Monday, October 24, 2011

Dining Chair Seats

I finished reupholstering my dining room chairs this weekend and I have to say I love them!  Although it wasn't easy, it also wasn't very hard or complicated - especially for my first time doing upholstery.

BEFORE - Halloween, anyone?
Here's the chairs before.  I painted them black ages ago.  The burnt orange fabric stuck around while I searched for almost a year for a fabric I liked.  Yes, chevron is cool and the fabric wasn't too rough - it just didn't do anything for me (or the chairs) so it had to go.
I picked this fabric because 1.) I wanted black, 2.) it was affordable and I had a discount coupon for an additional $10 off, 3.) it can easily be wiped down because it's vinyl, but it doesn't make the furniture look like it should be in a diner, and 4.) I liked the idea of adding a texture which would compliment rather than compete with the carving details. 

I ordered 3 1/2 yards at $11.58, and because of my coupon and's free shipping on orders over $35 - I paid a total of $30.53.  I only used 3 yards, but it was nice to have that extra 1/2 a yard on hand in case I made a mistake.

My mom gave me a roll of batting she had on hand.  I don't remember the exact measurements, but the bag said it was enough for a queen bed.  It was the perfect amount for six chairs.  I folded it in half (for a double layer), laid it on the ground and used this highly scientific method to cut out a square for each seat.  I'm sure I could have measured and used my math skills, but this was super easy and there's really no need to be very exact unless you are worried you won't have enough.

I chose not to remove the original fabric or redo the foam.  If your project is kind of scuzzy or if you want to do it the proper way, you can go that route.  However, my original seats were in nice shape and were still very comfortable, so I skipped that step. 

I also want to note that the original seats had welting, but I just stapled the batting tightly over it and there's aren't any weird ridges or lumps.  In fact, it might even help the seats retain their structure a little.  Stapling batting does not need a tutorial.  Do a staple in the middle of all four sides, making sure to pull it tight and then go around the edges until you have it secure and smooth.

I used a heavy-duty manual staple gun.  My shoulder and hand aren't a big fan, but it did the job just fine.  Every once in a while a staple wouldn't go all of the way through, so I kept a hammer on hand to tap those in.  My other tools were needle nose pliers to remove staples and a good pair of scissors.

If you're using a thinner fabric than I did, you want to follow the batting step with muslin to make sure everything stays nice and smooth.  Since my fabric was a thick vinyl, I skipped that step as well.

Next I rolled out my material and used my very scientific method to cut six pieces.   I made the mistake here of not making sure I was placing the seats in the direction I wanted the fabric to be on the seats.  So, I had to turn my fabric 90 degrees before I started stapling it.  Luckily I still had enough fabric on each side that this didn't matter, but make sure you check before you cut because that could be a costly error.

Stapling the fabric to the chairs is easy except for the corners, which are tricky.  I watched a few Youtube videos and picked up some hints.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the process since both of my hands were occupied.  Make sure you are folding your corners in the same direction so it will look neat and professional.  Cut away excess fabric as you go to get a nice flat corner, however, do it slowly and in small sections to avoid overcutting. 

I've always heard to "wrap it like a present" but I must wrap my presents differently, because I used the "fold one side over the other" technique.  You want to concentrate on getting the corners, and then go back and finish stapling the rest of your fabric - you might even have to redo a couple of staples to get everything nice and taut.

And then you're done!  Easy-peasy, right?

Of course, I'm hardly finished.  I still want to paint the chairs red and maybe add nailhead trim around the bottom of the seats so they'll look more like the inspiration picture.

I didn't even bother screwing the seats back on the chairs since I'll just have to take them off again soon.  Although the black-on-black doesn't bother me nearly as much as the black-and-orange did, I definitely feel the need to keep working on them until I love them completely.  But for now I'm super happy with the way the seats turned out.

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