First off I want to apologize that it has taken me a while to get to a blog post about my diy dropcloth chair. I know many of you have been asking and it’s finally here. After reupholstering chairs in the past, I’ve been asked by many if I will take on their chair projects. I’m here to say…No. ? I’ve now done 4 of my own and I have to say, I now know why upholsterers are not cheap. This is always an extensive labor intensive project and after I’m finished I always ask myself, “why did you do that”…and then I turn around and do it again. It really is rewarding to see the end result. Our budget does not allow for new furniture so I have to get creative and make these more budget friendly pieces work. So here goes…
I know these are not the chairs that I’m dong my tutorial on, but I just wanted to show you the amazing before and afters of what a lot of work and new upholstery can do. Here are a couple of the other chairs that I have reupholstered in the past. This one had great bones and the fabric was in excellent condition! I chose not to tear into the fabric on this one and I just reupholstered right over it with tack nails. I love the way it turned out! Linen fabric is always a great choice! I also added my own tufting on the seat back which is a tutorial for another day.
This chair was my first attempt at upholstery. I actually tore off all of the old fabric, used the exsisting cushions, and painted the buttons to use for the tufting. When tufting a chair, you will see when you tear off the old fabric, if it was already a tufted chair, that the existing holes are already there in the foam piece. This makes it easier to find the holes to use when tufting with the new fabric.
On to my drop cloth reupholstered chair. I found this chair for $15 at a thrift store and fell in love with all of the detail on the wood. Here is the before and sweet Chester too…
I don’t have upholstery tools to take off the fabric so I opt for a screwdriver, which works great to get under the seam. Don’t mind my grubby hand. Be careful where you are grabbing during this process because there will be many staples and lots of them will be sticking straight up when the fabric is pulled off.
I just go to town ripping off all of the fabric, making sure to be careful not to tear the inside cushion. This cushion was in excellent shape, as were all of the other chairs that I have redone, so I was blessed not to have to replace the inside foam. This is by far the most labor intensive process in my opinion, along with ripping out the old staples.
Here is a shot of the inside of the chair fabric. Usually chairs will always have some type of cushion/foam for the seating and backing and then a layer of batting over it. I was able to use the original foam and batting.
The entire cushion of this chair was removeable which makes it nice for stapling the new fabric to the bottom of the seat.
I’ve realized that some upholsterers go buck wild with their stapling. I used needle nose plyers to remove all of the staples that were sticking up after ripping the fabric off. The pliers were also a great help to assist in getting the fabric off.
Here is a view of the seat removed. I’m almost ready to start painting the wood trim.
I didn’t take any pics of the painting process. Mostly because I forgot but it’s pretty self explanatory. Just make sure you paint prior adding your new fabric to keep from getting paint on your fabric. I used White Dove Benjamin Moore color matched to Behr (because it’s more budget friendly), made it into chalk paint with my diy chalk paint recipe, and painted it on with a brush. It took 3 coats to cover up the dark wood. I then distressed the paint for more of a shabby look. I used Miss Mustard seed clear wax for sealing.
When I reupholstered my other chairs posted above, I did not have an air compressor at that time so believe it or not, all of the stapling I did with a hand stapler. We finally got an air compressor, nailer, and stapler when we completed our wood wall project so yay for me! I just wanted to let you know that this can be done with a hand stapler but it was such an “easier” process to staple with a stapler and compressor!! I used a painters drop cloth from Lowes for the fabric but you can also find them online. I washed mine in bleach letting it sit for 2 hours, while bleach soaked, in the washer during one of the cycles. I washed it twice with bleach and then once with just detergent to get rid of some of the hard core bleach smell (also dried it each time as well in the dryer). I have read that if you add peroxide on the last cycle with the detergent that it will help keep the fabric from continuing to break down from all of the bleach. I skipped that step and it seems to be fine so far. I cut the fabric to match each space with a little left over on the sides. I then folded each edge over and stapled it into the edges. You don’t have to fold it over. You could just staple and then cut off the excess as an ulterior option. It’s ok if the staples are not in a perfect line because the staples will eventually be covered up with trim. Make sure to pull your fabric tight when moving to the next side before stapling. It’s really annoying to end up with sagging fabric in the middle of your chair and then have to rip out the staples and start all over again.
It’s quite the process and I kind of just worked my way around every seam and crevice, stapling in the new fabric. This part of the chair right here, the fabric ends under this rounded part and then the whole back is one separate piece. The fabric is stapled all the way across under this puffy rounded part, which will eventually be covered with trim.
The piece that is stapled under the top rounded part comes all the way around the top of the chair and gets stapled into the frame at the bottom. It’s kind of like putting a puzzle together…just make sure everything fits prior to stapling. Working around corners such as the top rounded part can be tricky but just pulling tight and stapling is key and it will all come together in the end if you pay attention to detail with everything staple throughout rounding the corners.
So now that I have the piece stapled around the back and the piece stapled to the front and into the crease under the rounded top, I move onto the seat cushion. When cutting the fabric piece for the cushion, it’s important to get it large enough to be able to wrap it around and staple it to the bottom of the chair. You can always cut off the excess. I chose to fold mine and staple it with thoughts that I would have a piece cover the entire bottom of the chair. The piece that should cover the bottom of the chair is sold in fabric or craft stores and it’s a thin black layer. I decided to just leave the bottom of my chair the way it was after stapling the fabric around it because it is low enough to the ground that it will never be seen.
So now that I have all of my fabric stapled on the the chair body, I move to the arms. This is where stapling around corners can be tricky but it’s just a process that you work through one staple at a time around the whole space. There is not really a secret way to staple it in, it just takes time and patience. And if you see Chesters little nose in the background, he’s always right beside me…never more than 6 feet away.??
Yay!!! Now my favorite part, the trim! It’s mostly my favorite part because I know that I’m almost done!??
I purchased my trim at JoAnn Fabrics. I know some tutorials will use a glue gun but I dislike glue guns for fabric projects. They are messy and after I found this amazing Fabric glue, (I’m not being paid to say that, I just really love using it) I just can’t go back to using my hot glue gun. The glue has a strong chemical smell so if you are sensitive to smells, the glue gun might be a better option for you. The trim is super easy to apply, just add glue to the backing of the trim, start at a corner, and press down. I held each piece in place for probably 10-20 seconds and then it stuck in place enough that I could move on and allow it to dry. This glue holds amazingly well. Try to make sure you don’t cut the trim too short or you will have unwanted seams throughout your trim. And it would be a good thing if you measured correctly the first time so you don’t have to make multiple trips to the fabric store like I did. The chairs that I reupholstered previously (above) I used different trim. The first one was tack nails so no trim was needed since I wanted the nails to show and the second one was nailhead trim.
So there you have it, my long drawn out chair process…and that’s just what it is long AND drawn out. It was definitely not finished in a day. I think the whole process took 4-5 days and ended up costing around $65-$70 with the initial chair cost included. I hope that I’ve inspired you to start working on an old outdated chair. It’s all worth it in the end!!
Have a great day my friends! I would love to hear what you think about my drop cloth upholstered chair. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to meet up with you on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest as well!
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