Thursday, July 21, 2011

DIY Reupholstery, Part 2: Rebirth

So, where were we? Oh, yeah, we've already deconstructed the Pink Chair. Now we've got to prettify it and put it back together right?

For the "rebirth" of this ugly-but-with-good-bones chair, I had to grab a few supplies--

Tools Used to Rebirth the Chair
  • Zinsser Cover Stain Primer and foam brush
  • Linen White paint by Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo
  • Walnut Stain
  • Burlap (3 yards)
  • Fabric of choice
  • Staple gun and air compressor
  • Six pack of your favorite beer 
  • Harry Potter movies 4 through 7 (yes, it took that long)

After my chair was nicely scruffed up with the sanding block, I got to work putting two coats of the primer on the bits of the chair that would not be covered by the fabric. No need to prettify what can't be seen, right? I let each coat dry for around three hours (the directions on the can said two hours would be fine, but it was hot and sticky outside so I let it sit a little long and I think I probably should have waited even longer).

After the primer was dry, I applied two coats of Benjamin Moore Linen White with a foam roller. I let each coat dry for about two hours (again, in hindsight, I should have let it dry longer).

Once the paint was dry I applied walnut stain with a foam brush and wiped it with a clean, damp cloth to get an antiquing effect. I used the method set out by Miss Mustard Seed (who is the bombdiggity, by the way). You should definitely check out her tutorial.

Then I set aside the chair in a safe place to allow it to dry overnight. Meanwhile, I took the pink fabric that I had carefully removed from the chair and I laid it out on my new fabric making sure to line up the pieces so that the pattern of the new fabric was properly centered. I then cut around the pink pattern pieces, leaving about an inch of wiggle room around the parts of the fabric that I knew would be stapled back into the chair. On the pieces that would need to be sewn together, I cut along the edge of the pattern because it already proved me the half-inch of hem that would be used when I sewed the pieces together. Does that make sense?

At this time I also cut fabric on the bias to recover the cording I had kept from the original upholstery. I then made my new cording and stuck a label on each piece so I wouldn't forget which piece went where (front or back of the chair). For a great tutorial on making cording, see this post from Miss Mustard Seed.

When I had all my pieces cut out, I sewed the pieces that needed to be sewed.

After my chair had dried overnight, I began my re-upholstery process by pretty much putting everything back on in the reverse order that I took it off. First, I replaced the batting of the seat and put the seat section back on and pulled the back of the fabric through the back of the chair.

Then I took my trusty pneumatic upholstery stapler and started stapling the edges of the fabric to the wood frame at the back and sides of the chair.

I repeated this process with the front section of the chair. After putting the batting back on and smoothing it out, I laid out my fabric and pulled the bottom of it through the bottom of the chair. I took a few stick pins and pinned the top of the fabric to the foam at the top of the chair to help me keep it in place while I pulled and tugged and shimmied to get the fabric in the right position. This took a little maneuvering but after I had it just right, I stapled the bottom of the fabric to the back and sides of the chair. Then I stapled the fabric to the front of the chair starting in the top middle and then going across left, then across right, then down left, then down right, pulling taut and making sure the fabric was even.

The next step was to put the burlap back on the back of the chair, pulling taught to keep it nice and tight.

Then I put the batting back on the back of the chair, smoothing and adjusting as necessary. Laying the chair on it's front side, I then placed the new fabric over the batting and smoothed and adjusted, making sure each edge was lining up with the edge of the chair where the staples would go. Finally, I stapled the fabric on, using the same method of middle, across left, across right, down left, down right.

Finally, when the fabric was all stapled, I trimmed the extra fabric very close to the staples in the 1/2 inch groove in the chair using tiny little annoying scissors. Then I grabbed the cording I had already made and my hot glue gun and glued the cording into the groove to cover the staple line.

And then I took a long hot shower and passed out. That was tough!

Stay tuned! I can't wait to show you Part 3: Reveal!


shelly said...

I LOVE IT! I'd love to post it when your'e finished. It's impressive that you were able to get that curved inside back pulled snugly against the padding. Inside curves are tough. Let me know if I can post it on my site
shelly leer

NatureCat said...

Freakin' Amazing! I missed out on the sewing gene. In fact, maybe I missed the larger and more important domesticity gene. But I love that you can do it all! Please come reupholster my whole house. Thanks. :)

Heather said...

I can't wait to see the reveal...I love your fabric choice.
I have no fewer than 6 major reupholstery jobs that need finishing and I am convinced that the key to success is a pneumatic staple gun. Can you tell me about yours? I am seriously jealous!!!

RhettDidntGiveADamn said...

I want to do this project so bad, but I'm so intimidated. Can't wait to see part 3!

Joy said...

Thanks, everyone!

@Heather--My pneumatic stapler is the Porter-Cable US58 1/4-Inch to 5/8-Inch 22-Gauge C-Crown Upholstery Stapler. I bought it on because it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find an upholstery stapler in a store. Of course, you'll also need an air compressor and I bought the Evolv 3 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor at Sears. Both tools are super easy to use and make projects like this SOOOO much easier!

@RhettDidntGiveADamn--I know how you feel! I was pretty intimidated too but I did a lot of research and decided to take the plunge on a very inexpensive piece of furniture so that if it turned out badly, I wasn't out too much money. I bought a book about at-home upholstery called Singer Upholstery Basics Plus and it was very helpful!

Joy said...

@Heather--By the way, you'll want to buy the staples when you order the staple gun. They are also hard to find in stores.

Kellie said...

I LOVE this fabric!!! Can you spill the source??



Joy said...

@Kellie--I got the fabric on It's a Premier Prints fabric. I believe they still have it!

Anne said...

I absolutely adore this chair, and you for tackling it! I am doing a pair of chairs right now, and have that same little annoying groove on them where the fabric was stapled, and then the cording glued on top. It has been a nightmare trying to get it all out. But what I was really wondering is if your staple gun had a special long-nose kind of tip to get the staples into the groove? I have a good electric staple gun from Sears that I've used on other smaller projects and it worked just fine but I've never had a little groove like this... it's throwing me off my game! Thanks so much...

Joy said...

Anne- I bought an upholstery staple gun on Amazon. A normal staple gun just doesn't cut it! You have to have one with the special skinny nose. Good luck!

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