Restyle4Life

Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

2 Old Chairs, New Looks (With Tutorial)

on August 12, 2014

My girl and my older son both needed chairs for their bedrooms. Just a chair to hang clothes on. Like most teenagers, they spend most of their time propped up on their beds with all their various devices spread out around them. I picked up 2 identical chairs from Mr. Used in Hamilton. For those familiar with the city, you may have heard of this humungous warehouse of all things weird and wonderful. Mr. Used was clearing out his 70,000 square foot collection back in March in order to downsize and move to a new, smaller space. Check out a past article here if you live in the area. I don’t know if he’s moved yet or how much he’s downsized.

This is a long post which includes a detailed tutorial, so if you want to skip that part, just scroll on down to the end to see the transformation!

These grimy chairs I got at Mr. Used came from Wentworth Lodge, a nursing home in the city.

Old Chair about to get a new look.

Old Chair about to get a new look.

You may not be able to see the dirt but trust me it’s there. Yuck!

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Gross!

Back

Back

I would be painting these with the leftover chalk paint I had from the Not So Pretty in Pink fabric painted chair. There is no need to sand or prime when using chalk paint. All I did was wipe these bad boys down with water and vinegar. You could use soap and water. I use white vinegar on a lot of my thrifted pieces (even clothing) to get rid of stinkies. It is a good idea to take pictures as you go, so you can put things back in the proper way. Trust me, you will NOT remember later. As you remove the fabric pieces, try not to rip them as you will need them to make a pattern for your new fabric.

Step 1. Remove all the screws holding the chair pad in place.

Remove screws from bottom and put them away in a jar for later.

Remove screws from bottom and put them away in a jar for later.

Step 2. Remove staples holding fabric and foam in place. I strongly advise you to get one of these tools. Do not even try to use the staple removers that are designed for removing paper staples and don’t, I mean, DON’T try to use a screwdriver! You will bang, scrape, cut your way to a pair of miserable hands!

Invest in one of these tools for staple removal.

Invest in one of these tools for staple removal.

Step 3. If there is any piping, it is most likely glued on, remove it but try to keep the piping intact so it doesn’t rip. I reused the piping for my chairs. Otherwise, you can purchase some and just recover with your fabric of choice. My piping was in good condition.

Carefully remove the piping.

Carefully remove the piping.

Step 4. This is the most time consuming, frustrating part-removing all the staples. There will be a lot of them, and I do mean a lot! they will be tucked way in there. The trick is to try not to damage the wood of the chair frame.

Oh the joys of removing a gazillion staples!

Oh the joys of removing a gazillion staples!

Step 5. Once you’ve taken the front cover off, there will be a piece of foam which may or may not be stapled to the frame. Mine wasn’t. Remove it.

Remove the foam back from the chair.

Remove the foam back from the chair.

After the back rest cover is removed.

After the back rest cover is removed.

Outside back fabric to be removed.

Outside back fabric to be removed.

Step 6. Remove the fabric cover from the seat, again being careful not to damage it so you can reuse it. If you prefer, go ahead and use new fabric but what I do (if it’s in good shape) is I reuse it BUT I wash it first by hand using plain old laundry detergent and I hang it outside to dry. Sunlight is a great disinfectant.

Remove dust cover from seat pad.

Remove dust cover from seat pad.

Step 7. Surprise! More staples! Guess what, remove those too. I forgot to mention when using that tool thingy up above that looks like a modified screwdriver-sometimes it won’t get under the staple. Use a hammer and give it a couple of whacks. That should get the tool under there to lift the staple. You can always use a pair of pliers to pull the staples out if they don’t come out in one go.

A staple-removing journey that never ends.

A staple-removing journey that never ends.

Step 8. Get someone else to finish the job. Just kidding! You can do this! But go ahead, take a break. You need it after all that!

Looking so much better already!

Looking so much better already!

Step 9. Paint. I used 3 coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint and then used the Annie Sloan soft wax (2 coats). You can read about both these products in my other post (above-the Not So Pretty in Pink Chair). I totally forgot to take pics of the painting process. You can use whatever paint/primer you want. Chalk paint is just so much easier and I had leftovers so that’s what I did.

Step 10. Next, you’ll want to lay the fabric pieces you just removed on top of your new fabric as a pattern and cut out the new sections. A word of advice here. I found as I started to put the chairs together that I wished the original pieces I had removed were just a little bit bigger. I don’t know if they trim the excess after they staple onto the chair but I found I had to pull quite a bit. The next time I do this I will definitely leave an extra inch or two all around.

Another cautionary note if you are using a fabric that has a definite repeat (like the grey/purple chair I did here down below). I wanted the flowers to be in the middle. Make sure you buy enough fabric to allow for fabric repeat/placement of pattern, etc. You’ll see what I mean as you see the chair.

If you plan on doing many projects like this you might think about investing in an air compressor with a stapler. Heavy duty staplers are just okay in my opinion. They still require a lot of muscle and force. I found that I was just not strong enough to drive the staples down far enough. Mr. Restyle bought the air compressor to do some baseboards (or so he says-he hasn’t used it yet). I know he bought it for moi!

This is the one I have.

Air compressor with stapler attachment.

Air compressor with stapler attachment.

Don’t be alarmed by how noisy this thing is when it first starts filling with air. The noise lasts for a few minutes and then you can just staple away!

Step 11. Begin with the outside back. Remember that this fabric will be stapled right side facing out.

Staple outside back fabric to chair frame.

Staple outside back fabric to chair frame.

Step 12. For this next step, I had already washed all of the foam (it was in great shape just needed some cleaning) in laundry detergent and air dried it all outside (remember the sun as a disinfectant). Just because something is thrifted does not mean it has to be dirty. I am a clean freak so this is important to me. Lay the chair back piece over the foam. You can see here what I mean by fabric repeats. This fabric has a definite big print (the big floral). I wanted this to be in the middle of the chair back and the chair seat. I did not care about it being matchy poo on the outside back.

Lay inside back fabric over foam.

Lay inside back fabric over foam.

Step 13. Staple to frame. I didn’t staple the foam. It would be held in place by the cover.

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Step 14. Centre the seat fabric over the seat and staple. I start by placing a staple in the middle of all 4 sides and then work out. I don’t know if this is the proper method but it’s what I do. Again here I wish the piece was a bit bigger so I didn’t have to pull so tight. I ended up with some bumps which could’ve been avoided.

Stapling fabric to the seat.

Stapling fabric to the seat.

Step 15. Staple the dust cover on.

Staple dust cover back on.

Staple dust cover back on.

Step 16. Attach seat to frame using screws you set aside earlier.

Screwing the seat onto the frame.

Screwing the seat onto the frame.

Step 17. I forgot to photograph this part but you will need to make new piping. I used the piping that was on the chairs. All I did was remove the old fabric from the existing piping. I then cut a new piece of fabric to match the length of the piping. I cut the new piece quite a bit wider. I find it easier to sew piping when the machine has some fabric to grab onto as it sews. You can always trim it later. I folded the new fabric over the piping and used a zipper foot to sew as close as possible to the piping. I then trimmed the excess fabric off being careful not to snip too close to the stitching.

Step 18. Use a hot glue gun to attach the piping to the chair back.

Here is my daughter’s chair all done.

What a beauty now!

What a beauty now!

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And here’s my son’s chair. I actually did this one first but did not plan on a tutorial. I had a lot of excess fabric sticking out even after I attached the piping. I needed to cover it up so I just hot glued some trim I had. Not the best solution but I kind of like it for now.

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This is not that difficult to do. You can do it yourself!

2chairsmakeover

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