Wingback Chair Reupholster Project

A few years ago, while I was driving down a street that I grew up on I noticed a chair sitting out for junk pick up. The chair was sitting outside my old best friends house. I called someone with a pick up truck to come and collect the chair for me, I had just the right spot for it (in the corner of my bedroom to collect laundry!). I have always wanted to learn how to reupholster furniture and this chair had a great structure just bad fabric, great for a project one day. Well that day finally came! I found some cute fabric a couple weeks ago and moved the chair out into the middle of the house. The chair was starring at me all day, just waiting. I eventually gathered the courage to start. The tools that I used were a hammer, needle nose pliers (my all time favorite tool), scissors and a screw driver. The pliers worked best for the job. Go around the edges of the fabric, get a hold of it with your pliers and pull. Simple as that. Pull and rip all over the chair. Make sure that you remove any existing nails or old staples, so that you have a smooth surface to work with. I also took pictures with my phone while I was removing the old fabric, so that I could reference back to how it was done originally if needed. Inside the back of a wingback chair you will see how the fabric is pulled through for the “wings” and the back. When all of the old fabric is gone and staples cleared away you can start applying the new upholstery. Make sure you buy fabric that is meant for furniture upholstery, or it might be too thin and not have the strength for staples and nails. Using a measuring tape, measure a section, cut your fabric adding at least 4-6 extra inches just in case. Then place the fabric were it needs to be applied. Using a staple gun (please splurge a little and get an electric one for a big job like this, you will thank me) go around the edges and staple the fabric as tightly as you can. I think all together I had 15 different patches of fabric. You need to have a clear strategy for the order that you put on your patches of fabric, making sure that each one will cover the last ones staples. The outside of the wings and the back of the chair will have places that your work cannot be hidden, but you can make them pretty!  In some places you have to get creative. For the bottom of the “wings” I tucked the fabric under and pulled it tightly around to the back to staple it in place. And in some small places yes, I definitely used a hot glue gun. It is best to start with the arms and front, then the wings and sides, then lastly the back that you sit against and the back back. I used a staple gun for all of the “hidden” attachments and a nail gun for all of the areas that had to be left exposed. In most cases upholstery tacks are used in the exposed areas, but I hate upholstery tacks! In the last upholstery project that I had I used the tacks and managed to smash my poor little fingers with the hammer every time I took a swing. I’m good with hammers and nails, but tiny tacks that I can barely hold into place, I can’t handle. The nail gun worked great but left my chair with the ends of tiny nails all round the edges. I went to the craft store in search of a ribbon that I could hot glue across all my nail heads. I found several that I brought home so I could see them together before I made my final selection. To go around the front of the arms and across the top of the back I chose a whimsical small white ribbon with little gray pom-poms and around the outside of the wings and down the back I chose a beautiful black velvet with silk rope braiding. The end result is fabulous! To recover the seat cushion I simply made a basic pillow case, stuffed the cushion inside and then sewed up the back. My old faded chair that was put out for the trash has now gotten a long over due amazing face lift. Is it perfect? No, I’m not a professional. Is it amazingly fabulous? Yes, indeed it is!

Before

Before

Whimsy pom-poms

Whimsy pom-poms

exposed nails

exposed nails

Ribbon to hide nails

Ribbon to hide nails

IMG_1076 IMG_1078 IMG_1079

After

After

 

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