This was a free chair that needed some LOVE to make it beautiful. A little bit of paint, fabric, shiny buttons and this no-sew makeover had a huge impact.
When looking at thrift stores or garage sales or Craigslist, I look for furniture with good style and shape. Usually, I do not start with furniture that is in this rough of shape but it was free and a bit of a challenge.
First, I removed the old fabric and padding (usually I keep the padding but I was not a fan of the bugs). This was a very old chair stuffed with organic materials (not allergy friendly). Dismantling primarily requires a pair of scissors to cut the fabric off. One of the arms was so loose it came off (it freaked my friend out who was watching). Thankfully, it is a chair and not a person!!! I used some wood glue to put it back together.
Reinforcing the sagging seat:
The springs in the chair were being held up by old fibrous strapping, like you see on the back of the chair. I decided the seat needed some serious reinforcement. I used a piece of newspaper to make a template, traced the size of the base of the chair onto a small piece of plywood. I had never used a jigsaw before and am quite scared of saw type power tools, but it was amazingly easy (and jigsaws are not expensive and may be my new best friend.) Then I flipped the chair upside-down and screwed the plywood onto the chair using a power drill screwdriver, which is a tool I rely on. Finally, the springs in the chair set on the plywood and there is no sagging.
The wood had old sticky finish in some places and no finish in others. I used a can of shiny white spray paint to quickly paint the wood arms and legs.
Cushions and stuffing:
I used some new batting on the back of the chair. I had bought a seat cushion for a stool at the thrift store, cut it open and wrapped it in some more batting to cover over the springs. Thus far Walmart has had the best prices on batting. I sometimes buy egg carton padding or a bed pillow from the bedding section because they are cheaper.
I bought a thick drapery panel at the thrift store to use as fabric (I liked the blue-grey color). Then it was time to cut the fabric and staple it to the seat, then trim the excess fabric. The back of the chair was stapled on the bottom and around the back on both sides. Then then the back was secured with shiny silver upholstery tacks. I also added a piece of thin sheet like fabric to the bottom to cover the plywood; I could have just as easily spray painted it.
The buttons were not necessary but I wanted the chair to have something a bit more special and I like SHINY. Before I used the upholstery tacks, I used a large upholstery needle about 8 inches in length to run some nylon string through the front of the chair into the fibrous straps on the inside of the chair. I did this 4 times for each button. I then quickly attached the buttons to the front of the chair to cover the nylon string, which was doing all the work (I glued the buttons on). Then I put the back fabric over the back of the chair and used the upholstery tacks along the two sides on the back. The nylon string for the buttons cannot be seen from the back of the chair.
I only spent a few dollars on materials. Some of the materials like a staple gun and an upholstery needle I use over and over on every project. I tend to buy buttons, nylon string, and batting in bulk.
- Staple gun and staples
- Thick fabric
- Spray paint
- Nylon string
- Upholstery needle
- Upholstery tacks
- Batting, seat cushion, stuffing
More Materials: (harder project with higher cost)
- Wood glue
- Electric screwdriver and screws