Friday, July 09, 2010

Recycling Furniture - Part 2

The scariest part of reupholstering your own furniture is the day you take it apart to start the project and the moment you commit and put scissors to the new fabric.

Quality fabric is an investment and we calculated our needs pretty close. When you cut the fabric you don’t want to make any mistakes. We used the old fabric removed from one of the chairs as our pattern plus an additional 1.5-2 inches along all edges. You want to have enough fabric to hold on to and pull it, and you will trim off excess. Also remember that you will need extra fabric if there is a specific pattern to the material. The new fabric had a definite pattern and we wanted to make sure that the diamond shapes were always going the same way.

We started with the chair seats because they seemed the most straightforward. We had redone the support of the chair seat with jute webbing. Here you can see the fabric placed upside down, the new layer of foam (white) and then the wooden seat frame with the jute webbing and the remnants of the old fabric that was cut off (blue).

Recovering requires pulling the fabric snug before you staple it down. As novices, this was a two person job. I pulled the fabric tight and my husband manned the electric staple gun. We started at the back edge then pulled the opposite side taut, the front, then the sides, always working in opposition. We left the corners and then went back to them. Each corner was neatly folded, like wrapping a package.

We had carefully removed the black fabric from the underside of the chairs and saved it because it was still in good shape. Stapling it back in place finished the chair seats.

Next we took on the padded chair backs. We added new batting to the front of the chairs and carefully stapled the fabric on in the same way that the original fabric had been placed. It took four hands to keep the fabric smooth and tight, easing it over the rounded corners. The back was recovered last. We replaced the 1/4” foam, then pulled the fabric firmly and stapled it down.

The last step was folding over the fabric to make a smooth edge at the bottom of the chair back.

The final step was putting the back in place and attaching the seat.

It took weeks to take all of the chairs apart and remove the old fabric and staples. An afternoon to clean the wooden frames. An afternoon to redo the seat webbing and a day to upholster with the new fabric.

Our dining room chairs are beautiful and comfortable again. They look like new and we did it all ourselves! We saved money and natural resources and tried to reduce the amount of materials that were chemically treated. Best of all, we have a sense of accomplishment.


Mary Mollica, Owner & Artist of The Decorative Paintbrush said...

Hi! I stumbled across you blog today in search of other like minded people. I redo/recycle furniture into functional pieces of art and thought, just maybe, you would be interested in taking a look (or even following) my blog? It's It has before and after pics, as well as ideas for redo's...I'm trying to get my viewership up because I would like to publish a book and I need to show a publisher that I actually have an "audience" LOL! Thanks for your time, hope you will consider it-Mary

Lawrence Halter said...

Hi Keri!

The good thing in buying furniture which is of high quality is that it will last longer. My dad fixed our chairs last week. The legs and the body were made from bronze. Up to now, they're still useful. I think the brass materials came from one of the best brass manufacturers because they are really quality. My dad only replaced the new foams and fabric on our chairs.