UPHOLSTERING THE ARMCHAIR

September 19, 2014

You are now reading part 3/4 of our first attempt to ever upholster anything. And like the ambitious soul I am, I’ve (a bit foolishly) chosen a very hard task for my maiden voyage.

Here you can read part one and part two.

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We had the chair completely stripped down and were ready to place fluffy layers of pure, white, clean padding onto it’s old wood frame. This was the point where I needed to just pause, take a deep breath and start stapling stuff on instead of worrying or feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing. Once I’d stapled a few pieces on I quickly felt relief. “Hey, I’m actually doing this,” said myself. Most steps of upholstery are really forgiving because staples are 100% removable. And the stuff won’t even been seen, so that’s a great phase to get your sea legs. I mean, upholstery legs? When you think about how big the whole task is, it is daunting. But I just took it one step at a time.

Next, we had the piece of wood cut to replace all the springs and woven material in the seat. I sliced up some thick foam to the same shape and used spray glue to adhere it to the wood.

UPHOLSTERING THE ARMCHAIR from Rachel Schultz

We wrapped it in another layer of batting before adding the fabric. Dave was totally the MVP of this whole project. To upholster things, you have to be pretty strong. One, to manipulate and pull the fabric just where you want it. And two, if you don’t have an air compressed staple gun (we don’t) you have to give a bit of oomph to get the staples in well (depending on the type of wood you’re going into).

Don’t get me wrong, a girl could probably do this project by herself. But a very pregnant, kind of pansy girl could not.

UPHOLSTERING THE ARMCHAIR from Rachel Schultz

A tip we found really helpful: use your palms instead of finger tips when spreading fabric so as to prevent dimpling. 

The place we hit a roadblock was tufting. I was so proud of myself for buying a little button kit and learning to make buttons. Only to realize when I went to begin the tufting that we no longer had a wood base or thick enough foam to secure the tufts.

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UPHOLSTERING THE ARMCHAIR from Rachel Schultz

You can see there that our backing is only sheer padding, so there’s nothing to anchor the tufts and well, tuft them. We would have had to add a board or some thick foam, so I chose to just skip our buttons. A little sad, but I was cutting myself so much slack from perfection on this project.

We continued to work on the chair and apply fabric a little at a time most weeknights. Upholstering can really be a puzzle, so we found it was good to just work on it a little at a time a then put it away for a while.

And now! We are what I would call 90% done. Look at this!

UPHOLSTERING THE ARMCHAIR from Rachel Schultz

I never thought this day would come. I’m kind of kidding because really as described above, David ended up being the main workhorse. But I watched him work and felt really emotionally invested the whole time so that’s totally 50/50, right?

The remaining 10% is finishing the staples around the curve of the arms and, of course, TRIM to cover all those staples.

We’re in a dangerous spot right now when you’re so close to being done with a project you’ve kind of lost the fire under you to knock out that last little bit. And it’s functional so it’s easier to not feel the urgency to see it to completion. We’ll see how long it takes for me to finally put this one to bed.

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Comments

  • I am about to take on upholstering a chair almsot identical to this myself. This definitely showed me that its possible, picture by picture, and has brought some excitement back to the project! Thank you for the detailed post!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Hope it goes well, Courtney!

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