Friday, February 5, 2016

Reupholstering an Old Chair

Antique Store Find

Time to finish up some UFP's (UnFinished Projects).

We found this somewhat dirty old chair at an antique store near Wilmington, North Carolina, way back in 2012 when we first landed in Southern Virginia. We needed another chair for our family reunion (anniversary) party that we were hosting in a few weeks, and the store gave us a real nice deal.

I had planned on reupholstering it after the party, and I did start by taking all the old fabric off.  But then, I got side-tracked with moving into this house, remodeling it, then dealing with a bout with cancerI haven't worked on it since, so its been sitting naked for years.

Although its been fun watching the cats (we had two then) try to jump onto the seat (immediately falling through), I decided it was time to finish this project. Yep, this is the year to put this chair back together. Now, if I could only remember how to reassemble it. 

Navy and White Fabric
Now, back in 2013, I had purchased some pretty teal patterned brocade for this chair, but it is too pale for the finish, so I started trying out other fabric in my stash.  That's when I tried this piece from which I had made curtains for my new kitchen.  The curtains didn't work well as a window treatment, but they do look great on this chair.  Its a navy and white cotton duck, and has a nice amount of contrast with the chair's blonde finish

The Chair Back  
Chair Back, gluing
While deconstructing this chair, there must have been 5 pounds of staples holding everything in place, each layer was stapled on creating a mess of staples...heck there's hardly any wood left along the lip of the back.  I spent several days pulling all of those @#$%^&*(&* staples out and scraping off the residual glue.  I kept the stiff non-woven backing and the foam cushions which were in pretty good condition.  All that was left to do was to replace the fabric and the double piping.  Hmmm, double piping.  Off to the hardware store to get some clothesline.  Just the right size to match the old piping. 

Chair Back, tacking piping in place

I decided to try just gluing the 3 layers of fabric and foam together, then use brads to hold all the layers in place while I place just one layer of staples around the lip of the back.

Back nearly done
The back was definitely the most challenging.  The piping wanted to twist all the time, and the small lip that everything rested on made the whole stapling process quite tedious to do.  Using the brad tacks was the key to success.

The Seat      

Seat Bottom

This part of the project was really simple because I just wrapped and then stapled the fabric around the foam-topped pressboard seat bottom.  I've yet to get to the store to pick up some more non-woven backing to cover the staples and the screw holes on the underside of the chair.  When I get it, I'll cut it to fit, then just glue it in place since there's no stress on the bottom of the chair.  I may add a few staples just as an added measure, but it's not necessary because I'll be using a permanent glue like 6000.  

Voila!  Done, and ready to use again.  Now, won't the cat be surprised.  Wonder how long it'll take her to find out it's fixed.

(PS...if you use a linear print like this one, be sure to double check that you have it aligned well before attaching it.  If you look carefully, you can see that I didn't, and the print is askew just a bit dagnabit).  Oh, well, good enough for the folks who'll be sitting on it.  Onto the next UFP .....


 Until next time.........


  1. All that and piping too!!! Karen it's just gorgeous, and it doesn't look a bit "off" to me. I cracked up about the cat falling through....I can so see my cat doing that! Good job, well done!

    1. Thanks, Allie. You're so kind. I must confess that I took the picture at an angle to make the nonalignment less noticeable. It does feel good to get this finished at last.


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