Enter unbleached (6'x9') canvas paint drop cloth from Home Depot for $12 and a roll of freezer paper (thanks to my friend, Sue.)
I spent some time deciding exactly how I wanted to redo those trite formal dining room chairs and played with designs on Sure Cuts A Lot 2 for my Cricut. I finally settled on a script (Lasko Condensed) "E" and Engravers MT "Established 2002". The freezer paper is so thin that even with a new blade and adjusted settings, it would occasionally tear with the blocky letters of Engravers MT font. I was determined, so I just did a few extras.
Remove the seat cushion from the chair. (Mine were attached with 4 long screws.)After cutting the freezer paper (shiny side down), I ironed it on to the "squares" of canvas (again, shiny side down) for the chairs. I used a dry round paintbrush with black acrylic paint (50-97 cents at most craft stores) to fill in the stencil taking care not to saturate the paper or the fabric and to leave some inconsistencies in the paint.
Peel back the freezer paper, center the fabric on the chair cushion (already unscrewed them from the chair), and use a staple gun on the underside to keep the fabric taut on the chair cushion. Start with one staple in the middle of the back or front edge of the cushion. Then do one on the opposite edge. Pull the fabric taut as you go, and add 2 more to the outside corners of those 2 edges. Fill in the "empty space" of those edges with more staples as required. Then, do the other two opposing edges in the same manner. Depending on the cushion shape, the corners can be folded or just pulled until smooth.
I had so much leftover fabric after covering my 6 dining room chairs that I decided to make some placemats. I used existing placemats as my template. They are 18" wide rectangles. I used the script "E" on 3 of them, but I didn't want them to all be too "matchy matchy." (My husband came in as I was thinking through this outloud, and he said, "Even *I* know that we don't want 'too matchy matchy'." Lovely, I've created a monster.) I wanted something a little less formal, but that could still be "fancy" enough for our (more casual) formal dining room. I found an image of a place setting that was almost perfect. I altered it some in Sure Cuts A Lot 2 and played with it some on the Cricut until I had forks, knives, and spoons that I loved. Now, the remaining 3 placemats have a formal place setting with 3 forks, 3 spoons, and 2 knives stenciled on (using the freezer paper and black acrylic paint.)
I *STILL* have fabric left from that original 6'x9' drop cloth. I'm considering some napkins. I didn't cut it in such a way that I could do a runner. This project has given me inspiration for several other "someday" projects. For now, I'm THRILLED with the 6 reupholstered chairs and 6 placemats that cost less than $15 to make! (Actually, I think I will make some placemats for Sue since she did bring freezer paper to me to start this madness!)