Monday, October 15, 2012

Cane Chair Makeover - Reveal

During that week of having no computer access at home, I also finished up my chair makeover.  Remember this beast?

Ugly, right?! Right. But when I saw it at the thrift store, I actually fell in love and knew it had potential.  I hauled it home and started the demo right away.  Unfortunately, because of the computer crash, I lost all of the pictures I took of the beginning of the process.  I will try to explain the steps though, in case any of you want to tackle your own reupholstering project.  (It's fun and pretty easy I promise!)

First, I pulled the foam out of the removable cushion and was happy to find it in decent condition.  Foam is expensive and I didn't want to have to buy a new cushion core so I reused this one. 

Then I turned the chair over and unscrewed the seat frame from the chair frame.  I pulled off all the fabric and old batting.  This step requires some good needle nose pliers, a flathead screwdriver, and a hammer for pulling out old staples.  I also ripped off the cording around the back of the chair and pulled off the fabric, batting, foam and chipboard.  I saved the foam from the back as well.

The next step was giving the chair a coat of primer.  I wanted to spray paint the chair so I used spray primer, too. The key to spray painting is to do many light coats instead of a few heavy coats (you'll avoid drips this way).

 After the primer was dry, I began the process of painting.   I chose to use Rust-oleum's Heirloom White that I got at Home Depot.   I had to do several coats to make sure I got in all the nooks and crannies of the caning and detail on the frame.  I recommend letting your paint cure for several days before attempting to reassemble your chair.  Otherwise you will end up chipping the paint, like I did. 


Now it was time to reupholster the chair.  First I used batting to fill the holes from the tufting in the existing foam. 

I used the foam to make a stencil on the fabric, cut that out and stapled it on to the back of the chair.  I also used the pattern to cut out some new batting and cardboard to give the back some more rigidity. 

Precious was oh so helpful during this step.
 Here you can see how I layered the components.  The fabric is stapled facing the back of the chair, then batting, then cardboard, then the foam.  I added one more layer of batting and then put the fabric on top and stapled it all down making sure to pull tight and get rid of all the wrinkles.  This was probably the most challenging part because I kept getting too close to the inside edge and my staples would go through the frame and poke out the backside.  I ended up having to touch up a few spots with some paint.

I did basically the same thing with the seat cushion.  Foam, batting and then fabric and stapled all that to the frame.  The original chair had a removable seat cushion, but I am not that advanced on the sewing machine yet, so I just put the original foam right on top of the springs and stapled it all together.

I reattached the seat to the chair frame and it started to look like a chair again!  Next I attached mdouble cord welting with some hot glue to the back of the frame to hide my staples.  I also added it between the seat cushion and the chair frame to finish it off.  I explained the sewing process in this post.

And after a few paint touch ups, she was all done! What do you think of the transformation? I love it!  

I've linked this post to:
TDC Before and After


  1. What a wonderful make over! I have a few chairs out in the garage I need to get working on and thus you have inspired me. Thanx for coming to THT.

  2. This turned out so lovely! Well done! I'm featuring it over on this weeks All Star Block Party!

  3. Absolutely stunning! Totally gorgeous redo and the throw pillow accents so well!

  4. Lovely chair! Is the cardboard (for the back of the chair) a piece of box cardboard or chipboard or something else and where could we get it? Thanks!!