Upholstering, Shmapholstering

I’m not the worlds most patient person. To most of you this is not earth-shattering news. When I decided to paint and reupholster some cheapie Goodwill chairs I knew I was in for quite the patience test.

Squares are easy. I can handle squares. Curved seat cushions are a whole different ballgame. This was the first chair I’ve ever made over so the whole process was sort of like trying to find your shoes after a night of too many cocktails.

I got my chairs out. Stared at them for a bit. And I just kept repeating, “I can do this.”

First step was to figure out how to take the cushion out. I’m not even joking when I tell you that I flipped the chair over and took a hammer to the bottom of the seat. I thought that maybe it would, I don’t know, pop right out? Yeah, no.

I finally discovered screws that were holding the seat in place. Four tiny screws that took me about 2 seconds to take out. Phew.

Then I prepped them for painting. They got a quick sponge bath and two coats of spray-paint primer.

Something I learned about spray painting on the deck is NOT to spray paint on the deck. We may or may not have to break out the power washer this spring.

After two more light and airy coats of white spray paint these suckers were ready to dry. I headed inside to tackle the seat cushions.

I used the leftover fabric from my sink skirt project and cut it to size. And yes, I’m sitting cross-legged working on the floor. That’s how I roll.

And then, the time came to use THE STAPLE GUN. Oh, how I love my staple gun.

Since stapling at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock has always worked in the past, I used the same technique on my cushions. It’s a great way to make sure you’re not getting the fabric on all wonky. This is an especially important tip if you’re using a patterned fabric.

Once I flipped over her backside to make sure everything was straight and smooth I went to town on the edges. It went something like this: Staple, pull, staple, pull, staple, pull, staple, pull, staple, pull, staple, pull, staple, pull, staple, pull, staple, pull. You get the idea. A lot of staples. (If you’re trying this at home, make sure you’re not pull hard enough to stretch the fabric. Just a nice, firm tug will do.)

And then. It was time for the corners.

This is how I feel about upholstering corners:

After I collected myself I evaluated what needed to happen here. I found the best method was to let the corner fold itself, in a way. If you get the edges really taught, and then pull the fabric up toward the sky, it sort of naturally folds. Sort of. (Disclaimer: only sometimes.)

See what I mean? I recommend keeping your staple gun nearby because as soon as you have it in place, put a staple on it. (Sorta like: put a bird on it.)

Now do that seven more times (for both cushions) and 27 short hours later you’ll have new seat cushions!

A big difference from where we started, right? As thrilled as I was, the cool, white paint was a little too white for my taste. I tried using the antique glaze I used in the I Love Lamp post, but it didn’t have quite the same effect. I think it has something to do with the spray paint I used being flat instead of glossy. I had zero working time with the glaze, so as soon as I sponged it on it was basically there until the end of time. Or until I painted over it. AGF — Antique Glaze Forever.

What do you think? I’m not a big fan. I think it just looks dirty, which was sort of a big Womp Womp after finishing this whole project. BUT. This is the real world. Sometimes projects don’t turn out exactly how you hope, and I promised to share all of my failures along with my successes. So, here you go. FAIL.

Eventually I’d like to track down a can of warm white spray paint and just repaint both chairs and call it a day. In the meantime, I’m just going to let these guys hang out in the completely and utterly unused third bedroom. A Time Out, if you will. For misbehavior.

Even though this little project didn’t turn out exactly how I had hoped, I’m still pretty pleased with the transformation.

They went from Country Home to Shabby Chic Loft. Or something like that.

Steve’s parents are coming for a visit this weekend so we’ll be somewhat on a project standstill for the new few days. This will be the first time they’ve seen the house and we can hardly wait to show it to them. I’ll be gone for a few days, but I promise to be back with painting updates! We’ve picked a painting company and the next step is picking out paint colors. FOR THE WHOLE HOUSE.

If I’m not back in a few days I’m either buried under paint swatches or have been so completely overwhelmed that I’ve moved to Abu Dhabi. I bet they don’t have as many wall color options there.


4 thoughts on “Upholstering, Shmapholstering

  1. I absolutely love how they turned out and the way you kind of distressed them. I think you are just being very demanding of yourself. I was scared of reupholstering my chairs (that used to be white before my toddler decided she no longer wants to sit on a highchair), but after seeing your project I wil give it a go.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love your colorful expression of your distaste for corners. My sentiments, exactly! I finally got a lucky tip from the lady at the fabric shop. Not sure if you already got this little tip, but next time try doing the corners first. Do one, then the one directly catty cornered from it, then one next to it, followed by the one catty cornered from that one — like making an X. Once you’ve done that, do the sides. It makes the corners neater, and it also helps with keeping the grain of the fabric straight. Hey, your chairs look awesome! They don’t look dirty, just aged. I love ’em!

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