Sunday, 9 September 2012

Take a Seat

This chair (and a matching one) used to belong to my granny. I'm not sure how/why I came by it/them - did I specifically ask if I could have them, were they offered to me, or did I just 'end up' with them? Whichever it was, they've been mine since my gran passed away (my memory is dreadful, but I think it was 2001 or 2002.) They spent a lot of time in the loft when we lived in Henley, and since we've lived here they've been in the garage - you get the picture, they haven't been much loved/wanted/cared for. Until now that is.
Yesterday I finally decided to do something to one of the chairs (the other chair will get the same treatment soon) that I've been talking/thinking about for quite some time.
Here's what the chair looked like before I started. Paint splattered 'leather-effect' seat pad, slightly worn, battered woode frame.

I don't have a problem with the worn look to the wood (especially on the arms where it's obviously been worn by people's hands resting on it), and I love the shape of the chair overall.
However, the red seat pad had to go.

So I popped it out (very easily as it wasn't fixed in.)
And turned it over to see how the material was attached.
Approximately 4million tiny little nails. Great.
So I sat myself down yesterday evening with a small screwdriver which I eased under each nail so that I could prise them out. Most of them came out easily, but a few were tough little blighters. 

But I finally got them all out.
Then I peeled off the 'leatherette' (and threw it in the bin) and  turned the seat pad over to find this soft and squishy padding (which was allowed to stay.)
I apologise because the photos from here on are pretty bad since at this point I was working out in the garage under the glare of a couple of bare lightbulbs (woe is me.)
This is the fabric I used to recover the seat pad - it's an offcut of pale green oil cloth from Laura Ashley, which cost a grand total of £3.25.
And out came my newly-purchased BFF - the staple gun.
By golly, this thing packs a punch. Where has it been all my life?
Having seen other people blogging about recovering seat pads, I gathered that the best thing to do was put just one staple into each side first then turn the seat over and check that everything is straight/in the right place, so that's what I did.
Once I'd checked the oil cloth was straight with those first four staples, it was time to get stapling all the way round. This was easier said than done though, because the seat pad is rounded at the back and on the two front corners, which meant I had to gather the fabric as I went.
I think I did an ok job; here's a close up of one of the rounded sections.
More gathering and stapling at the rounded back of the seat pad
And some neat hospital corners at the front of the seat pad.

 And finally, I was done-zo. Plenty of staples and lots of tucking and folding.
 Not a bad job for my first ever time, wouldn't you say?
And finally, here's the seat pad in situ.
So, then I thought I'd take a few photos this afternoon in the daylight.
I've also given the wood a light rub over with some very fine sandpaper; I might rub a little wax into it one day or I may even paint it, but for now I'm quite happy with how it looks. The only thing that remains is to put some felt pads on the bottom of the legs and the poor old chair can finally come in from the garage.
So, for very little outlay (the cost of the oil cloth off cut plus a staple gun which will be used for other projects) and about an hour's work, we have a new chair (and will have a pair when I get round to sorting out the other one.) Quite an improvement, don't you think?


  1. The chair looks really fab, and just the right colour for my new kitchen..... ;)

  2. Hey, this is really good Justine.

    Cool staple gun. I've also got a couple of chairs ready to reupholster, so I think it's going to be a must have. And stand by anything else that could benefit from a staple..


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