I wanted to show you what I’ve been up to! I wanted a couple of upholstered chairs for the ends of my dining table (which I haven’t shown you yet!), but have you seen the prices of upholstered chairs?! Oy’….we’re talking $300-$400.00 EACH!
I decided to look around on craigslist and see what I could find.
I found these two rolled backed upholstered chairs for $50.00 for BOTH! The only problem….they had some fabric that just wasn’t going to cut it in my dining room.
Here they are….
I do LOVE that little rolled effect on the top of the back!
I decided I really liked the shape of the chairs, but I wanted to change them up a little bit, so I carefully started removing the fabric. Here it is all nakie. :0)
I wanted to change the plain, flat backs of the chairs into some lovely diamond tufting, but I’ve never done that before, so I did what every good blogger does…I googled it! :0) I found some videos and posts on how to diamond tuft and just figured it out along the way.
Basically you just decide where you want your rows to fall, then stagger the buttons diagonally. I did mine 6” apart and 6” down, but staggered. Then you cut out the foam so your button can have somewhere to recess back into. Like this…..
A lot of the how to posts and video said to drill holes in the backing of your chair where the buttons would go through, but my chair just had some cardboard in the back, so I decided it would be much easier to just cut a piece of pegboard and attach it because it has tons of holes and it would be much easier than trying to drill a hole in just the right spot on a piece of wood.
Here’s the pegboard in place……
(just make sure you don’t make the piece of pegboard so long in the back, that you won’t be able to pull the fabric through when you upholster the bottom of the seats. I did that and had to take it back off and cut some more of the pegboard off. This is the picture before I cut it off …UGH!)
Here’s what it looked like right before I started upholstering it with my fabric…..
I picked a nice heavy muslin/linen- like fabric…not exactly sure what it was, but it was on sale at Hobby Lobby for $5.00 bucks a yard and I had a 40% off coupon, which made it cheap, cheap, cheap! I bought 13 yards for both chairs. (I had a little left over, so I’m not sure exactly how many yards it took for both)
I laid the fabric out over the chair and allowed a LOT of excess for the diamond tufting…it takes WAY more than you think! (at least 8 extra inches all the way around…maybe a little more)
The fabric reminds me of the look of dropcloths, so I’m wondering if you washed dropcloths first, to make them softer, if you could use them….but at the price I got this fabric at, it was actually cheaper!
See how much extra fabric I allowed all the way around the chair before I started tufting!
OH…this if VERY important, and I forgot to take a picture of it! (duh!) See the vertical lines where the fabric is coming out from the pushed in spots where the buttons will go? Your fabric has to have somewhere to go to make the lines that go up and out from the outside buttons, so I used a razor blade and cut those lines deep into the foam. I cut vertical lines for the top two buttons, and horizontal lines for the six side buttons. You’ll understand it better once you see the tufting starting to go into position.
Start by pushing the fabric into the top two holes you cut out in the foam…allowing extra fabric in the middle. You can play with it and adjust it as you go.
You adjust all the fabric as you continue going down, pushing the fabric into the holes on down the back of the chair. The folds in the diamond tufting always go down. (or get tucked under) See what I mean about the slits in the sides of the foam and on top…so the fabric will have somewhere to tuck into. …..
Once you get the fabric all pushed in and the diamond tufts all formed, you start putting your buttons into place. I used fabric covered buttons. Here’s a pic and you just follow the basic instructions on the package. The only thing I did different was when it says to put the metal back parts on and pound them into place… I put some super glue behind the metal piece to make sure they wouldn’t come apart because I knew I’d be putting a lot of pressure on them when I pulled them into the tufts.
I also used this VERY heavy duty upholstery thread for my buttons. I was blessed because my husband’s aunt Lois sent me a whole box of upholstery stuff many years ago and, being the packrat I am, I kept it and finally found a use for it all! lol
I put the thread through the back of the button that I had already covered with fabric and assembled….
Then I threaded the doubled thread through the eye of my GIGANTIC upholstery needle. (also in my box of goodies from Aunt Lois!)
After I had placed all my buttons back into the holes, and made sure the fabric was folded just the way I wanted it…………..
I started attaching buttons. When you are positive where you want you buttons, you put the pointy end of the needle through where the back of the button will rest in your recessed hole……
Then you poke the needle through the closest hole you can find in the pegboard, like this……
Push your button back into the hole and make any necessary adjustments to the fabric and pleats around your button…..
Making sure all your fabric is folded under in the diamond tufted areas.
Also making sure you adjust the fabric at the sides so you’ll have equal amounts all the way down the sides of your chair.
OH..and speaking of the sides…see how the fabric on the sides goes down into the slits I cut into the foam….that’s why I said you needed to cut those slits with the razor blade earlier.
To attach the buttons to the pegboard….
You will have pulled all four strings through to the backside of the pegboard when you put your needle through the back.
I separated the four threads into two and threaded each set of two threads through a different hole in a buttons and tied it off into a bow. I didn’t fully knot them until I got all the buttons on because I wanted the option to adjust the tightness of the buttons.
Once I got the back exactly how I wanted and adjusted the buttons to all the same tightness, I knotted the threads and then stapled them to the pegboard like so…..
In this picture, I have the back all attached with the buttons and I’ve pulled it around to the back of the chair and stapled it to the frame. I also pulled the bottom piece through and stapled it to the back of the frame as well.
I attached the seat by pulling fabric through the back crease and attaching it to the frame of the chair, and by stapling all the way around the edges….
The front corners were folded as such, before stapling…..
Ok…see the four flaps that cover the legs of the chair in the BEFORE picture below? (actually there’s six, if you count the little tiny corner pieces under the bigger flaps) I just carefully removed them and covered them in the new fabric….
All I did was put the new fabric onto the old fabric…turned it under and then I used an iron-on adhesive called Stitch Witchery to adhere the hem to the old fabric.
Here’s a pic of stitch witchery…
It’s just a thin webbing you put onto fabric, then iron it down.
Here’s the back of the flaps after I attached the new fabric….
Here’s how I put everything back together…
First I put on the covered piping or cording. (you can either cover the cording that came off your chair with a zipper foot on the sewing machine, or you can actually buy some very pretty cording already covered. I’m cheap so I covered what I already had) :0)
Then I stapled the bigger flaps on first, then the little corner flaps over the legs…..
Here’s another shot with one of the flaps flipped up so you can see how it all went on. (and yes, you can still see that fabric on the underside of the flap, but who’s gonna be turning my chairs over to see the back side of the flap?! lol)
Same side picture, with the flap down….
I had to figure out a different way to attach the back than the way it came because it had some kind of tack strips that I totally killed taking off the chair. (I don’t know my own strength!)
I decided since I LOVE the look of nailhead trim, that I would just use that. I got mine from Amazon.com in an antique brass color. I basically just took a piece of fabric a little bigger than the back of my chair, turned under the edges until it was a perfect match and started installing the nailhead trim. If you’ve never used nailhead trim before, it basically comes in a roll that looks like nailheads, but about every sixth nail, there’s a hole that you hammer an actual nailhead into. SUPER EASY!
Here are my finished chairs……….
BOTH chairs, with all the materials to re-upholster them cost less than $125.00! Why YES, I did save a TON of money!
Hope you enjoyed that VERY lengthy, but informative post! lol
Disclaimer: I am in no way a professional upholsterer, so there might be a better way to do this, but hey…this is a free tutorial and my chairs turned out great, so it’ll do in a pinch! :0)