A while back I acquired this chair at a thrift store. I liked the lines of it and knew it could look really cool with new upholstery, so I took it home and let it sit in my dining room all winter. At this point, that shouldn’t be a surprise to you.
I have to admit that I twinge a bit when I watch people remove cane from furniture and replace it with upholstery. It seems like they do it with such enthusiasm, like cane is this terrible trend in furniture that we need to remove from antiques across the country. I think part of the reason for the slow extinction of cane furniture is that, at least most of the time, the cane is damaged, and few people know how to replace it. I realize that this is kind of an unreasonable rant about cane furniture, but humor me for a minute. My grandpa knew how to weave cane furniture and often repaired chairs for friends. My grandparents’ house was full of cane chairs, and I associate that craft strongly with my interest in refinishing furniture. So to remove cane from a piece almost seems sacrilegious to me.
But, I am a heathen and so I replaced the cane on this point chair with upholstery. *GASP*. I know, I feel guilty, but hear me out. There are two ways to apply cane to furniture. One is by weaving the cane yourself through holes in the seat, and the other is by using pre-woven cane that you shove into a crevice. Based on the technique used on the chair, the replacement technique will be different. Well, my grandpa was really good at the actual cane weaving, but I don’t remember seeing a ton of furniture in their house that used the newer technique, so I didn’t feel as bad replacing the cane with upholstery. Plus, getting the cane out of the crevice was going to take forever, this chair didn’t seem worth the effort.
To makeover this chair, I first removed the seat by unscrewing it from underneath the chair. Then I removed the cane by running my flathead screwdriver through the holes and ripping the cane close to the frame. Once I had removed the cane piece, I took pliers and removed as much of the cane left over as I could. I knew it didn’t have to be perfect because fabric wouald be over it.
Once the primer was dry, I brushed on two coats of Glidden flat paint in Picket by Martha Stewart. While the paint was drying, I took apart the old seat cushion and found a gross piece of foam completely falling apart. Yuck. I also found a ton of staples in the wood seat, which I used my screwdriver and pliers to remove. Luckily the Christmas Attic uses lots of staples to hang things in their store, so I had plenty of experience removing staples. It took quite a bit of work to get the wood seat clean, but I got it done.
At this point it was late on Sunday night, so I let the paint dry overnight and hung out with the boy for a while.
The next morning I used some 80 grit sandpaper to distress the edges of the chair. I used a cloth to dust off the chair and then brushed a coat of Minwax Polycrylic over the entire chair. I let the chair dry while I was at work and got back to it when I came home in the evening.
Then came the upholstery. This was my first try at upholstering something with a picture back, so it took longer than I had hoped, but that always seems to be the case when I’m learning a new technique. Again, I used instructions I found on Design*Sponge to upholster the back, except I only used layers of Dacron instead of foam because the foam was just too poufy for this chair. I used my parents’ electric stapler to attach all the layers. It sucked. No matter how hard I tried to keep the staple gun straight, the staple went in sideways. I finished off half a box of staples and had to go to the store to get more. And after I thought I was finished, I realized that somehow the pattern wasn’t quite straight, so I had to fix it a little the next day. So a recommendation for you: If this if your first try, I recommend using a floral or something more abstract that is forgiving in terms of pattern placement.
Upholstering the seat was much easier. Notice that this seat has a hole in the base. I didn’t really want to cut a new piece of wood, so I used another set of instructions I found on Design Sponge to attach some new furniture webbing to the wood base. Then I added a thick piece of foam and then covered the foam and seat in Dacron, stapling on the underside of the seat. I made sure not to obscure any of the holes for the screws to attach the seat back to the frame.
Next I cut a piece of fabric for the seat, made sure I lined it up centered, and stapled it in place. I improvised a bit with the back, which had room cut out for the back of the chair.
Finally it was time to sew my cording. I used this tutorial from Centsational Girl to make my double welt cord for the back of the chair. Double welt cord is great because it hides all the imperfections of the staples. Sewing the cord was easy, but a bit time consuming. I also didn’t have a zipper foot, so the cord is a little wider than normal. That was fine by me. Once I had finished the double welt cord, I attached it to the chair with a hot glue gun. Then I sewed a single welt cord and attached it to the bottom of the chair with a glue gun. I screwed the seat back onto the frame, and my masterpiece was done.
Voila! It reminds me of something from Ballard Designs. I might keep it, I might sell it, I might save it for the Lucketts Spring Market. We shall see.
Linked to: Savvy Southern Style, Mom 4 Real, My Repurposed Life, Someday Crafts, The Shabby Creek Cottage, Redoux, The Shabby Nest, Making Lemonade, Simple Home Life, Domestically Speaking, Somewhat Simple, aka Design, 504 Main, Chic on a Shoestring, The 36th Avenue, Beyond the Picket Fence, Southern Lovely, At the Picket Fence, Thrifty Decorating, Remodelaholic, Miss Mustard Seed