Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to Reupholster a Chair

I want to create a game table area in my basement.  I am on the hunt for two chairs that I can completely transform for this area.   About a year ago I made my first Craigslist purchase.  It was a great chair that needed an update.   I transformed it using chalk paint and a drop cloth.  Reupholstering is a little time consuming, but not really hard.   Here is the full tutorial. 

My first chalk paint project is finished.  I am very happy with the results.  This project started with an awesome Craigslist purchase.   $20 - what a deal!
photo from Craigslist
The chair had some great bones.  I started this project by stripping the chair of all fabric.  It wasn't had nailhead trim all over it.

It was at this point that the fun began.  I had ordered Anne Sloan's chalk paint from Robyn Story Designs, a retailer in Florida.  They were awesome to deal with...I ordered late on a Friday afternoon and received my Anne Sloan paint, waxes and brushes by Wednesday morning. Don't you just love instant gratification?  If you are in the market for chalk paint, you should call Robyn Story Designs...they have inventory of Anne Sloan paint and waxes and are so helpful on the phone.
I started by painting the chair a combination of Duck Egg Blue with highlights of Old White.
After painting the entire chair, I used the clear wax.  I had ordered the wax brush, but because this chair had so much detail, I found it easier to use a rag to apply the wax.  I will use the wax brush on my next project.

You can see in the above photo that when you first apply the clear wax it slightly darkens the paint color.  However, once it dries, it lightens up again.
I tried to get a close up of what it looked like when I went to sand it to start distressing.  I think this is where you can really see the benefit of chalk paint vs. latex.  You know when you go to distress latex how sometimes it doesn't evenly sand off...or it will peel?  That doesn't happen with chalk paint.  It's super easy to distress and even easier to control how much you want distressed.  One tip...definitely wear a mask when you sand.  There is definitely more dust that with latex (however, less after waxing than before...I had sanded some before and then it's like clapping erasers together).
I also ordered the dark wax.  I used this extremely sparingly.  I again used a rag, dipped it in the wax and then wiped off most on a paper towel before applying it to my chair.  I just wanted to give some dimension to the detail...not totally change the color.
I had saved all the pieces from when I took off the original upholstery.  Makes it very easy to use it as a pattern.  I used foam I had for the under cushion.
Using my electric bread knife, I cut the foam to size easily.
I used a drop cloth I purchased from Home Depot as my fabric.  I cut a piece a little larger than I needed and laid it over the seat.
  Using the air compressor staple gun I got for Christmas...

I started stapling...
...and stapling.
Once it was stapled all around, I cut away the excess fabric.
I then cut out the fabric for the arms and the back and front.  I added foam and then stapled it all around.
Again, I cut away the fabric.  It doesn't have to be perfect...the trim will cover all of the staples.
For the back I started by stapling the fabric from the front.  I cut away all the excess.
I then added a piece of batting.
Then I added the cardboard (I used the same piece I had was still in good shape), then the foam, more batting and then the top fabric.  Yeah...this part wasn't so easy.  With that many layers it was hard to get it all to line up.  However, after I got a few staples in, I was home free.
It was now time for the trim.  I bought the trim from JoAnn's for $0.99/yard and then someone handed me a 10% off coupon when I was checking out, so I only paid $0.89/yard.  I bought eight yards ( I had about a yard left, but my rule of thumb is to always buy more than less...nothing is worse than having to go back out when you are in the middle of a project).
Using my hot glue gun and my scissors (rather than my fingers to push it into place) I attached the trim.  If you've ever worked with hot glue you know that you can burn your fingers so easily, so I like to use my scissors...the glue peels right off the scissors.
I'd like to say I was done at this point, but I still had to make the box cushion for the seat.  Again I used the old fabric as a pattern and cut out a front and a back to the seat cushion and the side panel.  I also made cording to coordinate.
I pinned and then sewed the three layers together.
Here is the final product.  I love how it came out.
I added the pillow as a final touch.
Remember this pillow?  I made it out of two dinner napkins.  All I did to make it fit the new chair was open up the pillow, remove the insert, add a smaller insert and sew a smaller seam.  The width of the pillow stayed the same.
So what do you think of my first attempt at re-upholstery?  It's the perfect addition to my guest room.   I have to be was so much work.  It took way longer than I ever anticipated, but I love the result.  Have you reupholstered anything lately?

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Sue@Uniquely Chic said...

Wow....super job. Makes me maybe want to give it a try.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Your chair looks amazing. I love it. Hugs, Marty

Much Ado About Somethin said...

I'm so impressed! Looks fantastic!!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

You did a great job on this chair, Judy! You've given me hope that maybe I could tackle something like this. I saw a chair very similar at a thrift store this week but they wanted $50.00 for it. It even had the same fabric, so I would have to recover it. If I can talk them down to $20.00, I would buy it and give recovering it a try.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness, that is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your tutorial. Pinning for future reference. Blessings, Patti

NanaDiana said...

Judy-Holy Cow! What a great transformation and wonderful tutorial! I am impressed and you make it look SO easy. I am envious of your compression stapler though-xo Diana

Victoria's Vintage Designs said...

Looks great!

Unknown said...

SOOO easy, I think that was the easiest looking tutorial that I have seen yet. Thank you for sharing, Judy!

Gina said...

Oh Judy! That's amazing! You really did a super job!

Between Blue and Yellow said...

Really cute! It's never as hard as I think it's going to be to reupholster something.

Unknown said...

Beautiful work. I have a chair I want to do and looking at your pictures really helps me "think" that I could do that!

Unknown said...

Beautiful work. I have a chair I want to do and looking at your pictures really helps me "think" that I could do that!

Cortney said...

This looks great and I love how you went through this step by step! I've always been a little bit afraid to tackle something this large, but now I'm more than happy to give it a try!!

I would love to feature this in my DIY weekly update on my blog! Would you mind? Love the chair. You did a fantastic job!


Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Oh my goodness, I have a chair I'm wanting recovered, not sure if I'm brave enough, you've sure given me a thought that I might be able to do it. Love yours. fondly ~lynne ~

At The Picket Fence said...

FABULOUS tutorial Judy!! This is one project I've been super scared to attempt and you made it look totally do-able. Now are you going to come over to my house and do mine for me? LOL! The chair turned out just beautifully!

Lori Lehman said...

Wow great job! Turned out so pretty and what a great tutorial!! Happy Spring, Lori

Savannah Attic said...

Amazing This Chair came out so Beautiful and You would have to pay a couple thousand in Upscale Stores. But what I Loved was the New air compressed stable gun. lol Prents for You wouldn't be perfume or jewelry, it would be paint and tools !! I Love It!! I want to see More
Thank You
Lisa from Savannah Attics or I would love to ask a private message if you could please email me at Thank You Lisa

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