Archive of ‘Upholstery’ category

Reupholstered Living Room Chair: Upholstery Part 2

Reupholstered Living Room Chair Reuphostery Part 2_social

The chairs are done! Finally! Here are the final steps to finishing up the living room chair upholstery and here’s what I used:

  1. Staple gun (Manual Staple Gun or Pneumatic Staple Gun)
  2. Staples
  3. Fabric (Linked Navy Blue)
  4. Scissors
  5. Pen
  6. FireLine Beading Thread
  7. Upholstery Button Kit
  8. Rubber Mallet
  9. Glue Gun and Glue Gun Sticks
  10. Pre-made cording/trim or ~20 yards of 6/32 welt cording
  11. Optional: Sewing machine and zipper foot
  12. 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.

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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Once the tufting was done, I put the original padding back over the foam and started attaching the fabric to the chair.

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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.

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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.

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After sewing enough cording to wrap around the chair, I trimmed the excess fabric along the seam leaving about 1/8″.

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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.

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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!

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Reupholstered Living Room Chair: Upholstery Part 1

Reupholstered Living Room Chair Reupholstery Part 1_social

The living room chair is finally ready to move on the upholstery part of this project! I ordered my fabric from from fabric.com awhile ago based on the measurements I took from the pieces of fabric I pulled off the chair. Here’s what I used for this first part of the upholstery process:

  1. Staple gun (Manual Staple Gun or Pneumatic Staple Gun)
  2. Staples
  3. Fabric (Linked Navy Blue)
  4. Scissors
  5. Upholstery Foam

I started by measuring out the pieces of fabric I needed based on the fabric I pulled off the chair. I used this as a guide and add an extra 2-3 inches around the sides just to be on the safe side. I started with the fabric that lines the back of the chair here. I also measured out fabric to cover the seat cushion (not pictured).

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Next, I set up my air compressor and pneumatic staple gun. I LOVE my staple gun. A manual staple gun will work, but after a few upholstery projects I switched to a pneumatic one which is much easier to use. I bought the compressor and staple gun from Amazon and the connector cord from Home Depot (see supplies for links).

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Next, I folded the fabric in half to center it across the back of the chair.

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Once I placed the fabric, I stapled 4 staples at the center of each of the edges, making sure the pull the fabric taught. I push down on the tip of the stapler, then pull the trigger. Stapling in the center of each side helps center the fabric and makes sure the fabric doesn’t pull all over the place as you’re stapling around the edges. I placed the staples just inside the channel because the actual back cushion will be stapled to the chair inside the channel. I avoid stapling in the same area twice because I don’t want to accidentally hit another staple.

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After I centered the fabric, I stapled along the edges about 1/2″ to 3/4″ apart, then cut the excess fabric off along the edges. I left about 1/4″ of fabric around the sides.

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Tip: Using a geometric fabric provides a guide for straightening out the fabric. It takes a little more attention to keep it straight. If you don’t want to worry about this, use a floral or abstract pattern without a clear grid.

My chair had two seat pieces: the chair bottom screwed to the bottom of the chair and a cushion that laid on top of that. I thought about covering these separately which would require me to cover the bottom of the chair, and sew a cushion cover as well. Instead, I opted to cover the two pieces together and skip the sewing (which looked a little daunting). This also saved me from having to remove all the fabric around the two pieces as well. I love a good shortcut.

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I started by cutting out a piece of fabric large enough to cover both pieces and centered the two seat pieces in the center top side down.

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Next, I stapled wrapped the fabric around and placed a staple at the center of each edge. Again, this is to make sure the fabric stays straight and doesn’t move off center during the stapling process.

Since I was putting two pieces together, there was a gap in the front corners of the seat. I took some old scrap upholstery foam cushion to fill in the empty space, making sure the seat cushion looked filled out after the new fabric was wrapped around. You can also use pillow stuffing for this as well. The foam is just what I had on hand.

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Tip: Since I used a piece of foam, I tapered the edges by cutting the edges at an angle so it would lay smoothly and transition into the sides of the seat cushion.

Next, I stapled around front of the seat cushion, leaving about 3-4 inches from the corners. In order to get a clean corner, I folded the fabric to create a clean edge. This is what I call the hospital corners method (or how you tuck a flat sheet when you make a bed) and stapled the fabric to the back.

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I repeated the same process for the other corner and continued stapling around the sides.

My chair seat rounded in the back and started to pucker as I was moving towards the back, so instead of forcing it to wrap around (which can turn out super ugly), I made two intentional folds in the back to help the fabric lay flat. By doing this, I was able to make the fabric lay flat and have symmetrical folds on both sides of the chair.

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After making the folds, I was able to finish stapling all the way around the seat.

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The chair is really starting to come together! Keep following this series to see how I finish up the upholstery with tufted buttons and cording!

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Reupholstered Living Room Chair: Sand and Paint

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The chair rehab continues. After ripping off all the old caning and fabric from the chair, the frame was ready to be sanded and painted. Here’s what I used:

  1. 220 Grit Sand Paper
  2. Pair of old socks
  3. Optional: Gloves
  4. Disposable Rubber Gloves and/or Paint Brush or Sponge Brush
  5. Wood stain (Sunbleached)
  6. Drop Cloth/ Parchment Paper

I bought some 220 grit sand paper to scuff up the surface of the wood. Doing this helps the paint/stain adhere better. I selected 220 because its rough enough to take off the shiney layer of paint on the wood, but fine enough where it won’t leave scratch marks all over the wood.

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I prefer to use sheets of sandpaper instead of sanding blocks because I can fold, twist, and rip it into whatever shape I want. I divided the sheet into 6 equal pieces that were more manageable to work with (cut once lengthwise and cut each strip into thirds).

I also put on some work gloves to protect my hands in the process. This is optional but recommended (especially if you’ve just done your nails). I took one small sheet and got to work sanding the entire wood frame. To get into the detailed groves, I folded the sheet and worked it into all the nooks and crannies.

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Once I was finished, there was a ton of sanding dust all over the chair, but it helped me keep track of what I had and hadn’t sanded.

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If you’ve read my other reupholstery posts, this next step will look familiar. I use my husband’s sock turned inside out to clean up the sanding debris left on the chair. I put my hand in the sock, run it under some water so its damp (not soaked), and start running my hand all over the chair. The nappy texture of the sock picks up all the debris and holds it on the fabric.

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After doing this once with the first sock, I repeated the process with another sock to pick up anything left. This is to make sure that the surface is super clean for staining or painting.

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Here’s all the stuff the sock cleaning process picked up.

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Now the chair was ready for stain. I used a stain in the color Sunbleached. I used a coffee stir stick to mix up the paint. A bunch of the color tends to settle at the bottom of the can so make scrape all that up off the bottom and mix it into the stain.

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Normally I’d use a brush to apply this, but my brush was left over from a previous painting project. I didn’t rinse it out so it was super crusty and not spongy. I tried to work with it anyway, but it was leaving sponge particles all over the wood. So I decided to use my hand (covered in a glove). It actually worked out better than using a brush.

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I dipped my hand into the can and slathered it on the wood with my finger tips. I made sure to paint in the direction of the grain to make sure it didn’t look like a three-year-old finger painted it. Here’s what it looked like after one coat.

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Not bad for stain applied with my fingers. I let it dry for about 10 min before going back and applying a second coat.

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I let this dry outside for the rest of the day. Check back in for my next post on the chair’s new upholstery!

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