Trials and tales of a not-so-advanced gardener--both in the dirt and beyond.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

DIY: No-sew new-to-me chair (for the garden room, of course!)

Here is the before pic--a hideous, I'm thinking 70's chair with lime green velvet and a funk that made the birds fly away. I think this is the one that had a mouse living in it at some point.

Why do I own it? Because I saw fabulous "bones" and a fabulous price ($7.99 at Goodwill). It shall be re-claimed for my garden room, where I am attempting to bring the outside in.


Tools and materials you'll need:

  • needle nose pliers
  • something with a flat edge for removing staples (I use a flat head screw driver)
  • gloves (these things are just dirty)
  • hand sander
  • spray paint
  • 2 yards of fabric (the pretty kind)
  • 2 feet of muslin or plain fabric
  • 2 feet of quilt batting
  • 2" foam (for the cushion)
  • staple gun (and staples)
  • clear glue (I used Welder in the red tube) -- NOT hot glue
  • embellishments, cording, etc


1. Strip off all of the fabric, staples, glue, foam, padding, etc. This is what mine looked like when I was all done.

2. Take your pick--strip, sand and stain OR sand and paint. I chose the later because I wanted a lighter finish than the wood. Plus, I wouldn't know how to care for the caning properly to stain. I used 1.5 cans of spray paint on this one chair to get good and even coverage.

This stuff was the easy part. I'd done all of these things before. Now I was embarking to new territory--re-upholstery!

3. Making the seat.

First I put a layer of muslin over the squiggly metal pieces and trimmed my 2" foam to fit into the seat. Next I covered the foam with a layer of batting and now it was time for my fabric (sorry I didn't take pictures of these steps!)

Staple the fabric in the middle of the front of the chair, pull firmly and staple the opposite side in the middle. Make sure you have a couple of inches overhang. Work slowly to the sides. On this chair I was lucky enough to have a indentation where I put the staples. The most frustrating part of this entire project was making sure the fabric lies flat and still looks nice. On the corners I made a fold so the fabric didn't bunch.

I then took an Exacto knife and cut off the excess fabric. I finished it with some golden braid, which fit perfectly into the indentation. I used the clear glue to adhere it to the chair.

As for the top I re-used the cardboard insert and the brads from the old chair. I re-covered the brads using a different fabric and I adhered this using Aileen's craft glue. I then took fabric and covered the cardboard insert (again with the clear glue)

Once it was re-covered, I attached it to the chair using the Welder glue.

Voila! The finished product! A vast improvement for the eyes and for the nose.

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