Entries Tagged as 'DIY projects'

How to Upholster a Chair (Part 2)




Ever wonder how to reupholster a chair seat so that it feels cushy and brand new, not saggy or springy? After working on a few chairs and reading tons of tutorials I’ve learned a thing or two about putting together a nice soft seat. Upholstery can be totally daunting and scary if you’ve never done it before. The secret to a nice soft seat is in the layers that cover the support, whether it be coil springs, zig zag springs or no springs at all. This method will add a little cush to the tush and look beautiful in the process.

If you missed the first part of the tutorial be sure to check out part 1 of How to Upholster a Chair Seat here. How-to-upholster-a-chair-pa

Now for the part where it all comes back together and starts to look like a chair again. When last we left off we just finished putting the batting onto the chair seat. The batting is the last step before the your fabric goes on!


Use the old fabric you saved during the removal process as a pattern for your new fabric. If your fabric has a pattern be sure to center it before cutting it out. I like to cut the fabric a touch larger than the pattern so I have a little wiggle room for adjustment. Center your fabric onto the seat and cut around the legs using the  same “Y” method I showed you for the burlap and batting layers. This time it’s VERY important not to cut too far. Be sure to go slow and snip a little at a time.


Here’s where the top layer differs from the previous layers. Around the legs the sides will look something like the picture above. That slit was formed when you cut the “Y shape. Now it’s time to fix that up and make a nice, clean, finished seam.


Start by folding under the raw edges of your fabric that wrap around the legs.


Next cut another piece of cheap oakley sunglasses fabric, this piece will lay underneath the top layer, if you have a pattern be sure to match it up. Fold under your top edge and tack to hold into place with a few staples. Be sure to clip off any excessive amount of fabric so as not to add too much bulk.


Wrap your top layer around tightly and secure with staples or upholstery tacks underneath the chair. The will hold the underneath piece in snugly and it shouldn’t move. See how matching the fabric pattern makes the seam almost disappear? Little details like these all help to achieve professional looking results. Once you’re finished move over to the other side and do it again. You should almost be a professional by now!


Now that the chair legs are taken care of it’s time to move onto the front. Work out from the center and begin stapling, pulling tightly and evenly as you go.


As you get to the corner gently snip up into your fabric. Be careful not to snip too far. You only want to go as high as the finished portion of your leg. Next you’re going to turn under the portion to the left of the scissor in the above photo so clip off any excess that’ll make it too hard to turn under. It’ll make sense in a second.


Now you can staple all the way up to the corner. and roll under that little portion that’s left after you clipped.


Roll under and wrap it around the chair leg, securing with a staple in the corner. This staple will get covered up in a second. Like you’re wrapping a present or making a hospital corner on your bed fold down your fabric from the top. It’ll make a nice neat corner.


You’ll probably notice depending on the weight of the fabric you choose extra bunching underneath. Trim away any excess fabric that won’t be seen. It’ll help your folder lay nice and flat.


Do the same thing as you did before and cut up to the top of the finished portion of the leg and roll under around the chair leg, securing on top with a decorative upholstery nail. Continue working all the way around your chair pulling, folding and tucking as you go.


Before you know it you’ll have a completely reupholstered chair.


Things to remember

  • Go slow it’s easy to get carried away and want to get it done quickly. Slow and steady wins the race in upholstery.
  • Don’t be afraid to pull out a row of staples if something doesn’t feel right.
  • It’s ok to snip away some of the underneath fabric when you make your corners. It helps to remove the excess and lets your corners lay flat in the end.
  • Be sure to center and line up your patterns.

Happy upholstering!

Valentine’s Day Garland




Because Valentine’s Day is just two days away I thought it would be fun to do just a little Valentine decorating. Usually I’m not one for making a big deal out of all of the smaller holidays but as Nikolas gets older he really enjoys sitting near me while I do projects and helping where he can. This project was right up his alley. He helped sort and count out the hearts as I cut them. This was really simple and fun.



  • Red and pink construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Fishing line

First cut out several red and pink hearts from the construction paper in varying sizes. I was going for home made so I folded the paper in half and cut the hearts without a pattern, just like I used to do in art class in elementary school.


