Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Crafting with Kristin - How to Reupholster a Wooden Chair

So, R. and I finished this project in a day last summer, and then I never actually posted about it. It was super easy. (So easy, in fact, that it allowed time for us to get into a fight about which fabrics we wanted to use AND a separate fight about using nails versus going to buy an industrial stapler, and still finish two chairs in a single day.) It's a great way to make an heirloom or just older piece of furniture look new again.

We used two chairs that my grandmother had in her house, which I actually remember her reupholstering from the dark green oil cloth they (originally?) had to a rose-print canvas that was more her style. The rose-print was pretty faded by the time the chairs made their way to our apartment, so we decided to cover them in wax fabric and Yinka things up a little between the new wax fabric and the old-fashioned style of the chairs.


If you'd like to do it yourself on a wooden chair of your own, here are some basic directions. (For more detail, you could check out this link, although honestly, if we could figure it out on our own, so can you.)

Carefully unscrew the seat from the rest of the chair.


Then, carefully remove the fabric from the cushion. (Or don't. My grandmother went right over that 1960s green oil cloth and it worked out just fine for another 25 years.) Ours was attached with nails previously, so we used a hammer to get them out, but for staples, you can use a flat head screwdriver instead.


Now's your chance to really clean up that chair. If you're planning to re-stain it or paint it, gently sand off the current finish and then go at it, making sure you leave ample time for it to dry. If you're relatively happy with the current state, you can give it a good cleaning with Pledge or use Old English Scratch Cover, a miracle item that has made a ton of our hand-me-down furniture look really good.


Hopefully you've already got fabric in mind. Using the old fabric as a stencil, cut out the right size for your stool. You'll also likely want to replace the padding that was in there before. (Or don't. As I said, my grandmother went right over the previous fabric. We were worried about it getting a little pungent, though, so we opted to replace the padding that was there with new quilting filler from my previous summer craft project.)


Staple it on as tightly as you can. You really want it to be taught, top and bottom, so it's especially helpful to have two sets of hands here. And, you also really want to staple it with an industrial stapler. I tried just to nail the old nails in, and it was faster to go to Home Depot, buy the stapler, come back, and use it than it would have been to keep trying with those dumb nails. Plus, it was only $10 and after this, you'll be a pro and want to reupholster everything you own!


Et voila! The chairs turned out beautifully and really brighten up our home, especially when we use them to seat extra guests.

Have you done any little home improvement projects lately?

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