Church Pew Makeover – March Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest

Disclosure:   I was supplied with complimentary product to complete this project, but all thoughts and opinions are wholly my own. 


I can’t tell you how excited  I am to be competing in my very first Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest!



Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -



March’s contest was graciously sponsored by Fairfield World, the manufacturer of Poly-Fil, pillows, foam, batting, etc., and Spoonflower, a fantastic website where you can create your own fabric, wallpaper, gift wrap, or chose to use another artist’s design from the Spoonflower Marketplace.  March’s theme is “Mix and Match”, and I knew right away I wanted to work on this old church pew that’s been hanging out in my garage for the last couple of years:



Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -


(So how cool is it that it still has the holder for church hymnals?!!)

Initially I thought I would select foam to make a seat cover for my church pew.  But the more I looked at it, I realized I didn’t want to cover up it’s swayed seat.  It’s a church pew, not an outside bench, and I didn’t want to lose that.  I wanted the pew to have a French country look, and thought soft, cozy pillows would be perfect.  From Fairfield  I ordered two Soft Touch premium pillow inserts and one Weather Soft pillow insert instead.

Fairfield's Poly-Fil Soft Touch Pillow - 12" x 22"Fairfield's Weather Soft Pillow form - 12 x 16

We have a sewing machine because my daughter sews, but it’s a true story that I received a D in Home Economics class in high school.  The D came with a note (written in the dreaded red pen!) pinned to the garment, “You’ve basted this whole dress!!”   (I’m fairly certain high school students no longer take home economics class, and I don’t think teachers even write in red anymore.  Lucky kids.)   Sorry, guess I’m still haunted by ghosts of high school past. 😉   The point I’m trying to make is, I’m no seamstress, and if I can make pillows, ANYONE can make pillows!  😀



Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -



The two larger, grain sack stripe pillows were created with drop cloth material and tape and paint.  (I prewashed and ironed all of the fabric, but because my covers aren’t actually removable, I’m pretty sure I could have skipped that step.)  All I did to create a thin grain sack stripe was tape off where I wanted my stripes to go and paint in between.   Don’t apply the paint with a heavy hand or strive for perfection.   The grain sack stripe will look more realistic if the paint is more random.  And because professionals pull off the tape while the paint is still wet, I did the same.  😉



Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -



Once the paint was dry, I placed the two painted pieces of drop cloth face down on my plain piece of drop cloth and (using the sewing machine) sewed a straight seem around three sides; turned it inside out; stuffed in my pillow forms; and hand stitched the short end using a ladder stitch.  (Remember that “helpful” home economics teacher I mentioned earlier?  I learned the ladder stitch from watching a YouTube video.  If you’re unsure on how to do it, that’s where I would look.  Apologies, but I’m wary of uploading foreign videos to my website.)



Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -



Can we talk about the smaller pillow now??  What can be more French than French bulldogs, right??!  😀  These cheeky bulldogs are fun and they crack me up!



Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -



What?? You say your life is a laugh a minute, and you don’t need more fun??!   No worries.  If you prefer a more traditional French country look: - Pillow made with Fairfield insert and "French Label Grain Sack Inspired" fabric from Spoonflower.



Flip your pillow over, and Bam!!   You have a very traditional French country design.  The contest’s theme for the month of March was “Mix and Match”, and I think my two pillows in one fit the theme rather nicely.  😀



Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -



Are you familiar with the Spoonflower website?  If you’re looking for unique, not be be found in the stores fabric, wallpaper or gift wrap, Spoonflower is the place for you!  And if you’re an artist (or know one ;), you can even make money if people select your original design for their order!   Both of these fabrics are from  Spoonflower.  Specifically “Frenchie” and “French Label Grain Sack Inspired” in fat quarters 21″ by 18″.  Besides sewing, my daughter is quite the little artist.  I’ll definitely be uploading one of her original creations to Spoonflower and ordering fabric or gift wrap.  (Nothing against all of the child’s hand and foot print gifts we’ve made over the years, but how cool would it be to give Grandma an apron or pillow made with fabric from your sweet one’s artwork?!)  Seriously, the possibilities are endless!!

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know my daughter creates the most amazing little stuffed animals and creatures.  She thought I should mention that Poly-fil is the best filler out there, and it’s the only one she’ll use.  Truth!  So thank you, Fairfield World and Spoonflower for sponsoring this month’s challenge!



Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -



But let’s not forget about the church pew’s transformation!  After a really good cleaning with TSP Substitute, I gave it two coats of a custom color I mixed up with Maison Blanche Franciscan Gray and Bayou Blue Chalk Paint.   The result  was a gorgeous gray color, but the pew was looking a little flat and too new.  After a quick sanding, I added depth to the color with a wash of Annie Sloane Old White chalk paint.  To accomplish this, I first watered down the paint.  Then working in sections, I brushed it on and wiped it off with an old sock, making sure to leave the white paint that had seeped into the cracks and indents.   As long as you’re not a person worried about perfection, it really is that simple!  😀



Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -




Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -



Are you wondering  if it was so easy, why did it take me over two years to transform my old pew??  Well, it’s new home is against my furniture “staging” wall … and it is one heavy piece of furniture!!  But that is a problem for another day.  Right now, I’m enjoying my pretty pew and pillows, which are the very first thing I see when I open up my front door!



Painted church pew and grainsack stripe pillows; March FFFC -



To see all of the entries in this month’s Fab Furniture Flippin’ contest, head over to 58th Water Street or Ciburbanity.  (The contest is ongoing, so keep checking back during the month of March for even more inspiration!) If you are a blogger who thinks flipping furniture is as much fun as I do, please send an email to for information about joining the group!  Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Take care, Cynthia





This is where I typically party:

Dwellings-The Heart of Your HomeCelebrate and DecorateBetween Naps on the PorchCoastal CharmHome Stories A to ZConfessions of a Plate AddictThrifty Décor Chick …  … Elizabeth and Co. … My Repurposed LifeLehman LaneSavvy Southern StyleEmbracing ChangeCharm Bracelet DivaAverage InspiredSeeking Lavender LaneFrench Country CottageThe Painted DrawerThe Curator’s Collection Funky Junk Interiors Vintage Paint and More … … What Treasures Await


Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home

For your convenience, I have linked to some of the products used to complete this makeover.  If a purchase is made, it is possible I may receive a small commission, but it will not affect your purchase price.  Just sharing products I actually use and like.  😀

43 Responses

  1. Who knew a church pew could look so pretty – lov’n the color Cynthia! Lov’n the French goodness too.

    • Thanks, Marie! The pew didn’t have great architectural details, and it was just crying out for paint. Thanks for stopping by today! Cynthia

  2. This church pew is awesome! I’ve always wanted to get my hands on one,I’m so jealous! Also love the pillows, you are too funny. I personally like the little bulldogs, and as yous aid, they ARE French lol

    • Hi Kathleen! Can you believe it was a garage sale find?! Nobody wanted it because it was so heavy, but fortunately I have a teenage son who could help with the lifting. 😀 You’re always so supportive, and it’s appreciated. Take care, Cynthia

  3. Cynthia! Your church pew is gorgeous! The color is so pretty and your pillows are perfect on it. You are so lucky to be welcomed home each day by this piece! I hope you have a great week!

    The Curator’s Collection & Making Broken Beautiful

    • Thank you, Terry. You’re always so sweet. I’m loving it as well, but now I have to find another “staging” wall. Haha “See” you Thursday! 😀

  4. So cute! I love the transformation of the pew with that fabulous paint job. I am getting ready to begin my first painting projects ever and I am a little nervous about it. The way you used the drop cloth material for those pillows! So creative to paint those thin lines on it to create the fabulous look. I am pinning this and hoping I can make an old armoire look this good! Thanks for sharing over at Celebrate Your Story! It is always fun to see what you have been up to!

    • Thanks so much, Chloe. Feel free to email me if you have any questions … always happy to assist! 😀 Take care, Cynthia

  5. Church pews are the best, love this one and the addition of the pillows makes it perfect! Thanks for linking up to The Talk of the Town party!

    • Thank you, Becky. The pillows are cute, aren’t they? 😀 Thanks so much for hosting! Take care, Cynthia

  6. Church pews have my heart. I’ve had a few in my day. I just love them. Yours looks great. Thanks for linking up to the talk of the town party.

    • Thanks, Rachel. I love them, as well. I never would paint an old, dark one with architectural details, but this one really needed some paint to shine. And THANK YOU for hosting! 😀 Cynthia

  7. Oh my gosh! I love this!! The pew is gorgeous, and that French bulldog pillow is amazing! You did an amazing job, Cynthia!

