…what was I thinking?
 November 2011 012 1
Ripped it off, washed it, re-stapled it, and covered it in matte plastic like I should have done in the first place.
November 2011 015 1
Do you remember Marie’s plastic sofa in Everybody Loves Raymond? Maybe that should be next…
plastic sofa
Have you ever had to go and re-do something because you didn’t listen to great advice in the first place??


  1. is this just thin vinyl sheet of plastic or is it some sort of iron on or sticky stuff? I live in Canada we dont have said store up here so I have to look around for it. 


  2. Love this idea!

  3. Thank you for your honesty!!! I love your blog for this reason. ...that you update if an idea worked or flopped after "real-world" use.
    That is especially helpful to those of use who are thinking of trying out ideas we see, but have very limited budgets and need to "get-it-right" the first time!!!!

  4. Plastic is your friend! :) Laminated fabric is an option, too, won't tear like the plastic. Can be expensive, though.

  5. Plastic coating is the best with kids!  My dining chairs have laminated cotton on them and they have held up pretty well to my four kids.  Well except for a "marker incident" but the food and dirt wipes right off!

  6. I'm wondering if other mothers with 3+ kids are having the same problem with white kitchen cabinets?
    I want to do white kitchen cabinets. My friends, a husband, my own mother - think I'm nuts. We have 5 small children.
    They all say white kitchen cabinets will look fingerprinted and dirty all the time.

    Any thoughts from anyone on this topic?

  7. Great idea!!

    I seem to remember there being an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond about the plastic covered couch.  I have looked and looked for that episode to watch it again. Do you have any idea what episode number that might have been??

  8. I don't have white kitchen cabinets, but I do have a white computer desk /hutch and I have to wipe it down about every two weeks (I have seven kiddos 13 and under). Same thing goes for the white trim in the kitchen /dining area. If you like the look, the extra wipedowns are probably worth it.

    Another cool option is to have wood or color painted bottoms and white uppers. I think the lowers would get smudgier than uppers.

  9. Um, yes.  Yes, I have had to re-do a lot of things because I ignored good advice.  Ah, well. . . live and learn, right?  I'm glad to know about the matte plastic--in the photo, you can't even see it!

    Reading from Duke Hospital. . . Preston had to have emergency abdominal surgery Sunday night.  We'll be here all week--thankful for good medical care and for a son who is alive!  Also thankful that the hospital has good wireless internet service--makes the time pass faster.

    Blessings to all of you this Thanksgiving.  Love you!

  10. I used outdoor fabric on my kitchen chairs, because it is stain and water resistant.  It has been one year, with 6 kids, and they look as good as new!  (the chairs, not the kids!)  The spills and stains have come right off.  I bought extra fabric just in case, but so far haven't had to use it.  Go here to see a picture:

  11. "Have you ever had to go and re-do something because you didn’t listen to great advice in the first place??" BWAHAHAHA.

    This happened to me just a few months ago: 

  12. jaclyn laroche1/8/14, 1:31 PM

    thanks for this posting. I recently refinished chairs for my kitchen that have fabric seats and have been trying to decide what to do to protect them. I will definitely be getting some matte vinyl. I found some at for a good price.

  13. LOL -- At least you were smart and ambitious enough to take it off, wash it,put it back on AND cover it with plastic! I don't think I would have done it -- looks great!

  14. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 5:57 PM

    I loved the crinkle sound of her sofa!!

  15. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 5:57 PM

    Didn't know there was such a thing. I'll have to check it out~thanks for the tip!

  16. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 5:57 PM

    you have your priorities straight! :)

  17. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 5:57 PM

    Praying for Preston...and YOU.

  18. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 5:57 PM

    Thanks for letting us know about tablecloths!

    Yes, we are having the party in December! Trying to nail down a date...

  19. momnivore's dilemna1/8/14, 5:58 PM

    momnivore's dilemma wrote:
    I covered my dining chairs in vinyl tablecloths that I found at Home
    Goods.  They only survived 5 months.  Next time, oil cloth.  With messy
    kids, I love these type of chair covering b/c we can paint and spill
    milk and I don't bat an eye.  BTW...are you hosting that favorite things party like you did last year?

  20. seriouslyahomemaker1/16/14, 10:50 PM

    this is smart! the same thing happened to four beautiful Craigslist barstools that I recovered last summer. Within a week they were destroyed! AND... they are still sitting there in a state of destruction. BUT! I ordered some LAMINATED FABRIC this week and it arrived today! Do you think I ought to try and reupholster them before company comes on thanksgiving??? I attached a picture. Forget the food, let's have pretty seats.

  21. Our kitchen chairs came with the protective plastic on them....we left them on as long as we could....but there were gouges here and there - and food and various other goodies were getting down there.  I, too, thought, well it won't be that bad...I will just wipe them down....they are horrible and disgusting.  They are very comfortable....which is why we got them....but I won't let anybody that doesn't live her sit on them.  When I can afford it, I am going to recover them....and then get some of that handy dandy plastic to cover them.  The new stuff doesn't make noise like Marie's couch did!  ;)

  22. So what you are saying is that I should plastic my whole house?  I have 5 kids, so I should plastic my bedspread, carpet, couches, chairs, oh, and myself!   I should plastic myself!

  23. Go back to JoAnnes and buy some of the matt finish clear iron on vinyl and it woll look even better!  Seriously this stuff is great and not as nasty feeling as regular vinyl, it's like it bonds itself into the fabric so you don't get that sticky feeling if you sit on it with a pair of shorts on. It protects as well as regular vinyl does too. Seriously you have to check out this stuff.

  24. Pretty much everytime!  A reader told me about this spray they use for boat upholstery-I am trying it out on my kitchen chairs and will let you know how it withstands five kids and spaghetti! :)  

  25. Joshua Ballard1/16/14, 10:52 PM

    I can't believe I just saw my name on your blog!  i almost died.  :)  LOVE the chair btw!  I'm trying a new thing on my dining room chairs (which are covered in drop cloth fabric, am i insane???) where I make a little flap that goes over the seat in the same fabric.  It velcros on, and I can take it off and wash it.  I'm calling them chair bibs.  it sounds crazy...  When company comes over, off come the chair bibs, and voila!  grown up furniture without fingerprints!

  26. melissa*320 sycamore1/16/14, 10:54 PM

    ooohh...yes, let us know!

  27. melissa*320 sycamore1/17/14, 9:28 AM

    Hi Erin~
    It is just the matte plastic they sell on the big rolls at the fabric stores...good luck!


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