Shortcuts For Upholstery: How to Recover a Chair Quick

Posted on November 7th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

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Shortcuts For Upholstery: How to Recover a Chair Quick

Yeay to reader Janine! She whipped up a new cover for a found chair and lives to tell about it. Janine armed herself with a staple gun and spent two evenings on the chair.  Because she worked solo on a job that often needs an extra pair of hands, she calls her upholstery job a hack. Here’s a Q and A of the process.

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Where did the chair come from?
I found it in the alley behind a closed hotel.  I know, it was a risk to pick it up because of the bed bug scare. I don’t advise bringing home fabric things from the dumpster.

How did you start the upholstery job?
I first removed the bottom and side panels to see how the chair was upholstered originally.  I made a pattern from the pieces I removed and created a pattern for the arms and seat by draping them with an old sheet.

What shortcuts did you use that are different from a total reupholstery job?
I didn’t rip off all the existing fabric. Instead, I stapled my fabric over it on the seat, seat back and arms.  I made the inside corners, where the back and arms meet, nice and tight, but they’re tucked, not stapled. The batting was in good shape, so I didn’t repad anywhere on the chair.  The springs were good, too.  You’ll notice I didn’t use piping, because I find it a real pain.

I reused the existing metal strip to attach the panel on the back of the chair. Also, instead of going out to get new tack strips for the side panels, I made some out of cardboard I had in my apartment.

What was the most challenging step?
Hammering in the nail heads, and I still have one side to go. Hard to get straight.  Making the pattern for the arms was tricky, too.

Have you upholstered any other pieces before?
Yes, I’ve done a small couch and chair and made a slipcover for a chair.

lizchairside Shortcuts For Upholstery: How to Recover a Chair Quick

What tools did you use?
Let’s see….manual staple gun, pair of pliers and a screwdriver to removed the old staples, hammer to pound in the staples where necessary, rubber mallet for pounding in the brass nail heads.

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Cute fabric.
It’s a remnant I found at JoAnn Fabrics I’ve been looking to put to good use.  I had enough for the chair’s front, so combined it with navy cotton on the sides and back.

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