A Chair Makeover – Animal Style

Today I’m super excited to share a project I’ve been working on for a few days–my very first reupholstery project!  Woo hoo!  About three years ago, I purchased two of these chairs off Craigslist for $20 each.  I had really good intentions, but I was also very, very scared to screw them up.  So…  I put them in a corner of my family room (which Mr. TypeTwoFun HATED), and let them sit for a few years.

About a month ago, TaterTot was complaining about how I always work on Bug’s room, and I never do projects for hers.  I placated her with a PB Teen magazine, and told her to put together some ideas for what she wanted.  Well, if you remember the glamour girl art I made for TaterTot last month, you know her tastes are quite different from Bug’s.  This is what she picked out for her reading corner…


Zebra Ooh La La Armchair courtesy of PB Teen

…only at $349 (on SALE), there was NO WAY she was getting this chair.  After thinking it over for a few minutes, I realized that my ugly family room chairs just might be a good alternative, but I’d have to tackle my fears.  So searched the Internet for some good reupholstery tips,  grabbed a pair of needle-nose pliers, and started ripping one chair apart.

Once I got the trim off the first chair, I realized that whoever upholstered these in the first place, actually knew what they were doing.  There were upholstery tacks where I expected staples.  Every tutorial I’d ever seen on the Internet, explained how to remove staples.  I used a screwdriver and the back of a hammer and attempted to get these out.  About 30 minutes later, I had removed 3 tacks.  Ugh.  I was so frustrated that I set the chair back in the living room and worked on another project.

A few days later, I was at Home Depot, and I saw a tack puller!  I grabbed it and went home to try it out.  Within 30 minutes, I had the old upholstery completely removed.  Easy peasy!

Once I had the old upholstery removed, I washed the frame down with some Dawn dish soap and water.  Then, once it was dry, I wiped it down with sander deglosser.  I didn’t even sand the thing.  I used Kilz primer and Rustoleum spray paint to paint the frame.

Once the primer was on, I realized that I wasn’t fond of the white color.  TaterTot is not the neatest child around, and I knew that white would just look dirty in her room.  We decided to paint the frame black instead.  That’s the great thing about DIY!  You can customize things to your liking.  The PB Teen chair didn’t come in black, so we would have been stuck with white.

While the paint was drying, I used the old upholstery to make a pattern for my chair.  I bought some canvas duck cloth in a zebra pattern from Hobby Lobby.  Now, I’m in no way an expert on reupholstery, so I’ll leave the tutorials on that subject to the pros.  I really relied on Design Intervention’s Reupholstery 101 tutorial for a lot of my information.  Her tutorial is fabulous, and I referred to it often.

I did, however, discover something I hadn’t seen mentioned before–an amazing little secret to perfectly sharp folds on my upholstery.  When I was taking apart my chair, I noticed the upholsterer had used cardboard in certain places.  I looked it up and discovered it was upholstery tack strip.  I found my roll at JoAnn’s for $11.99, and I used my 40% off coupon.  This stuff was a lifesaver!

This is where I used it on my chair.  It prevented my fabric from puckering between staples and gave me a nice sharp edge when I folded my material back over it.  You can see it on the finished product.

The last thing I wanted to mention was that I used a double welt cord to hide my staples once the chair was all put together.  Centsational Girl has a great tutorial on how to make double welt trim if you don’t have a double welt foot for your machine.

Once you’ve made your trim, you hot glue it over your raw edges and staples to give it a finished look.  It worked perfectly!

And here’s the finished chair in TaterTot’s reading corner.  I honestly can’t believe how easy this reupholstery thing is.  The hardest part was painting the chair frame.  If you’ve been dreading it, like I was, give it a try!  You might just be pleasantly surprised once you get started!

Have a great weekend!



Linking up to…

Miss Mustard Seed | 30 Handmade Days | Be Different Act Normal | The Shabby Nest | I {Heart} Naptime | Tatertots and Jello | The 36th Avenue | Skip to My Lou | Today’s Creative Blog | Someday Crafts | Domestically Speaking | My Repurposed Life | The Shabby Creek Cottage