    • Thanks so much, Bre! Thanks also for being such a gracious host each week! Take care, Cynthia

  8. I want a church pew! This is beautiful—and I would totally choose the bulldog side of the pillow. That is way too cute!

    • Thank you, Courtney! And I’m with you … I much prefer the bulldogs! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment today! Cynthia

  9. Love the colour and the accesories you have added – looks fab!

    • Thank you, Sam! I see you live in Holland. I’ll check out your site — we’re traveling to Amsterdam this summer and I’m so excited. Thanks for taking the time to comment today. Take care, Cynthia

  10. What a welcoming vignette! Your church pew is the perfect size. Most of the ones I’ve seen are too big to go anywhere in a house (unless your hall was 30 feet long). And the pillows are super!

    I co-host a linky party on Sundays (starting at 4 PMEastern) called Dishing It & Digging It. Would love for you to share your project with us!

    • Thanks, Heather. This pew actually came out of a military base chapel, which may count for it’s smaller size. I definitely consider it one of my favorite garage sale scores!
      Also, thank you for the invite … I’ll try my best to stop by this afternoon. Take care, Cynthia

  11. So pretty and I do love the color!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

    • Thank you, Cindy! Your party is one of my favorites…wish I had a new project today to share! Happy Spring! Cynthia

  12. I’ve been on the hunt for a church pew for forever… still looking. Love the subtle layering of your mixed colors. And the styling you did with the pillows and artwork is just darling! Don’t you love the FFFC! Thanks for sharing on Friday’s Furniture Fix. :o)

    • Hi Lucy! This is my first time competing in the FFFC, but I have the utmost respect for the creators. It seems like a really great, supportive group. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with! Take care, Cynthia

  13. Cynthia,

    I have one I need to paint…. but I don’t think that my family would want me to paint it. I think I just will be repairing it and refinishing it.
    your pew looks beautiful!


    • Thanks, Gail! My pew came from a military base chapel, which is why it was on the plain side. If I can ever get my hands on an old dark one from an actual church, I’ll snap it right up — and would never paint it. But I’m loving this one painted. Thanks for stopping by today! Cynthia

  14. Love the pillows and the painted stripe! And let me tell you, if you had that church pew up in my antique mall it would have sold a million times . . . Every day someone comes in asking for a church pew 🙂

    • Awwww, thanks, Melanie. I’m definitely keeping this one! Thanks for stopping by today! Cynthia

  15. The pew looks awesome Cynthia! I have always wanted one for my dining room:). Just for the record they still teach sewing to kids. My boys just recently made pillow cases at school. Have a great rest of your week and take care, Tara

    • Thanks, Tara! Glad to read they still teach sewing in some schools… Put that boy to work! LOL Thanks for stopping by today, Tara!

  16. what a a great transformation! the colors are great and I love your pillows! Yeah to your entry!

    • Thanks, Darrielle! Looking forward to seeing your project! Thanks for taking the time to comment today. 😀 Cynthia

  17. […] from Clockwork Interiors shared her church pew.  Can you believe she has had this beauty in her garage for 2 years before […]

  18. Beautiful bench, I love love love the colour choice and the cushions are so cute too! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Evija. Looking forward to seeing your project! TAke care, Cynthia

  19. Hey Cynthia, this really turned out SO well! It is so pretty and just quite the transformation! I’m finally joining the Flippin Contest for next month – it seems confusing but I shall muddle through 🙂 Happy Easter!

    • Thanks, Suzanne! You always make whitewashing look so easy, I thought I would give it a go. Happy EAster to you, as well! Cynthia

  20. Cynthia, this makeover is stunning! I love the color you chose, the fabric for the pillows, the grainsack inspired stripes, I love it all! Finding an old church pew is on my bucket list 🙂 Now that I see yours I want one even more. Hugs, CoCo

    • Awwwww, you’re so sweet CoCo. I hope you find your church pew! Take care, Cynthia

  21. I would love to have a church pew sometime! Of course, I would have to have a place to put it!! And the French Bulldogs are adorable!!!

    • Cynthia

      Thank you, Pamela! And thanks so much for stopping by today! Cynthia

  22. This is gorgeous!! Definitely a great entry piece!

    Thanks for linking up with Welcome Home Wednesdays! Live every Wednesday at 7AM CT.

    liz @ j for joiner

    • Cynthia

      Thanks so much for hosting, Liz, and for stopping by today!

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