2.29.2012

Mini Foray into Reupholstering

I haven't done a good DIY project in a long time, and I was starting to itch to make something. I guess I didn't end up "making something" per se, but I did bust out a little reupholstering project that has been waiting to be tackled for months now. Chris bought a strange little footstool at a thrift store quite awhile ago that was just screaming to be reupholstered, and it had been floating around our apartment looking fugly for way too long. I was actually a little frightened when he first brought the thing home, but once I got over the horrible fabric, I agreed with Chris that the cast iron base was pretty cool, and it looked like it would be relatively easy to reupholster. We have been wanting to try our hands at upholstery, and this seemed like a good place to start.

Here's how it went down:


As you can see, I used some leftover fabric we had from my DIY Christmas Stockings (read about that project here), and I'm really happy with how it turned out! The modern honeycomb pattern looks so much better than that hot mess of floral (Remember my collection of awesome florals last week when I mentioned how easy it is for flower patterns to go horribly wrong? Case in point.), and honestly I think I did a better job of upholstering it than the last person.


You can sort of see how poorly the corners were done before. To their credit, the corners were way more difficult to upholster than I expected, but still, I think it looks a lot smoother and more polished now.


The first step was to unscrew the upholstered wood board from the cast iron base. You can see a couple of the screw holes in the base. Probably the most straightforward step of them all. I was very happy to see that the black fabric on the bottom was actually glued onto the base, so I just left it there and it covers all the unsightly staples and the edge of the fabric on the bottom of the board.


One I had the upholstered board to work with, I went about taking off the old fabric. The staples are super industrial, so there was really no way those were coming out. So, I cut off as much of the fabric as I could, then use pliers to pull out all the little bits that were stuck under the staples. Here you can see the foam and the cleaned up board. I didn't have any more foam, and the original stuff was in fine condition, so I just re-used it.


Once I had removed every last bit of the terrible floral, it was time to start attaching the new fabric. First I drew some lines with a sharpie from each screw hole towards the center of the board to help me find the holes once they were covered with fabric, to make it easier to reattach the board to the base later on. I cut a big square of fabric with plenty of extra room around the edges, and started stapling with my little staple gun. I have built a lot of my own canvases for paintings in the past, so I have some experience with stretching fabric (canvas) on a frame, and I already had the staple gun for that purpose. Of course this was quite different than making a canvas, since it was curvy and involved lots of padding.

Like I do with a canvas, I started by stapling the sides before moving on to the corners. For the sides, I don't move around the board in a circle, but rather I do opposite pairs. For example, in the picture above I stapled the side on the left first, then I stapled the side on the right (the first opposite pair). Next, I stapled the side in the back (where the staple gun is), and after the picture happened, I stapled the last side. This makes the fabric more evenly stretched.


Then it was on to the corners, which is where things got funky. I spent forever pulling and prodding at the fabric to get as few wrinkles on the corners as possible, but there was only so much I could do, since there is always going to be extra fabric there. This is where my perfectionist nature came into play and made me go a bit crazy, but it was all for the best, as my corners look much nicer than they originally did. I trimmed off the extra fabric, leaving a little bit extra outside the staples, so it wouldn't pull through. Finally, I located the screw holes by poking a spare staple through the fabric in approximately the right spot until I found the hole (using the sharpie marks as a guide), and marked where the actual hole was. Then I lined up the base, screwed it together and BOOM:


Reupholstered footstool. Oh yeah.

Remember that the black fabric covers all those ugly staples and fabric edges on the bottom of the board, so even when you flip it upside down it looks nice. I think the cast iron looks a little less orange in real life, maybe more like this picture:


Isn't it pretty?? I don't really know what the point of such a little footstool is, but at least it's more attractive now. And it was basically a free project, since I already had the staple gun and fabric. Even if I had bought everything I needed it still would have been super cheap since it took way less than a yard of fabric, and I can't imagine that a little staple gun like mine is very expensive. I guess Chris spent some money on the footstool itself, but that was a long time ago and he can't remember how much it was... something cheap. 

Chris and I really want to learn how to do more advanced upholstery so we can reupholster bigger pieces of furniture to resell (or to keep for ourselves!). I can't tell you how often we find furniture with great shapes and terrible fabric, but we can't really afford to get things reupholstered professionally. Hopefully this little footstool will be the first small step towards bigger and better projects in the future!

Have you ever upholstered something? Any good tips to offer us beginning upholsterers? Ever find nice furniture in desperate need of better upholstery?

Linked to Not Just a HousewifeThe Frugal Girls, and Tatertots & Jello

1 comment:

  1. Stopping by from the Weekend Wrap UP Party!!! http://queenofsavings.com

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