Today I'm going to be sharing how to strip the chair of it's original fabric. This part was the hardest for me, mostly because it's the least fun. You have to remove a lot of staples and see some gross looking affects of years of someone sitting in your chair...So let me start off with a nice before & after shot to give you motivation!
So why did I reupholster a chair instead of buying a new one? For a long time I've been drooling over fancy desk chairs. I currently have this $21.99 IKEA swivel chair:
But I coveted this World Market $299.99 goddess of a chair:
Given the fact that I am not a bazillionaire, me spending $300 on a chair is about as likely as Boston having a winter with no snow. So when my mom asked me to join her in checking out a consignment store called Jus Like New in Goochland, I decided I would find a chair that I could makeover into something pretty, or at least, less bright blue & swivel-y.
That's where I saw my lovely chair for the first time. I fantasized about the paint and the new fabric I would cover it in and the best part was it was $40, not $300! But I wasn't sure if the chair would fit right underneath my desk, so I took measurements and made plans to come back with Ben and his truck to pick it up later that week.
On Valentine's Day, Ben took me back to the store, I bought my chair and we took it home where I immediately looked up directions on how to take all the ugly out of it. I need to impress upon the fact that I looked up A LOT of tutorials and here are the top 3 that I thought were the most helpful:
1) Little Green Notebook (divides the process into 5 extremely comprehensive blog posts, I looked at this one the most)
2) Regency By Design (this is a video showing exactly what to do, I used this a lot at the beginning of the process)
3) Miss Mustard Seed (just about stripping the fabric/tools to use)
So if you see that I'm explaining something in a complicated or stupid way, please feel free to consult the list above, as they explained beautifully to me and I'm sure will do the same for you! So the first step is to remove the trim (that yucky ribbon on the top part of the chair). I was lucky in that once I pulled with pliers it came off pretty easily. The bad part was that it left a lot of glue residue which was annoying but not too difficult to remove. I switched off between using my fingers, pliers, and a flat head screwdriver.
After you've removed the trim, comes the part that just plain sucks: removing the staples. You can get a staple remover, but I just used Ben's screwdriver to loosen the staple then pliers to pull them out and that worked fine. Let me give you a tip that I didn't read anywhere but should have picked up faster than I did - direct your screwdriver in the OPPOSITE direction of this photo:
When you're pulling out your staples, it can be tough and you'll put a lot of pressure on the chair, make sure the pressure you're applying is on the cushion, NOT the wood. I got a lot of little marks on my chair frame that I could have easily avoided if I had just re-positioned myself from the beginning. Once you've removed your staples and taken off your fabric, be sure to SAVE THE FABRIC. Don't throw anything away until the end because you need to trace the fabric to make sure you size everything correctly. All the tutorials say to label your fabric so you remember where everything goes...this is where my impatience comes into play. I just threw the fabric aside. Fortunately for me, I was reupholstering a relatively simple chair - if your chair is in any way more complicated than mine - LABEL YOUR FABRIC!
Here's a look at my naked chair:
The condition of the cushion batting and lining was still fully functional and lacking in overall ickyness so I only removed the top layer of fabric. But the part of the chair that your back touches was in rough shape, the batting was naaaaaaaaaaasty looking so I took it out. The unique part about this chair was that there was no cardboard layer, instead there was this very high quality fabric between the front and back layers. I kept this and tomorrow you'll see why!
Once you get to this point, the worst part is behind you. Removing the staples is tough, and seeing the ugly underbelly of your chair can be yucky. Tomorrow I'll be sharing the start of the fun part of reupholstering, including painting the chair and stuffing it with the comfiest batting and you'll start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
Hi friends! Welcome to the blog! I'm Mandy and I'm an artist, blogger & founder of the "Artists to Know" interview series. Here you'll find photos of my latest art adventures, furniture makeover projects & advice from successful artists!
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