Yes!! More chairs!!


Hi! I can’t believe how quickly time is passing. I really meant to post about the other 5 projects I have been working on, but I dropped my iPad and couldn’t access most of my photos.. so I have some blogging to do in the next couple of weeks!

As I posted a couple weeks ago, I found a great deal on some chairs. I ended up buying 14, and I already had 2 to start, so that is 16 chairs! I have finished and sold 4, and have finished but not sold 1 more, and 3 more are pretty close to being done. So, I have 8 left that I haven’t started. I am having a really hard time trying to decide if I should keep them or continue to sell them. The issue is that they don’t fit under my dining room table, the arms are too high! So, my options are to a) refinish and sell all of the chairs and keep my current dining room set b) buy a new black table and refinish the chairs to match the hutch and buffet, which are already black….. Or…. C) buy and refinish a dining room table and paint the buffet, hutch and chairs to match. Decisions, decisions.

Anyways, I am getting pretty good at the refinishing part, so I thought I would share some tips and tricks with you that I have learned through my 8 chairs of experience! I will walk you through the upholstery part, as the sanding and painting part is just as tedious, but doesn’t require as much skill.

By the way, part of what I love about these chairs is how versatile they are… Here are three of my finished chairs lined up so you can see how different the same chair can look… 

Here is a before shot of the chairs. To start the upholstery/refinishing process, I used a pair of pliers to pull out all of the trim around the seat back, arms and seat. Then, I picked out any staples that were poking out, and hammered in the ones that I couldn’t be bothered pulling.  (Come on, I have to cut some time somewhere… 16 chairs!)
Here is a close up of what the arm looked like after the wood was sanded and stained…

  To get the right size of fabric cut for each  part, I simply laid the fabric on the chair and cut around. If you are a little more cautious than me, and you love to measure, you could lay a large sheet of paper and draw a template or pattern…. But I tend to just wing it, and it has worked ok for me so far….

  So after roughly cutting out the fabric for the front and back, and seat of the chair, I started with reupholstering the back. The first few chairs I did, I pulled out all of the staples, and took apart the entire chair back, but then I figured out that you can also just tuck in the ends of the fabric into the back of the chair, and secure it by gluing trim on top.

  So I took the fabric and gently tucked it into the back of the chair, and as you can see in the below picture, I trimmed it all the way around, starting at the bottom.

  Believe it or not, I tried a few different things, and a butter knife worked perfectly to tuck in all of the ends.

  Then, I trimmed again, and tried to tuck in all of the loose edges….

  It’s not perfect, but that’s what the trim is for… I will show pictures later of the trim…

  The arms are probably one of the easier parts to recover. I started by adding a staple at either end to secure the fabric…  Then, I stapled around the perimeter, and trimmed off the extra fabric…

  Now for the back of the chair! I started by tacking the fabric down by adding a staple in the middle of each side, then stretching the fabric, and working my way out to the corners…After a while I could tell by the feel where I needed to staple, but I definitely pulled up the fabric and peeked every few staples to make sure I was stapling in the right place.

  Then, I trimmed off all of the excess fabric. Note -I did have a few close calls while trimming, and I trimmed too much off, had to pull out staples, stretch the fabric and restaple. I would recommend frequent peeking under before you trim to make sure your staples are in the right spot… 

  Now for the seat! I would say the seats of these chairs were the most challenging because the armrests and seat backs intersect the seat, so you have to pull the fabric around them to cover, which is a little tricky. I started the same way as the seat back, I added a staple at the center of each side, then stretched the fabric as I staples towards the corners.

Here is how I did around the arms. I folded the fabric back and cut a Y shape like this….

  Then, I kept laying it down, cutting a few millimeters at a time, then laid it down again until it fit.

  This is what it should look like when the middle of the Y is tucked in and the edges are folded under…

  And here it is looking from the outside of the chair…

  Once I got it sitting flat, with no wrinkles, I added a couple staples…

  I did the other corners almost the same way except the angle was a little different, so I only had to cut a slit, instead of a Y…

  But, I cut a tiny bit more each time then folded it down until it looked right again…

  Then I stapled it down (which I forgot to take a picture of, but I think you get the idea…

The last part of stapling was around the corners of the seat. The trick is to keep pulling and working your way out to the very corner…In this particular chair, the front corner had a bit of a tricky angle that I had to be careful of when stapling…

  As you can see, I had to be careful where each staple went. This would be a pretty obvious boo boo, on the front center of the chair, so once again, I peeked under the fabric often and stapled carefully. Once all of my staples were in, then I trimmed all of the the excess fabric off.

  So, here is the upholstering done! Whew…

 So I still have the trim left to glue on, but no time to glue it and write about it now, so I’ll have to post  later. Also, I will post pics of my next few chairs….. or my dining room makeover… haven’t decided yet!


3 responses »

    • Yeah, I have to admit, the thought of them sitting in the garage has been haunting me a little….plus, I have to park on the driveway every day until they are done! Lol.


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