Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You'd Think I'd Had Enough...

Any normal person would wait a year or two after successfully completing their first greuling reupholstery job, right? And then there's me...

Lookie what I've come home with this week:

I found two of these babies at an antique store for a third of their original price. Score! That upholstery had got to go (hello, 1985!), but I'm not sure yet whether I'll be painting the wood or not. (This girl's twin is in my bathroom being used as my vanity chair. That one's wood will likely get painted.)

Hello, gorgeous! This is Big Bertha, my new bergere chair. Don't you love her curves and her deep seat?

I like the details in the wood, too. Clearly, I'll be reupholstering her considering purple and green are a bit off in my robin's egg blue and white living room.

But she's in very good shape and I got her for a great deal off of Craigslist. The woman who sold her to me has a matching ottoman and I might just buy that off of her too. Kinda debating because it's large and I'm not sure I have the space.

Big Bertha has her share of problems, though. Check out what a bored dog did to her arms:

Yikes! Methinks I'll need to learn how to replace foam on this project!

I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. I'm not real sure why I drown myself in projects. I think it's a sickness, really.

Anyhoo, I won't be starting on these very soon. I'm still fabric hunting. Anybody have any suggestions on where to find great prices on fabric?

Monday, July 25, 2011

DIY Reupholstery, Part 3: Reveal

If you need to catch up with this project, click here for Part 1: Deconstruction, or here for Part 2: Rebirth.


I showed you how I tore apart a ghastly pink chair with good bones. Deconstruction was a BEAST! I was sore for days, but it sure was good for some free aggression therapy. And it was probably good my husband wasn't home that weekend!

Then I showed you how I painted and antiqued the wood of the chair. I think it turned out pretty good for my first try at antique finishes! And I showed you how I used the original fabric of the chair as a pattern to cut my new fabric. And I showed you how I used my handy-dandy pneumatic staple gun to reupholster the chair with the new fabric.

So what's left to show you? Oh, YEAH! The finished chair!

Without further ado, here she blows:

Ta daaaaaa! Well, whatdoya think? I think she's purty. I'm going to call her Eloise. Why? Because it's a French chair and that's a French name and it popped into my head just now.

Here are some detail shots:

And not only is she purty, she's so comfy! She's my new permanent spot in the living room. Here she is in her new home:

My little footstool is perfect for this chair too! Yay!

So there you have it! My new (old) French chair, Eloise. And in case you didn't get enough photos, here's a before and after for ya:



I'm linking to the following party(s):

The Shabby Nest


Hey, y'all!

(Did I just sound like Paula Dean just now? Sorry 'bout that. Anyhoo...)

So, I'm being featured over at Twenty-Six To Life today! Woot! Head on over there and check it out!

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!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DIY Reupholstery, Part 1: Deconstruction

Remember that one time where I came home with a $35 thrift store pink chair that my husband abhorred? Remember how I told him that it wouldn't be pink forever because I was going to reupholster it?

Well, what I failed to mention to him is that I had no idea how to reupholster a chair. Never done it before in my life. Closest I've come to re-doing a piece of furniture is when I made a slipcover that turned out pretty bad. But the only way he was going to let me keep my beloved (although atrociously pink) chair was if I followed through on my lie  claim of being able to reupholster something.

So I googled my little heart out looking for tutorials. And I bought a book. And I researched fabric and supplies. And then I bought said fabric and supplies. And then two weekends ago Lobster went out of town for the entire weekend on a business retreat and I knew it was my chance to tackle the Great Reupholstery Project of 2011. His being out of town gave me the freedom to cuss and scream and turn the living room into a craft room while watching all seven Harry Potter movies and drinking several bottles of wine and not have to 'splain nothin' to nobody.

And I'm glad he wasn't there to witness what I became during this project. I didn't shower. I hardly ate. I drank far too much. And I had several fights with the Chair, the pink fabric, old rusty staples and a pair of pliers. I may need a tetanus shot. It wasn't pretty. But, in the end, I DID IT! And I'm going to show you my process in three parts: Deconstruction, Rebirth and Reveal.

So without further ado, here is Part 1 of how I reinvented The Pink Chair:

Tools Used for Deconstruction:
  • Staple remover tool
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Flat head screwdriver (not shown)
  • A bottle of Purple Cowboy (one of my faves, you must try it)
  • Harry Potter movies 1-3

IMPORTANT NOTE: I took pictures of (almost) every step so that I could use them as a guide when I put everything back together. This process is far too complicated to just wing it! Also, I was VERY careful to preserve every piece that I took off so that I could use it as a pattern when cutting my new fabric.

I started out by flipping the chair face down and removing the black fabric covering the bottom of the chair. I started using the staple remover thingy but quickly found that a flat head screwdriver was a bit easier to use when prying the staples out. I would pull up the staples with the screwdriver about halfway and then yank them the rest of the way out with the needle nose pliers. I kept a little trash can next to me because there are a TON of staples and I knew if they ended up on the floor, my vacuum-cleaner dog would eat them.

The black fabric was a bit fragile so I ended up poking a few holes in it. Eventually, I just tore the rest of it off the chair and decided to wing that part since it wouldn't be seen by anyone anyway. After I got the damn black fabric off, I repeated the staple pull, tug, trash process on the fabric attached to the bottom of the chair.

Once the bottom was staple-free, I flipped the chair back in its rightful position and began taking the cording (or welting) off from around the finished edges of the chair. I just yanked until it came free. Very technical procedure. Anyhoo, I saved the lengths of cording and labeled them according to where they came from ("front" or "back") because I was going to take the pink fabric off the cording and re-use it.

Then I repeated the staple pull, tug, trash on the pink fabric on the front of the chair. The entire staple-pulling process took the most time out of the whole project. I swear there were at least 10,000 staples in that freakin' chair.

Anyway, once I got all the pink fabric staple-free, I carefully removed the fabric from the chair, preserving the batting underneath it as much as possible. The batting looked to be in pretty good shape (and frankly, I had no idea where to buy more cotton batting) so I carefully removed the batting from the chair, keeping it in its form, and set it aside in another room that was closed off from curious and trouble-making cats.

Once that was done, I was surpised to see that I was not the first person to reupholster this chair! Do you see all the batting stuffed into tufts in the original foam? I left those in there because I wanted to keep the chair un-tufted. I also found a piece of the original fabric. It was a lovely mustard yellow. Lobster would have loved that color even more than the pink. Ewww.

SO. I decided to also keep the original foam (again, no idea where to buy it and didn't find it necessary to replace it) but I determined that it would stay on the frame of the chair while I painted the wood. First, because I'm lazy. Second, because even if I got paint on the foam, who would ever see it? Are you with me? I may be a perfectionist, but I ain't crazy.

I took my naked chair outside and gave it a good sanding with a fine-grit sandblock. I didn't sand to take the finish off, I just wanted to rough up the wood a bit to help with paint stickage (I just made up that word). After sanding, I wiped down the wood with a clean cloth, making sure to get in all the cracks and crevices. Then I went inside to drip dry because it was a hundred and freaking eighty degrees outside at 5:00 in the afternoon.

That's just bloody ridiculous, Texas.

So, there you have it. A chair deconstructed. Stay tuned for Part 2: Rebirth and Part 3: Reveal.

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