Getting the house organized has been quite the journey, and is definitely still a work in progress, but some great things have happened since we moved in!
Can you see why it was so crazy when we were moving in?
We had our electrical updated which means it is safe to run all our appliances, computers, etc. (and we had a few new outlets thrown in there!), our new AMAZING triple-paned windows are being installed next week, and we have been enjoying many wonderful dinners at our awesome Craigslisted dining room table.
Because I know I’ve been neglectful, I am going to post a couple photos of the easy-peasy chair reupholstery project I tackled last Saturday in a little less than an evening.
Now, I should probably preface this with a bit of background. The summer after I graduated college, I worked briefly with a local upholsterer who taught me some basics about upholstery and recovering furniture. While working with him, I bought an 8ft-long Mid-Century Modern couch off Craigslist and vowed to reupholster it for my future home. Last January, I was able to finish that project, as well as tackle a matching club chair and ottoman (different Craigslist scores) to form what is now my living room set. Although recovering a set of dining chairs isn’t as intensive as a full on reupholstery job of a giant couch and chair set, it is an easy, gratifying project you can accomplish in an afternoon with the right tools and materials.
After I finished my couch and chair, I had like 10 extra yards of beautiful Duralee upholstery fabric, so that is probably what all my future upholstery projects will be covered in, since foam is expensive and I’m feeling cheap.
SO the story goes…
I was thrifting with my parents when we headed to the St. Vinnie’s Warehouse where I almost always find some treasures. It’s an as-is store, so they often send the furniture that is either too big, or too rough for their other stores and is a big reason I like the place. I was hunting specifically for dining chairs to match our new table, but I was hoping to find two matching chairs. After practically giving up and settling on a pair of country spindle chairs for $15, my dad called me back to the record section somewhat frantically.
Cute, but not exactly the style I wanted.
What do I find?
A perfect set of Mid-Century Modern teak dining chairs with awful upholstery (and in need of some refinishing) for $20!
After taking them home, I cleaned the wood up and then avoided sitting in them for many days because the upholstery was so gross. After looking at them for about a week, I made plans to have a friend over and forced myself to buy new foam, an electric staple gun (which I hate and am returning) and pulled out my couch fabric stash to get cutting.
The first step is unscrewing the seat from the chair base, which is usually held in by four screws, one in each corner (save those screws!).
After that, I stripped the cushion materials and threw them in the trash. If your seat has nice foam, or materials that can be reused, you can definitely save them (and I would suggest it, it will save you money!) but these were nasty, water-stained and stinky. Into the trash they went!
You then trace your seat base onto your foam, cut it out, and use a spray fabric adhesive on the foam and wood to adhere it to the chair.
As you can see, it’s ok if your lines are not perfectly straight, you just want the shape of your seat without a ton of extra foam (unless you like the overstuffed look) as it will get in the way of your fabric. You will also want to cover your foam with Dacron (a polyester or cotton batting material) which will smooth out any hooky lines and give a more attractive shape to your cushion.
I don’t have any photos of this specific project with Dacron on it, but here is a photo of what it looked like when I was redoing the couch:
The Dacron smooths out the line so you have a nice smooth surface for the fabric to be stretched over.
After gluing the Dacron to the foam so that it covers the seat and all four sides but is flush with the plywood seat base, I get to lay my cushion on my fabric and start stapling!
Damn electric staple gun! I have only ever used a pneumatic, so I am sure that I am biased, but the staple gun was so bad at sending even pressure on the staple that I had to go around and hammer each staple individually to sink the side that the gun didn’t sink deep enough.
When you are stapling your fabric to your cushion, you want to start with one side (the flattest is usually the easiest, so I started with the front of my seat as the back is curved) and put a staple to hold the fabric in place, and then stretch the fabric parallel and staple it. Knowing how much to stretch the fabric comes with experience, but you usually want it taut but with a little bit of give (people will be sitting on it after all). Once those two sides are secured, I like to go back and sink two more staples on either side of the first one (two to three inches apart is great) so that the first two sides are a little more secure, but there is still plenty of fabric for your other two sides.
Next step is to repeat the process with the two unsecured sides. Continue to sink staples working on parallel and opposite sides, trying to keep the fabric appearing even and smooth. This is especially important when your fabric is patterned because it will show if you don’t work the sides evenly (in home upholstering, omnidirectional fabrics will be your best friend).
After your sides are mostly stapled down you can begin to do your corners. For mine, I did two folds on either side of where the chair leg would meet the base. It made a nice even crease, and was simple to do. There are a million different ways to do corners, so just play around and see what you like!
The end results?
Voila! So easy and fun!
I’m going to try to get around to doing a better overview this weekend, but as a quick update….
We’re trying to adopt this kitten! Tobias will finally have an adorable baby kitten to play with!