DIY : New lease on life for these chairs.

One thing guaranteed with the expat life like mine is that we are extremely cautious of bringing home big ticket furniture pieces. I am talking about the likes of sofa, credenzas, dining set, Bedroom furniture etc. So when my thrift store dining chairs started getting dingier day by day I had to think long and hard as to what to do about them.

We didn't want to invest in new chairs and I didn't want to sell them in their poor state. We already had replaced the dining table from the set with an Ikea piece that matched the chairs. Now to find the chairs that matched the table! I didn't come across anything that fit our budget in craigslist either. Only thing left to do was to recover them.

A thing like re-upholstering could be really intimidating for someone just starting out on doing these things on their own. At the least it was so for me. For that just one reason, my new stapler sat inside the box for a while. I still was so unsure, I didn't even buy a fabric. But one fine afternoon, I simply decided that I am going to do it. Lucky for me, I had this curtain panel that I bought just because it was on clearance in Target. It turned out to be too dark for our small room, and sat in the closet waiting for another move. ( Lesson - do not buy things just because they are cheap)

From the time, this was actually done

So I decided to use it. If it doesn't work out - only this one panel is lost - which is a loss anyways. So I removed the chair seats from their base and set out.

The fabric that was originally on them was stapled on too. There were about fifty staples on each. And removing those from the cushions - no that was neither easy, nor pleasant. Before long I realized this wasn't going to be a short job.

Lesson Learned : You need patience - boat loads of them

But I pressed on and after spending about 4-5 hours, I had new looking chairs. I wouldn't say best of chairs - but definitely a bit chic and pleasant.

I was excited - so excited that I immediately posted a picture story on facebook to share with friends. Some of my friends liked it and some of them had nice words for me. Honestly, those encouraging words seeded this blog. Oh, what a set of chairs can accomplish !

I don't have step by step pictures of the procedure taken. In my defense, this was done long before the blog and more over I had zero confidence in what I was doing then. But I will try to explain as best as I can.

How-To :

Easiest way is to watch this TUTORIAL. I am still explaining because, what if they decide to remove it from the web later and I forget the details? (kidding - But video is definitely easier)

1) Remove the chair pad, the seat that you need to re-do. They would be screwed-in, in most cases.

2 ) Now remove the outer cover. Most of the cases the fabric would be stapled on. I am not sure if they glue them on professionally done chairs. If it is staples like me - be ready for two really tired hands at the end. If you are re-doing this only because you are tired of the same cover, then you can probably skip this - that is based on the thickness of the existing as well as the new fabric too. If they are very thick as in leather, then you may have to remove the cover anyways.

3) Once the outer fabric is removed, check the condition of the batting or the cushion part. If it is bad then you can replace this too. Most of the fabric stored will carry the batting. If not, home improvement stores will have them. I didn't need them because the batting was quite good underneath.

4) If you are replacing the batting, then cut out the batting at least half inch longer than size of chair pad on each side. This will ensure snug fit. Attach it to the pad with fabric glue.

5) Once the glue is thoroughly dry ( at least 1 or 2 hours), you are ready to attach the new fabric to the seats. Cut out the fabric two inches longer on every side. Put the fabric face down and place the pad on top. Now stretch the fabric tightly with one hand and put the staples on with the stapler.

Most effective way to stretch & staple

6) Finish the sides first leaving the corners to the end. There are a number of ways to do the corners. You can fold over neatly as the corner guides you and put a staple on it. Since my stapler wasn't that strong, I folded the corner edge and stapled it first. Then folded the left over part almost perpendicular to the sides. But don't worry - follow what is convenient to you. You can even cut the fabric on the sides and then fold over.

7) Once done, it is better to cut the extra seam to have a cleaner look.

Once stapled and fabric trimmed, it will look like this.

8) Re-attach the seat pad back to the chair base and Ta-da...enjoy your new-looking chair.

P.S : That was a time I neither thought of doing any serious DIY nor I had any tools other than the basic screw driver and hammer. So I checked out a few YouTube tutorials and scoured Lowes and Home Depot to find an appropriate Stapler. Not that I did find one, I was an idiot who went for the cheapest of the upholstery stapler in town - even at $12 that did feel to be splurge. If you are newly buying - Buy a heavy duty, powerful Stapler. It is handy in many upholstery jobs - even fixing up damages. For reference I bought this one. ( I don't recommend this)

Wish you happy weekend friends - Ours is filled with sweets, cakes and feast - Yay to sweet little get-togethers.

See you soon.

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