Re-upholstery: Chair Time

Along with the project of refreshing/remodeling the bathroom, I began to reupholster this antique chair.

IMG_6930I thought it was an antique. It is not. It is in an antique style, Louis XVI, I believe. Which is fine, except it is really difficult to take the staples out of furniture which so obviously used a power tool to shoot the staples into the wood.

I thought the wood was beautiful, sturdy and in good shape. But oy vay, that aged gold fabric!


IMG_6931I know piping is fancy, so double piping must be double fancy, but I didn’t love the way it looked on this particular piece.

IMG_6936But tufting, now that’s fancy.

IMG_6937The long process involved removing the staples. When you upholster, you go through the fabric and remove what you can, piece by piece. You then use the old fabric as a pattern for the new. Next, reattach in the reverse order. All you really need are needle nose pliers, a hammer and a stapler (and patience and hands of steel for this project).

The glue with which the piping was attached was beastly, as were those staples (can I say that enough times?).

It took me weeks to remove the fabric, probably because I completed four projects before finishing that first step. The staples, again…so terrible. Procrastination…worse.

But it paid off! When all was removed I began the super quick process of cutting and attaching the new fabric. Compared to the days and days it took to remove, this took me just a few hours.

IMG_6956For the first time I used an upholstery stapler. It hooks up to an air compressor. Following the recommendation of another blogger, I purchased the Porter Cable 5/8″ Upholstery Stapler. All this time I had been using a manual stapler. Madness! Thrill of life finishing this so fast.

IMG_7202I have only done tufting once before and it did not go well. On this piece, the upholstery buttons were a prong-back button that can be pushed through the fabric and foam, then butterflied to stay in place. The foam was also cut specifically for tufting, with grooves for all the holes. This was much easier. But the buttons…

I did not want to simply throw out these new buttons. I did not want to add to the cost of this project ($7 chair). I tried a few things, then my husband said, jokingly, “why don’t you just paint them?” A joke, he thinks, but it was brilliant!

I used a black paint pen which can be used on fabric. After the buttons were in place, they needed some touch up. I didn’t let it set long enough, I think.

IMG_7201I felt justified with the trim I chose to use instead of piping. I feel it went better with the ornate details of the chair, which I wanted to bring out subtly. See, ornate details…

IMG_7207Beautiful trim…

IMG_7209Project complete.

IMG_7205Well, nearly, I still have the seat cushion but I’m waiting on the foam. Did you know you can buy 6 feet of 3″ foam from Home Depot for $25! I have a hard time imagining my upholstery lasting 100 years (I mean it could, I just can’t imagine it), so I’m okay with purchasing lower end foam.

It felt so good to do some real upholstery again. Next time I plan to buy a staple remover (no more itsy bitsy needle nose pliers). If I didn’t have children and could use their rooms for projects I’d be purchasing all over the place, and hopefully selling as well.

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