Monday, April 9, 2012

Reupholstering a Chair

I have reupholstered this chair. I found it at the local thrift store. When I saw it, I almost passed by it because it was just a boring blue fabric but when I took a closer look, I noticed it had a really simple frame that gave a retro modern style. When you buy a second hand chair, make sure to check that all the joints are solid, i.e. that the wood is not split at any joints, that they are not wobbly, and that they come firmly together. Also, you want to make sure that the cushions are in good condition. You can replace them but in order to give it a more professional look, you want to use the originals.

Supplies you will need:
  • Staple Gun
  • Quilt Batting
  • Fabric
  • Metal Upholstery Buttons (make sure kit if you have never bought these)
  • Power Drill
  • Decorative Upholstery Tacks (If back of chair shows)
  • Spray Adhesive & Fabric Glue
  • Screw Driver (flat head or Phillips)
  • Rubber Mallet

1. First, I removed the seat from the frame. This particular chair had four screws holding the seat on and three holding the back on. The seat cushion and the back cushion on this chair were connected. This made it easier to reassemble in the end. Do not throw out the fabric or the cheesecloth (if applicable) because you will use it as a pattern.

2. After I removed the fabric I used the pieces as a pattern for the new fabric. This chair has three upholstery buttons on it. This helps give the chair some shape once it is fully upholstered. I used the previous back cushion fabric as a guide in marking the location on my new fabric for the buttons. You can use a fabric pencil or a regular ball point pen to do this. Repeat steps for the back for re-attaching the chair to the frame.

3. Once I had the pieces cut out, I began attaching them to the chair. I laid the batting out smoothly over the foam cushion. I attached the batting to the chair. Using the manual staple gun took some getting used to. There is a tension adjuster on it. I tightened the tension all the way and tested an area that was hidden to see how far it would go into the wood. The harder the wood, the stronger the tension you will need.

4. I Covered the upholstery buttons in a matching fabric. There will be instructions on the the packaging. Then I threaded some strong twine through the whole in the button.

5. The fabric is the next step. I started with the seat back because that was easiest for me. Again you want to make sure to lay the fabric out smoothly. I stapled one complete side and then did the opposite, smoothing after each side and then did the same for the seat cushion.

6. Once the back cushion was upholstered, I took a power drill, with the drill bit already in motion, I drilled three holes in the areas I marked previously. Make sure to have the drill going before you touch it to the fabric. If you do not, the fabric will just get caught on the drill head and rip. I took an embroidery needle and threaded the twine, attached to the button, and then pulled the twine through the drill holes. I took the staple gun and in a zig zag pattern, stapled the twine to the back of the chair. Repeat process for other buttons.

7. Once I had the seat and the seat back covered, I began ironing the edges of the back of the seat back fabric. To make a good line, you will want to use steam. Once those were folded, I just used fabric glue, you can use any brand of your choosing, and then followed the fold. Once that was dry, I attached the fabric and the batting together with spray adhesive. I used this on only the back of the seat back so that when I was attaching it later, the two pieces wouldn't slip around.

8. I used the spay adhesive to attach the batting and fabric to the back of the chair to hold it in place while I attached the decorative upholstery nails. Once the glue was tacky and holding the fabric in place I used a ruler and marked the areas I wanted to use the nails in. I chose to space mine because I liked the look better. You can always use them all the way around. I took the drill, using a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the nail, and drilled holes through the wood and fabric. Again make sure the drill is going and in full speed before you touch it to the fabric. You will want to make these starter holes because the decorative nail heads are weaker than regular ones and you can break them too easily. Once I had drilled starter holes for all of the upholstery tacks, I can began hammering them in.

9. Once the nails were in place I drilled the holes in the back for the screws to go through and then attached the chair to the frame.

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