This is a much simpler reupholstery project than the ottoman we did recently, so I’m hoping this will illustrate the basic concepts in a simpler way. This used to be an office chair, then the back broke off. Now it’s a stool, and the vinyl is going to bits. Hubby and I have our computers set up next to each other on a long desk, so you have to walk past one of us to get to the other computer. Having a full-size desk chair in that narrow space is a pain, but this little guy fits right under the desk:
You will need, scissors, staple gun, and some cah-LASSY fabric, like leopard print:
For this small piece, I just flipped it over onto the fabric:
And cut around it:
The seat has rounded corners, so to make sure everything stays even, we fold it over on either side, staple in place, then do the other two sides. I hope I’m explaining this well!
Having the middle of each side anchored makes it much easier to do the gathers on the corners.
Here’s the finished under-side:
And the finished top. The fabric has that fur texture, which is why it looks like it has stripes in this picture, but it doesn’t. That’s just the light.
If you wanted to be REALLY clever, you could make a cover that goes on and off for cleaning. I don’t know how to deal with elastic, so I just did it this way. This would be a good place to use a t-shirt you really like, but doesn’t fit also. I love projects like this, because they add those little unique, personalized touches to your home. Plus, I get to keep a piece of furniture that fits my needs already, rather than buying something new.
The people in our neighborhood are either way more well off than we are, or they don’t understand what Goodwill is. Either way, they put some AWESOME stuff out for Big Trash Day. I kid you not, I saw a chaise lounge out there not too long ago, but it was gone before I got home from work.
Anyway, Hubby and I collect things we think are still good, and either keep them for ourselves, or donate them to Goodwill for a nice tax deduction. Our latest acquisition was this massive, round ottoman. I got Flapjack on it for scale:
We decided to recover it completely. This is going to be a long “How To” post, so get ready. First, we wanted to rip off the fabric that was already on it. It was torn up, and ugly, so we just started pulling.
The whole thing was held together with hundreds of massive staples:
Hubby had the idea to use the back of the hammer to pull them out.
We still ended up with a few strays, but the needle nose pliers took care of them. If you have any you can’t pul out, you can always snap off as much as possible, then hammer down the rest so you don’t have any pokey-bits.
My wonderful staple gun is all I need at this point.
This is the fabric we chose to cover it in. It’s a faux-quilt print, with lots of asian-esque designs. We measured the whole ottoman, and got a high-thread-count, and hopefully durable fabric. We spent about $35, so this is not really free furniture anymore. If it had been smaller, it would obviously have been cheaper.
We had to take two sections and sew it together down the middle to cover the whole top. There’s actually a seam running right down the middle, but because of the pattern in the fabric you can’t even tell. I used a sewing machine to join the two pieces. We then draped the big piece over the top, and made sure the seam was centered.
We covered the ottoman in 2 sections: the top first, and then the lower half, almost as though we were putting a skirt on it. I’ll explain the top half first:
Round furniture can be complicated because you have to pleat the fabric around the piece. We made it simple by stapling at first in one spot, then directly opposite to anchor the fabric in place, effectively dividing the ottoman in half. In the middle of each of those halves, we stapled again opposite each other, so that the piece was now divided into quarters. That means you only have to pay attention to making the pleats even in one section at a time, instead of the whole thing at once.
As I was going around stapling, I was trimming off excess very roughly, and tucking the bottom edge under. I stapled through both layers of fabric to give it more strength.
For the lower half, we measured all the way around the ottoman, and the length from the middle to the floor. We were able to cut the fabric in half length-wise, and then I use the sewing machine again. I folded what was going to be the top edge down, and down again, and sewed through it twice (which is what you see at the bottom of the picture:
We put the “skirt” on the ottoman upside down, which is what you’re seeing above. I stapled through the hemmed part, again, to give it extra strength. Once I had done this all the way around, we folded the skirt down, so the staples are all completely hidden. Here’s how it looked at that point:
The entire thing is basically hollow, and we didn’t want all of our crazy pets blimbing in there and destroying it from within. We stapled an old sheet across the bottom, and cut off the extra.
We stapled it fairly close to the middle of the wood on the bottom, so we could layer the main fabric over-top.
You can see here the ottoman has tiny legs, which I just stapled around on the bottom. They are removable, and I didn’t want to impede that process in case we need to take them off and put them back in the future.
We did all the pleating around the bottom section the same way as the top: anchor the fabric in fourths, then take one section at a time. It looks so much better now, and we had fun working on it. It seems like a lot of steps, but it’s really fairly straight-forward. You might try it on a smaller piece for your first time, though.
As you guys are soon going to notice, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Re-Nest.com. I have a love/hate relationship with this site. First of all, they are one of those purveyors of the buy-this-super-expensive-thing-or-you-will-kill-the-planet philosophy. On the other hand, they do have some cool articles, pretty pictures, and good DIY ideas. Then again, many of their “articles” are simply links to other websites, which makes me crazy.
They have one regular article where they show “scavenged” items from around the country. Of the few I looked at, the cost was at least $100. How is that scavenged?? Someone else scavenged it, and is charging you a ridiculous price!
I saw this article yesterday, and I was traumatized. Here’s how my thought process went – see this picture:
“Hey that’s a gorgeous antique chair! Wait a sec, “Before”? What does that mean?”
I’m sorry, but what the hell was this person thinking? They ruined an antique chair, AND vintage mail bags to do this. The worst part in my opinion? The faux aging, where the new white paint is slightly sanded off to show the darker, original paint. You already had an aged chair!! Why would you stoop to this cheap looking, over-used style??
I’m completely exasperated. That previous chair was damn gorgeous, and I would feel lucky to have it. AND you could have had a cool purse/gift bag/remote holder/grocery bag/crochet bag/anything holder, but you cut it up to be upholstery.
FYI: most of the comments on this article agree with me, so I’m not completely bat-poo crazy.
The line in the article I most despise is “Taking an old chair from her parent’s home that were destined for the dumpster, Marianne was able to use old mail bags to make this chair look fresh and new”. Destined for the DUMPSTER? No wonder Marianne doesn’t value antiques. Her parents were going to throw it in the garbage. She was obviously raised by idiots. Have they never heard of freecycle or craig’s list? Or even goodwill? Uck, I need chocolate and a time machine. The chocolate is to distract Marianne when I go back in time to rescue the chair from her evil intentions.