Spring means graduation is just around the corner, so here’s a great gift idea for that soon-to-be graduate or any alumni, Fraternity or Sorority member.  Turn a piece of furniture into a fan favorite by painting it in school colors and adding the institution’s logos.  Your unique and special transformation will certainly receive many cheers!

Ability level:  Moderate
Age Level:  Teens and adults

Items needed:

  1. A side chair, end table or another piece of furniture (lamps are great options, too)
  2. Spray paint
  3. Printer & paper
  4. Scissors
  5. Modge Podge
  6. Foam brush
  7. Spray on polyurethane
Time requirement: 3 hours per piece

Cost: Approximately $15 to $20

  • $5 per chair or table
  • $4 per can of spray paint
  • $5 for Modge Podge*
  • $5 for polyurethane*

*You will have lots left over for your next project!

 Step 1:  Pick a Perfect Piece

At Goodwill, treasures that are ideal for this college-themed project await you!  Any item with flat surfaces for embellishment will do.  A lonely, random chair or a generic end table will look great when revamped and will fit in any bedroom, den or office.  Based on your time and your ambition, you could use a medium-sized coffee table or dresser as both have lots of surfaces to add your school’s or Greek organization’s colors and logos.  Consider a wide-based table lamp with flat surfaces, too.

Step 2:  Preparing for Painting

Take a piece of fine sandpaper or a sandpaper block and gently buff the entire piece.  This will help to make the paint adhere well.  Wipe it down with a damp rag or paper towel to remove the dust from sanding and any dirt.

Step 3:  Spray It On

Select a color that matches the university’s or organization’s and get ready to see an immediate and fun change.  Do several light coats of paint with drying time between each one.  Also, to ensure complete and solid coverage, turn your item on its side and back to get every nook and cranny.  Allow the piece to dry overnight before the next step.

Step 4: Search On-line for Logos and Images

It truly is amazing what you can find online.  Do a quick search by entering the school’s name and the word “logo.”  Up will pop a bunch of options.  Print out a variety of them in various sizes. If the institution is nearby, you might want to check out their bookstore for decals and stickers, too.


Step 5: Cut to the Chase

Use your scissors to carefully cut out each image.


Step 6: Lay It Out

On the surface, you are going to add the images, arrange them in a way that feels balanced.  You might have to move them around until it feels just right.  Also, don’t limit yourself to just the seat or table top surface.  You can add extra visual interest by adding images to the sides, chair back or to the legs.  Take a pic of the layout if that helps then remove the items.

Step 7: Modge Podge Makes It Happen

Add a thin layer of Modge Podge with a foam brush to the surface where your cut out will go.  Add a thin layer to the back of your cut out, then flip it over and put it in place. Add another thin layer on top. You will want to use your fingers to remove any air bubbles and to ensure all edges adhere tightly.  You may want to add another very thin layer all over the piece.  Let your piece dry overnight.

Step 8: Poly on Protection

When your piece is completely dried, take a can of polyurethane and spray on a thin layer covering your entire piece.  Give time for this layer to dry then add one or two more coats.  This will allow your wonderfully transformed piece to be protected from water, dirt, and dust.  You too will be cheering when you see how easy this project is AND how thrilled your grad will be to receive it, use it, and show his or her school spirit with it.

What gift ideas have you created for a graduate or alumni?