I’m finally on the last part of the posts about my dining chair upcyle project (Part 1, 2 and 3 can be found in the following links – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 ) and today I will be sharing the finishing touches that I have added, lessons I have learned and how much the project cost per chair.
Firstly though, the finished chairs…
I finally finished the chairs, it took several weekends to complete but I’ve done it and am really pleased with the outcome! The final finishing touch that I have added is some pompom trim that I used for the alcoves when I decorated the downstairs which I purchased from Amazon (if you missed that post you can find it here) . I decided to add the trim to add a further element of co-ordination into the colour scheme and design of the room and I feel that it pulls all the elements together really well. I like the idea that people will notice all the little touches and will allow their eye to investigate the room in greater detail.
This chairs project was really my first major foray into the world of upcycling and upholstery. I have not worked on a project quite like this before and along the way have learned a few lessons…
- However long you think it will take, double it and add an hour. Sanding the chairs was probably the longest part and I couldn’t believe how much time I spent clearing the old varnish from the frames of the chairs.
- Clearing all the varnish and stripping the frames back to bare wood is the best thing to do for the paint to adhere properly. Failing to clear all the varnish, like on my yellow chair, has resulted in patchy paint and the colour of the varnish bleeding through all the coats of paint I applied. It still looks patchy now and seems to be more noticeable at the bottom of the legs.
- Sometimes it pays to sit back and think a bit…I tried to create a fancy curved corner and edge on the first seat that I tried to upholster which didn’t really work and frustrated me when it didnt go to plan. I should have sat and thought about what I was doing and ways to cover the seat before starting.
- Have fun with your project. Think about what is fun and makes you smile and go with what you think will work. The worst that can happen with a project like this is that you have to sand the chair down and start again.
And here are the costing calculations on the attached document…
Costings for chairs
So, in all the chairs cost £17.63 to upcycle which doesn’t seem too bad when you consider that I have bespoke, one of a kind, unique chairs that fit my home and style perfectly and I have had the experience of learning new skills along the way. And I’m proud to show them off and say “I created these”. I would recommend to anyone that can’t seem to find furniture that they completely like or keep finding thing that are not quite right to go out and see what is available for sale second-hand and try your hand at creating something that you love!
I have shared the first two parts of this project already, you can find the first post (about finding my chairs) here, and the second part (about preparing them and painting) here . Todays post is about upholstering the seat part of the chairs.
I had decided to replace the seat part of the chair fabric with white vinyl and decided that I would replace the seat padding at the same time as the padding was fairly flat and on some chairs felt pretty non existent. I decided to use a thick, 2 inch deep foam for the seat padding which I bought from Amazon. I also needed to buy a staple gun and the vinyl material which I also ordered from Amazon. As the width of the material I chose to use was 1.4 meters I purchased 2 meters in length which gave me enough fabric to cover all 4 seats.
The first task I had was to remove the old fabric from the seats once the seat had been removed from the chair frame. Sounds fairly simple doesn’t it? This task took an age! The old fabric had been stapled to the seat base with about a million staples per seat, and it wasnt just the sheer amount of staples used that made it a lengthy task, the staples were really tough to remove, some of them embedded into the wood quite deeply. I used a screwdriver to lever the staples out one by one. Once the staples had been removed I could see that the seat padding was made up of bits of milled material and foam had been used around the edges of the seat to make them less hard. The foam had disintegrated fairly badly and had in many places turned to dust. I had to carefully remove the fabric and use a Hoover to clean up as I went along.
The foam pads that I had bought were slightly bigger than the seat bases which meant I needed to cut the foam down to size. as the seats were not square I also needed to make sure that the foam shape matched that of the seat so I used the seat as a template and traced around them onto the foam with a sharpie marker before cutting the excess foam away with scissors.
Once the foam had been cut to size I then needed to cut the vinyl down too. I cut the piece I had bought into 4 sections, one piece for each seat. I then laid this down on the table with the facing side to the table and the underside of the fabric facing up. on to this I laid the cut foam and then placed the seat on top. From that point I was able to start securing the fabric to the seat using the staple gun. I started in the centre of the front of the seat, then the back centre, making sure the fabric was taught and evenly stretched over the foam. I then secured each side before trimming down the excess fabric and then continued to staple the fabric into place. Once I reached the corners I chose to fold the fabric and tuck it in, creating a neat looking corner. I had, on the first chair. attempted to be fancy and create rounded seat edged but it didn’t work particularly well and I ended up with excess fabric in one corner and an awkward looking seat covering. In hindsight I think that if the foam hadn’t been so thick then that idea would have worked a lot better!
In the pictures above you will be able to see that I started with stapling the corners of the fabric first…this was the first seat that I covered where I thought that making the corners rounded was a good idea…it wasn’t! And starting on the corners meant that the tension of the fabric was out which made it harder to get the fabric to lay nicely over the foam. On the other seats I secured the fabric in the centre of the sides and worked front centre 0 back centre, then both sides in the centre before working my way along the rest of the sides and out towards the corners. Unfortunately, I forgot to take any more pictures of the full method I used….
Next week I will be showing you the completed chairs and the fun decoration I have added to the chairs!
As promised, this is the second post about decorating my downstairs room and the extra decoration I have added.
After painting and leaving the walls to dry for a time I decided to add some fun touches and textural interest to the arches and alcoves in the form of multi-colour pompoms. I measured the alcoves and archway and searched the internet for what I had in mind…. I eventually found what I wanted from Amazon . I was able to purchase this in long lengths which was what I was looking for, each length had to be more than a meter so I could run a continuous length rather than fixing lengths together to fit into the alcoves.
I bought some Command Hooks from B&Q that are meant for hanging decorations such as Christmas Lights, to hang the trim up. Command Hooks are able to be used and removed without harming the wall underneath and, having used several of their other products in the past, decided that these would be the best thing to use. The hooks were a bit fiddly as they come in a pack – the hooks all connected to one another and the sticky part separate. You need to break off the hooks and attach the correct side of the sticky to the hook before peeling the other side from the sticky and attaching to the wall. I found it easier to break off all the hooks and then attach the sticky to them all before using.
I placed the hooks up the alcoves at equal distances but alternating the facing of the hook, so one faced towards the wall, the next at 180 degrees and facing away from the wall before weaving the trim up and through each hook.
I was really worried that upon the trim being delivered it wouldn’t be as bright as I’d wanted or, not even the correct thing at all (going by past experiences…) and worried that the overall effect would not be like I imagined. I’m really pleased with how it turned out though, and it always makes me smile. Visitors to my home have commented on how nice it looks so I’m guessing that it’s not just a hit with me!
Here’s some pictures of the room with the trim up! (please note that some of these photos are really recent ones…)