The Sammy Sheppard Art Blog


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Designer couch DIY

A year ago my hubby and I decided to open our own coffee shop in our home town, Mossel Bay. We had a grand vision, a beautiful 140 year old building, too much optimism and not nearly enough money to match our extravagant dreams for what would be known as “The Merchant”.

We set out, as most small businesses do; to make do with what we had. Our vision was to create a beautiful place, but also a relaxed and comfortable enviroment that would be worth leaving your own plunger/coffee machine and loung suite at home.

But this is not a story about the coffee shop as much as it’s a story about a couch. This is not just any random old couch. When I was in High school my dad, siblings and I went to great lengths in choosing this couch based on an extensive criteria, comfort being the most crucial aspect. Many movies were enjoyed on this couch, countless friends slept over on this couch and great revelations were shared in the arms of this Cori Craft comforter. But this old friend needed a serious make-over before it could fit into our grand plan for The Merchant.

The couch make over.jpg image 1

My initial idea was to simply dye the covers black. Off to the pharmacy I went and soon Comfy Couch’s clothing was in a bath full of black cold water dye. Our friend Helen, volunteered to do the enormous job of keeping the covers under by pressing the covers down into the blackness. Helens arms and everything else within a 2 meter radius was affected by the darkness.

Unfortunately I cant say which product I used because, despite Helens strict adhering to the instructions, it did NOT work. Our dear old couch was now in an even worse state, resembling a tie-dyed sun-bleached grey has-been. There were no photos taken due to the great grief I was experiencing as well as fear of starting a decade long sibling feud. Not even a giant throw could hide the damage.

Once I had calmed down my darling husband reminded me kindly that I was indeed an artist and that despite the emotions, that I of all people should be able to find a solution. My husband knows that encouragement is what fuels creativity and soon afterwards I had a very brave idea (all on my own, no pinterest inspiration, though I don’t doubt many have done the same in my case)

The plan was to paint a pattern on the couch with fabric paint that could cover the markings made by the dye. I couldn’t find a stencil pattern that I liked so I spontaneously just started painting the back of the couch. I have a fairly straight hand so I didn’t do any measuring. But if this is something you would like to do yourself, you can measure and draw some guidelines for yourself in pencil before applying the fabric paint. I went with a rough looking pattern with which I could “edit” out the black stains. The entire painting process took me about 2 hours to complete.

Sammy Sheppard

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