Next cut a length of fishing line or clear thread, lay your hearts out varying the sizes and colors.


Put a little dab of hot glue onto the back of each paper heart and lay your fishing line into the glue allowing it to cool. Simple!


Hang on the wall with thumb tacks and enjoy!

How to Upholster a Chair (Part 1)




Ever wonder how to reupholster a chair seat so that it feels cushy and brand new, not saggy or springy? After working on a few chairs and reading tons of tutorials I’ve learned a thing or two about putting together a nice soft seat. Upholstery can be totally daunting and scary if you’ve never done it before. The secret to a nice soft seat is in the layers that cover the support, whether it be coil springs, zig zag springs or no springs at all. This method will add a little cush to the tush and look beautiful in the process.


I wanted to add a lot of pictures to help you visualize how to upholster a chair seat. I’m breaking it up into tow posts so I really go into detail without (hopefully) making your eyes glaze over. This time we’ll cover how to add new foam and batting to your seats, basically the guts of the chair. Next time we’ll go over how to do the fabric.

For any upholstery project here are the materials I like to use.

  • Upholstery tacks
  • Decorative nail head tacks
  • Tack hammer
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun and staples
  • 2 inch foam (you can get thicker or thinner foam depending on the seat)
  • Burlap
  • Spray adhesive
  • Dacron batting


Strip your chair frame by turning it upside down and removing all of the fabric and staples. There’s no real finesse here other than a lot of pulling yanking and plain old elbow grease. I also try and save my fabric to use as a pattern later. If the staples are really stubborn try prying a Ray Ban outlet flat head screw driver underneath and use a little leverage to help loosen things up a bit. Pliers are also your best friend at this step, they’ll help you to yank on the fabric and pull out stubborn staples where need be. Make sure you remove ALL of the staples. It’s my least favorite, kinda tedious but crucial step and will make a big difference in the end.

If your chair has a wood frame like mine and you want to paint, now is the time to do it. Lightly sand, prime and paint the frame. Even though the paint is dry to the touch in a few hours it really take a few days for it to become totally cured and more durable. Set it aside and wait for a couple of days. You’ll be turning the frame upside-down and you don’t want to ruin your brand new paint job by moving to quick.


When I I stripped my chair down I didn’t remove burlap that was covering the springs, it was in nice shape so I left it. If you need remove everything all the way to the springs springs start by stapling a layer of burlap over the top and stapling all around the top edge to completely cover the springs.


Next take your 2 inch thick piece of foam. Attach four wide strips of burlap using spray adhesive to each side. Make sure the strips are stuck good and tight and spray the adhesive outside. A word of warning, everything the spray adhesive touches will become tacky, it’s stinky and tends to fly everywhere. defiantly spray it outside in a well ventilated area.

How-to-Upholster-a-Chair-3 Once the burlap has had a chance to adhere to the foam it’s time to put your foam onto the seat. You can cut the foam with a serrated bread knife to the exact size of the chair of it’s big enough.  In this case my foam wasn’t quite large enough for that, so I stuffed batting tightly all along the edges. It worked just as well.


Now that the foam is on top of your seat you’ll need to cut out an opening for the legs of the chair so that the burlap will fit around nicely. Start by folding your burlap close to the chair leg. Then cut a “Y” shape into so that the two points of the “Y” just touch the outside corners of the leg.


Here’s a little drawing to help you visualize how the cut should go. Make sure you go slow and not cut too much. Sometimes I’ll even draw the Y right onto the fabric so I know where to cut. Then pull the burlap through and tuck it around the legs


When you have all four of the leg holes cut out you can start stapling the burlap. Start in the center and put a few staples, then move to the opposite side’s center, pull tight and staple a few more.


Keep going back and forth pulling tight and even until the burlap is secured all the way around the chair.


This will help shape the chair seat and give you a nice crown to the seat. Once the burlap is all secure nice and tight it’s time for a layer of batting.


Cut a generous size piece of batting and lay it onto your seat. Cut the same “Y” shape around each leg as you did with the burlap. You can see here that I drew the Y right onto the piece of batting. You’ll never see it and it’s very helpful. Also it makes good practice for when you’ll need to do this step with your fabric.


