The chairs are done! Finally! Here are the final steps to finishing up the living room chair upholstery and here’s what I used:
- Staple gun (Manual Staple Gun or Pneumatic Staple Gun)
- Fabric (Linked Navy Blue)
- FireLine Beading Thread
- Upholstery Button Kit
- Rubber Mallet
- Glue Gun and Glue Gun Sticks
- Pre-made cording/trim or ~20 yards of 6/32 welt cording
- Optional: Sewing machine and zipper foot
- Optional: Thread
I started by making the upholstery buttons to make the tufts for the chair back. I bought an upholstery button kit online which comes with all the parts you need except for fabric and a rubber mallet.
I cut out a small square of fabric with about 1/4″ wider than the tuft button size. I flipped the fabric wrong side up and wrapped it around the aluminum tuft button piece and tucked the excess fabric into the center. Then, I took the whole thing and shoved it into the rubber circle thing (technical parts).
Next, I placed the flat piece of aluminum (hook side up) on top, followed by the blue circle thing (again, very technical). I held the rubber piece with a pair of pliers (I’ve smashed my fingers with the mallet more than once so this is for the safety of my fingers) and hammered it with a rubber mallet. I use a rubber mallet because I don’t want to mess up or dent any of the pieces.
Once the flat piece was smashed into place to hold down the fabric, I just popped it out of the rubber piece. Tah dah! One button down, 9 more to go (for just one chair).
Nine more buttons later, I was ready to attach the buttons. I started by cutting out a piece of fabric a few inches larger than the original fabric. and laid the old foam on top of it.
I took a pen (dark blue) and started smashing it in the tufting holes where the previous tufts were to mark where to place the stitches. I used dark blue so you can’t see it as much on the other side. I think you can use fabric marking pens, but I don’t have any.
I started attaching the buttons by sewing the button to the fabric where I marked the original tufts and weaving the thread around the brown cards left from the original tufting. I’m sure there is special tufting thread, but I just used FireLine beading thread from some jewelry making projects. That stuff is pretty sturdy so that’s what I went with.
One day I’m going to find a better way to do this if I ever decide to do tufting again. This did quite a number on my hands. The original tufts used brads instead of a loop, but I couldn’t find any online.
Once the tufting was done, I put the original padding back over the foam and started attaching the fabric to the chair.
I used the same method of attaching one staple on each of the four sides of the fabric to start. After anchoring the fabric, I placed staples all around the edges of the chair, making sure to place the staples into the channel of the chair back where the cording goes. After attaching the fabric, I trimmed all the excess fabric around the edges.
Next up, cording. This step is optional. You can purchase pre-made cording from Jo-Ann’s Fabric instead.
I wanted the cording to match the fabric exactly, so I opted to make my own cording. I cut strips of fabric 1″ wide, wrapped it around the cording, and sewed the cording into the fabric using a zipper foot. The zipper foot holds the two pieces of fabric together while stitching right up against the cord to get a tight wrapping around the cording. This thing is amazing and keeps people wondering how the heck you did it when its actually super easy.
After sewing enough cording to wrap around the chair, I trimmed the excess fabric along the seam leaving about 1/8″.
Next, I got out my glue gun and glue sticks and started to attach it to the chair. I squeezed the glue into the channel and shoved the cording in, stitched side down. I used a screwdriver to shove the cording into the channel where needed to get an even long around the border of the chair.
After I attached all the cording, I put the seat cushion back on to the chair and attached it with the original screws. Another chair later, I was done!