30 October 2011

Reupholstery Tutorial: Part II.

This weekend I was finally able to finish up that office chair reupholstery project that I started last week.  It's kind of made me want to reupholster every piece of furniture in my house.
Here is the second part of the reuphosltery tutorial which includes redoing the seat cushion and finishing up all of the chair's details.  In case you missed it, the first tutorial is here. 

Let's get started!

Don't forget!  The ugly office chair started out looking like this:

Seat Cushion:
Take apart the seat cushion from the base of the chair.

I found that a good way to store the hardware of the chair during the reupholstery process is in a plastic container.  You could also sort the pieces into bags and label them based on which section of the chair they belong to, depending on how complicated the construction of the chair is.  Anything that works for you is fine!  Just be sure not to lose any of the pieces.

Take off the covering on the underside of the chair by removing all of the staples with a staple remover, flathead screwdriver, or otherwise comparable staple-removing-device.  My chair was nice enough to have the front labeled for me! 

Once the underside cover has been removed, label the wood piece with an up arrow to signify the front of the chair.  This will make reconstruction a heckuva lot easier.

[Okay.  I'm guilty.  I took off the underside cover by cutting around the staples instead of removing them completely (which is why you can see portions of the the black mesh fabric in the picture above).  But this didn't save me any work because I still had to remove every staple anyway.  Grr....never does the lazy train pay off.

Next, remove the seat cushion by detaching the staples in the same manner as before.  As in the first tutorial, measure the length of these staples before throwing them away!  You'll want to use the same size staples when putting this back together with your new fabric.

After completely removing the seat cushion, label the inside with an up arrow to show the front of the chair.  You can write "Inside" or just simply remember that you labeled the inside of the chair.

Iron the seat cushion piece so that it lays flat.  Set it out on your fabric (both right sides up).  If you have stripes or a distinctive print, make sure the print will be going in the direction you want.

Trace around the seat cushion piece.  I like to give myself an extra 1/4" - 1/2" just for my own personal comfort.

Cut the new piece out and label the inside of the new seat fabric with an up arrow.  Make sure to use something that won't show through the other side.

Zigzag the edges of your new seat cushion cover.  You can do this by simply sewing a zigzag stitch on a basic (or fancy) sewing machine about 1/4" or so away from edges. This will help keep the fabric from unraveling.  Iron the seat cover flat so that you won't have any wrinkles in your new chair. 

Align the new seat cover around the seat cushion just like the old one had been aligned.  Pull the edges of the fabric tightly around the cushion, and staple the fabric to the underside of the seat.  Make sure to start and one edge and then do the opposite side in order to keep the cover as taut as possible.  Use the same staple size as the ones you removed from the seat earlier.

Staple the underside cover back on to the seat as well.

The seat cushion is now complete!  Hug your new chair cushion if you so feel the desire (I did).

Chair Details:
Unfortunately, that ugly blue-green color wasn't just confined to the fabric: it rudely assaulted a bunch of the chair fixtures as well.

Thank goodness for spray paint!  Prepare the pieces to be spray painted.  If any of the components are threaded,  it's best not to mess them up with spray paint.  Use some scotch tape to cover up the threads completely.

Lightly sand all of the metal pieces so that the spray paint will adhere better.

Follow the directions on the can of spray paint for the best results.  Also, it helps to use a can that was made later than 1991.  Spray away!

Finishing the Seat Rest:
These steps were rather specific to my office chair, but I'm including them with the hopes that they will give you a better idea of how to tackle a similar problem.

In the first tutorial, I finished the entire front of the seat rest and had everything the fabric ready to finish the back.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find short enough staples (1/8"), so I improvised.  Using longer staples as is could have been dangerous because they might have poked through the finished fabric.  To solve this issue, I bought some thin quilt batting to go between the seat rest wood piece and the finished fabric cover.
I cut out a shape matching the fabric cover, and then stapled everything onto the wood.

Then, I needed to cut holes in my seat cover.  Mark the circles onto the fabric and use a craft knife to cut them out.

Burn the edges of the circles with a lighter to ensure they won't fray.  Stand by a source of running water to be safe.  For a less dangerous (and less fun) approach, you can buy anti-fraying liquid product at craft stores and apply that to the circle edges.

Reconstruct the chair, and invite people to come see the great work you did.  As a bonus, for some reason homework now feels a little more exciting than yesterday!  Hooray thermodynamics, here I come!

1 comment:

  1. You did a fab job doing that and the colours really matches your wall now. Thanks for the tute, I will start on my kids' and finish off with my own. Heh...