bottomless chairs.

Are you a fan of cane chairs and benches?

I love them.  I have half a dozen of them myself.

But the sad truth about cane is that it’s easy to damage.  So far the cane on two of my chairs has ripped.  And I don’t have the patience for replacing damaged cane.  So, in my opinion, cane chairs are best reserved for occasional use, not rough every day use.

I see a lot of damaged cane chairs for sale at garage sales and on Craigslist.  Sometimes they are priced super cheap, although I also see plenty of ads for pricier chairs where the seller says ‘you can easily add new cane’.  I always laugh when I read those ads.  If it was so easy to do, why didn’t they do it themselves?

I’ve come up with a few ways to work around ruined caning.  On the bench I put in my bedroom I added a cushion where there once was caning.

  On the ‘cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater‘ chair I added an upholstered seat …

Originally I planned to do something similar with a pair of chairs that I picked up last summer at a garage sale.  Don’t be confused by the snow on the ground in this ‘before’ photo.  I purchased the chairs last summer, but took this photo sometime last winter.

 I did add a seat to one of the chairs, which I then paired with the Sea Glass dressing table.

But with spring just around the corner, I decided to turn the 2nd chair into a planter chair.

But first, in case you’re not familiar, what’s a planter chair?

Here is one that I gave to my mother-in-law for mother’s day a couple of years ago.

It’s basically a bottomless chair with a hanging basket of flowers filling up the hole where the caning or other seat once was.

I love the whimsical touch they add to a garden.

Obviously these chairs are not meant for outdoor use normally.  I find that they will hold up well for 2 or 3 years if you store them in the garage for the winter, but they won’t withstand outside weather indefinitely.

But that’s OK, everything in life doesn’t have to be permanent, right?

For this planter chair I decided to go bright.  I pulled out an old jar of The Urban Rooster chalky paint in a color called Jaded Rooster but I was worried I might not have quite enough paint left for the chair so I also grabbed a small tester size jar of Annie Sloan’s Florence that was half used.

As you can see, these two are practically the same color.  One has maybe just the tiniest bit more green than the other though, so I simply mixed them together to stretch my paint a little further.

I painted two coats on my chair.  Once dry I used acrylic craft paint in Oyster White to stencil “Fleurs” on the back of the chair.

Next I sanded to distress and then added a coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat Sealer to protect the paint from the elements.

When I went to add a hanging basket to the chair for photo purposes, I discovered that the hole in the chair was larger than the typical hanging pot size.  So I added a couple of straps to hold the pot in place.

And ta da!  There you have it, a planter chair!

 I took this chair and another I had on hand in to Reclaiming Beautiful this week to sell.  So if you’re local and you don’t feel like making your own planter chair, be sure to stop in and see if they have any left!

24 thoughts on “bottomless chairs.

  1. “You can easily replace the cane” is code for you can easily drive to a specialist and pay more than you had ever intended. Anyways it’s a beautiful addition to a garden.


  2. Your chair came out lovely. Planter chairs are very popular in my neck of the woods. Great way to recycle. I know how to recane chairs and have done several but, though not difficult, it is time consuming. Also your back ends up very angry with you.


  3. Very cute! I have several old chairs I could do this with! Funny you posted this today! I have been looking for a caned headboard! Not easy to find!


    1. I just passed up a free cane headboard a few weeks ago, and it was in pretty good shape too. But it was for a full size bed. Not sure why I didn’t just grab it. The cane was in good shape on that one.


      1. Free!!!! Oh my! I never find anything free! I hear of driveway freebies other people get. I never see that around here. Dang it!


      2. It was at the White Bear Lake Trash to Treasure day when residents put stuff at the curb to be taken for free. You can just drive around and take what you want. However, you do end up spending a lot of time looking at old exercise equipment and TV’s, but sometimes there are treasures to be found!


    1. Aren’t they gorgeous! That is fuschia (the pink and white) and lobelia (the blue). Although beautiful, the fuschia is a very messy plant. It drops those flowers by the dozens. You have to put it somewhere that the dropped flowers will be hidden away under other plants or shrubbery … or if you put it on a deck, patio or porch be prepared to sweep them up every day 🙂


  4. How adorable! I just love planter chairs so accordingly I have pinned a number of them -the idea is so charming. Thing is I had never considered how perfect a busted cane chair would be. Keep inspiration coming! I assume you are selling just the chair not the plants as well.


    1. Yep, just the chair. I don’t like to ask the people at the shop to take care of a plant. Plus they are only open from Thursday to Sunday, so if it didn’t sell I’d have to go back and get the plant and take it home for Monday – Wednesday. Also, this way the buyer can choose a plant that is suitable for their location (sunny v. shady, color, etc).


  5. Your redos are clever but I love anything with cane so here’s an FYI in case anyone would like to have cane furniture. My mother re-caned a bunch of chairs, including four dining room chairs that I have used daily for at least 40 years with no problem. She re-caned via the weaving process, not the premade panels which might make the difference. I remember one chair my dad had to drill holes on the wood seat frame because she didn’t want to use a pre-woven panel which the previous seat had been. I remember her soaking the cane in a glycerin infused warm water bath before starting the weaving. I also remember her saying cane furniture needed to be used regularly and she spritzed them now and then with the same glycerin/water mixture. I’ve heard of people using Murphy’s Soap, too. I have failed to maintain that part of it, but I have moved to Eugene, Oregon, which has a humid atmosphere.


    1. Thanks for sharing that info with us Marilee. I bet you are spot on in guessing that the weaving process results in better quality caning than using the pre-made panels. I’ve also heard that spritzing your cane occasional to keep it supple and flexible is a good idea. But some days I barely manage to moisturize my own skin, let alone my chairs 😉 If only I was better at so many of those maintenance sort of chores!


      1. Gotcha. I myself would probably slap on a piece of plywood and buy a pillow. I just have a thing about traditional skills getting lost in the march of time, not saying that I myself want to save them all, but I watched 6 seasons of Monarch of the Glen just to see the furniture. Keep on doing what you’re doing. You’re the best and the bravest.


      2. I hear you Marilee, you are right about those skill becoming lost. Even just the ability to do the kind of repairs that Ken does for me is getting lost unfortunately. And now you’ve got me thinking that I should check out Monarch of the Glen 🙂


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