As a follow-up to my post yesterday, Raina is kindly sharing her reupholstering tutorial with us today. So without further ado . . .
Hello Delicious Dumplings!Â I’m Raina, the snark goddess from If the Lamp Shade Fits. A few months ago, Ally asked for my help with an upholstery project and I was happy to oblige with a short how-to.Â Two college summers spent working for an upholsterer not only gave me valuable DIY skills but also taught me scads about furniture construction.
As it turns out, a fauteuil (the type of chair Ally’s mother so generously gifted) is the easiest furniture piece to re-cover.Â It was the first chair I was allowed to do by myself at the shop.Â For those of you ready to flex your DIY muscles, I will walk you through re-upholstering a simple French chair in only eight steps.
This no-sew project should take an afternoon of your time, and we’re assuming the construction of your chair is sound.
Supplies and Tools
- fabric of your choice
- either gimp (trim) or nail head (upholstery) tacks
- a staple remover/tack lifter
- extra batting (optional)
- staple gun
- glue gun or tack hammer
1.Â To purchase the correct amount of new fabric, measure the existing fabric on the chair and add 10%.Â I wouldn’t advise a satin or anything too delicate for your first time out.Â Measure the length of existing gimp (or welt) and add 6 inches OR count the nailhead tacks and add a dozen extra (upholstery tacks can be found online if you don’t have a local resource).
Now you’re ready to begin!
2.Â Remove any gimp or welt (the trim that looks like a long fabric tube wrapping the edges).Â Find the start/stop point and gently peel the gimp off or pry up the welt with the staple remover.Â If you have nail head trim, use the staple remover to lift the tacks off.
3.Â You will see the old fabric is simply stapled onto the chair frame.Â Remove the staples with the staple remover and pliers.Â If a staple brakes, make sure to pry off the broken bit.
4.Â Take off the old fabric and iron it.Â Lay it on top of your new fabric, making sure it is centered on your new fabric’s pattern.Â Add an inch allowance all around and cut.Â Do this for each piece – armrest, etc.
5.Â Check to make sure your batting (stuffing) is in good shape.Â If it’s thin in places, layer on more batting.Â If you decide you want a much cushier ride, make sure to allow for the extra when cutting the new fabric.
6.Â Take your new piece of fabric and starting from the center back of the seat, throw a few staples into the narrow wood edge.Â Now go to the center front and pulling the fabric firmly (but not stretching it) and throw in a few more staples.Â Do the same for the sides.Â Keep moving around the piece a few staples at a time, pulling the fabric firmly as you go.Â Repeat the process for the chair back and armrests.Â If you have access to a pneumatic stapler (shown) -Â fantastic! – if not a regular ole staple gun will work.
You are almost finished!
7.Â With a pair of scissors, trim the excess fabric off the piece as close to the wood edge as possible.
8.Â Cover the staples by either hot-gluing the gimp or nailing the tacks (the first option is the easier of the two).Â I’m skipping the welt cord option because it is a little more advanced and requires some sewing.
TAH-DAH!Â You have mastered basic upholstery and are the proud owner of a fab new chair.
Feel free to leave any questions in the comments and I will do my best to answer them for you.
Photos courtesy of Country Living.
Thanks a million Raina! See? I told you she knows how to do everything.