If you have the time and determination, you can reupholster anything. For a simple chair take a look at my previous article “Upholstery Tutorial on A Chair”. Now for a more complicated upholstery project, I recovered this French Baroque chair. Below you will find the step-by-step photo tutorial with the method I used. I’m not a professional when it comes to upholstery, but I try to do my best.
I found it at a local antique mall and thought “I can do that.” It looked simple enough. Slightly more complicated, but doable.
I began simply by carefully pulling off the old trim and fabric:
And lots of little upholstery tacks came off too:
I was not going to let this project intimidate me. No way was this chair going to win. Luckily, the batting underneath was in decent shape, but I can testify that this was about the 10th time this chair had been reupholstered. There were layers of upholstery tack holes all the way around the chair.
Once I had all of the old fabric removed, which I saved to use as patterns to cut out my new fabric, I painted the chair (in Old White Chalk Paint), distressed it in all of the right places, and then coated it in Minwax Paste Wax. The fabric I chose to recover this chair with is actually a drop cloth linen. It looks a lot like the old feed sack material to me and I love it! For the trim, I used an off white trim that I purchased from Hobby Lobby.
Once I had the fabric cut, I held it up to make sure it would fit before I began nailing it in. It was okay that I had excess fabric. I could always cut it later. It’s better to have more than you need. You don’t want to start nailing in the tacks to discover you’re almost done but just can’t quite get that last little section to stretch far enough. You can always trim, but you can’t add, fabric.
This is what the front of the chair looked like after tacking and trimming.
Here is a close up shot of all of the little upholstery tacks it took to get the fabric on the back of the chair securely in place. It is not difficult but is tedious and time-consuming.
I’m sure there is a professional upholsterer out there who would see this and cringe. It was very difficult to place the tacks in any sort of orderly fashion because, as I stated earlier, this chair was definitely not an upholstery virgin. This chair is solid wood and very old. It had been around the block a few times!
Once I was satisfied that I had placed enough tacks into the fabric and chair to hold it securely, I simply hot glued the trim carefully over the tacks and fabric edge to cover them nicely. You can see a close up of the trim in the photo below.
The seat was no different than the back of the chair. I had to add some extra batting to the seat in a few places to make it round again because some of the old batting was in rough shape. Once I had the seat rounded to my liking, had the pattern for my fabric cut out, I placed it on the seat. I nailed in North, South, East and West spots first to make sure the amount of fabric I had cut was going to work. And it was perfect. So I starting nailing in tack after tack after tack after tack. There must be about 100 tacks on this seat bottom, but it’s securely in place, I can promise you that. Once I had the fabric secure with all of those darn little tacks, I once again hot glued the trim around the perimeter of the seat.
Again, I’m sure a professional upholsterer would gasp if they looked at it, but I think it turned out really well for a stay-at-home DIY-er. And you could do this too! If you have any questions after reading this, please let me know.