Don’t be scared to re-upholster! It’s a fun project and you can always practice on an old chair you found in the dumpster like me!
This is my first attempt at re-upholstering a chair and I had so much fun! It was so easy I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to share some recycling, re-using and re-upholstering tricks with you!
First of all I found this chair one day sitting outside the dumpster waiting for a new home and I was stoked! What a perfect opportunity to save something from the landfill and practice my amateur upholstery skills with very little investment!
The tools I used for this project were:
·About 2 yards of fabric (I probably could have gotten away with less but since it was my first go I thought I would play it safe)
I love the Retro Ruby Star Rising View Finder Reels in Natural Cotton Linen Fabric by Melody Miller for KOKKA
·A lightweight upholstery staple gun
which I found at Home Depot
·High temperature glue and glue gun
·Sand paper and spray paint
·Pattern Paper (optional)
The first step is to take apart the chair. I decided to recycle all the cushioning and padding in the chair so it’s was important to do this carefully. I just took the back end of the hammer and gently pulled out the staples. It is also very important at this step to pay close attention to how the chair is supposed to be assembled. All chairs are different but it is like taking apart a puzzle and putting it back together again!
Once you’ve taken all the fabric off, clean the chair up as well as you can. If you decide you want to spray paint it I highly recommend sanding it down with a medium grit sandpaper. This gets all the old residue off the chair and creates a texture for the paint to hold on to.
After you painted the chair you are ready to start putting fabric on it! I made a pattern two ways, I used the old pieces of fabric off the chair to create a pattern, but some of them were really beat up, so I also used pattern paper to create the shape I needed on the chair.
I just laid out all the old pieces and made sure I had everything cut out correctly and all the pieces I needed. I highly recommend using the old fabric as a patterns for the cushion part of the chair. For my chair this ended up being the one section I actually had to sew.
Because of the nature of lightweight canvas, I was worried about how the chair would stand up to lots of wear and tear. To help with this I made a 5/8”
Everything else on the chair was shaped using the staple gun. Step by step I put the chair back the same way I had taken it apart.
First I stapled down the parts you would see from the back. The easiest way to do this is to follow the old staple lines. Work from the top to the bottom applying a mild amounts of pressure on the fabric to make sure it is tightly stapled to the chair with no wrinkles or loose saggy parts.
Next I inserted the old foam (yay for recycling!). This is where you could do things a little differently if you decided but here is how I did it; In order to not have any raw edges I simply stapled the top of the fabric wrong side up, and folded it down.
I simply tucked the access on the side to the inside and stapled it because I planned on putting welting over the staples as a final step. I then pulled it taught and stapled the bottom and it turned out like this.
The cushion was surprisingly the easiest part! I just sewed it together exactly how the old one was and stapled it around the board. You can see in this picture how this chair has been re-upholstered before right over the original fabric! I decided not to do this because the fabric was so gross and dirty but you certainly could with yours!
I decided to do the welting as the last step to cover up any mistakes I made along the way. If I was feeling confident I could have stapled it on with the rest of the fabric to the chair.
What I did was cut a 2.25” strip long enough to go around all the edges of the chair. I sewed it half lengthwise, wrong sides together and feed the welting through using a safety pin. Then, using the extra hot glue gun I simply glued it on to the chair! It was so easy you just have to make sure you don’t see the selvage of the trim and you apply plenty of glue to have a strong hold!
Put the bottom seat on ( I had to screw it on so it didn’t flop around) and voila! You have a gorgeous one of a kind chair that fits your style and budget!
Come see the chair in person at the store!
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