Friday, September 14, 2012


I am so excited to share my latest project with you!  Yes, I actually reupholstered a wing-back chair, and I have the scars to prove it.  This was something I had wanted to do for a while - one, because I knew we could save a ton of money; and two, because it is kind of a right-of-passage project.  It's like saying "Hey world, give me your best shot.  I can reupholster a chair - I can handle anything you've got."  It is not perfect, but I LOVE it.  This chair and I have bonded.

I am by no means a professional at this, and if I did it again (which will probably never happen) I'm sure I could work out a few kinks, but I wanted to provide a couple sources that helped me.  So to start out with, here is what the chair originally looked like.

It took several months of hunting, but we finally found this chair for $15 at a thrift store.  It took so long to find because while wingback chairs are fairly easy to find at thrift stores, they usually are priced between $30-$40.  The foam, springs, and frame were all in good condition (very important, because those things are all difficult and expensive to fix), it just had some pretty big stains and scratches on the wood (I'll not mention how ugly it was - I'm sure it was in style at some point in time). 

So first off, become very good friends with a flat head screwdriver and a pair of pliers.  They will save you lots of grief and your manicure.  Use them to take out all the staples, and I mean ALL the staples.  You'll understand when you get in there - just when you think you've got them all, you lift a piece of fabric, and there are 20 more!  Pay attention as you take pieces off, and do some labeling, because you'll be putting things back on the way they came off.  Strip the chair down until you have the frame with the foam and batting left.  I saved everything that I took off except the staples.  The fabric I used as pattern pieces, and then I reused the cording, cardboard strips, and ply-grip.  I'm sure professional upholsterers wouldn't approve, but it saved me a lot of money, and it worked fine.  If you would prefer to start with new, diyupholsterysupply has everything you'll need, and a lot more.  They also have some very helpful videos on YouTube.  We found their videos on doing the back of the chair, and the ply-grip especially helpful.

The fabric is going to be the biggest expense of this project.  We have a discount fabric store here in Boise, where I found fabric for $3 a yard (yeah!) - I got 6 yards and had a little leftover, so the fabric was $20 with tax.  The only other expenses I had were $10 for batting (the seat cushion and back needed a little extra padding), and $15 for a new staple gun and staples (your staple gun will become your new best friend). So final cost was $60 and - well, too many hours.  At the beginning I was keeping count, but I lost track way back at 20 hours.  It basically took me 3 weeks, with lots of "life" happening in there as well.  Still, so worth it!

Resources: diyupholsterysupply
Skills required: intermediate machine sewing, patience, and a can-do attitude!
Approximate time to craft*:  um, I'm going to skip this one this time
Approximate cost for supplies*: $60-$200
*Please remember that these are just approximations. CopyCrafts makes no guarantee of their accuracy.

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