Now here’s were stapling the batting differs from the previous step. Batting is made up of multiple layers you’ll need to pull to separate your the top layer of batting from the bottom.

How-to-Upholster-a-Chair-9 Staple only the bottom layer to the chair but not the top, the same way you did with the burlap. Don’t tug as tightly on the batting as you did the burlap, since the burlap should be holding it’s the foam in place. You want the batting to be smooth and free of bumps. How-to-Upholster-a-Chair-10

Once your finished let the top part of the batting fall down around the chair. At this point if you have too much batting you can trim the excess so it only just falls below your chair line.

Now it’s time for the top fabric which I’ll be covering later in the week!

PS: Yes I always reupholster chairs in my living room. Especially when it’s too cold to go outside. 😉

Update: Check out part 2 of our How to Upholster a Chair tutorial here.

Linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After Party

Our New Secretary



Last week I mentioned that we were hoping to score a great deal on craigslist. It all happened while I was browsing for nothing in particular. We had just sold the buffet piece we recently refinished and I was on the lookout for the next project. My favorite categories to browse for furniture are “Furniture by Owner” and “Antiques” because  a lot of people post interchangeably in those two places. I was just casually looking while on the phone doing 100 hundred other things.


I found a beautiful secretary at an unbeatable price and jumped on the opportunity. I emailed the seller and held my breath that we’d be one of the first ones that would contact her. She called me back almost immediately and I asked her a few questions. After chatting with her for a few minutes I learned that her and her husband were remodeling cheap oakley sunglasses their house and looking for a change of decor. She loved the piece but was looking for a fresh start so she was selling off some of her old pieces.

I asked if she would be willing to wait until that evening (I needed Bryan to get home from work so we could go look at it together). She was OK with that so I set up a time to meet that night at 7:30.


When I saw the posting I originally intended to fix it up and resell it. I thought that if the finish wasn’t that great I could paint it kind of like this piece. But when we got there the piece was even more beautiful in person than in the listing. I think it’s too nice as is to paint it. The finish and color are just beautiful.

The secretary comes apart in 2 pieces and there are a few scratches on the top from where the piece has been slid on and off over the years. They scratches are mostly hidden. I have a few ideas on how to fix it without refinishing the whole piece but I may just leave it since they’re not that noticeable.


When we got it home I couldn’t resist adding some pretty stuff to the top shelves. I’m really loving how it looks in the room and the height is right. That wall needed a nice tall piece to help balance it out visually. I still need to take a few pictures of it in the whole room. But since the living room is a disaster of toys right now that will have to wait for another day.

Secretary-Collage-2I have to giggle because I put the decanters and Jack Daniels in the secretary for no other reason than I thought they looked pretty. It’s rather convenient though, have a hard day at work? why not know back a few? Haha, I’m kidding..sort of.

It’s so pretty I may just end up keeping this piece for myself.


Hmmm, decisions…

New Year…Old Projects



It’s a new year and time to dust off some old projects that I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while and start them up again.

Believe it or not I’m a pretty big procrastinator when it comes to certain things. You can’t even imagine how many things go unfinished around here, including a large amount of molding that needs to have nail holes patched and paint! So my motto for this year (or at least the rest of January) is Just Do It Already!

Cane Back Chairs

While my “Just Do It Already!” mindset is freash in my brain and I’m still committed to reforming my procrastinating ways does anyone remember these cane chairs I bought waaaaay back in June? Well my little self imposed challenge has begun and I’m determined to check this off the old to-do list ASAP.

I even bought some fabric ages ago that I am in love with and am dying to get these finished? Curious to see a sneak peak?

Casablanca Geo, Citrine

It’s a gorgeous geometric upholstery fabric that is a a little more modern which I think is just what this chair is looking for. I’ve already spray painted the frames so they’re looking new and shiny. I have yet to take some pictures so you’ll all have to wait for the big reveal to check them out.

And with that I’m about to sign off for the weekend but before I go does anyone else have any self imposed challenges to get yourself to stop procrastinating and start doing? Any New Years resolutions your working hard at? Spill the beans in the comments.

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