Victorian Chair Reupholstery Project

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I was all geared up to do a tutorial on reupholstering three Victorian chairs, but after I finished the project and delivered the chairs to my customer, I realized that I had been woefully inadequate about documenting the process with my camera! So this will have to be more of a show-and-tell, rather than a true tutorial. Want to call me a lame blogger? Go ahead, I am.

I even forgot to take a good "before" photo, so you can't even see how they used to look. Pathetic. (Now you agree with me about the lame blogger thing, right?) But here's a picture of one of the chairs after I stripped it. It used to be have very old-fashioned gold velvet fabric, which can be glimpsed on the floor behind the chair.
Because these chairs were quite old and still had the original upholstery, the fabric was held on by tacks instead of staples. Tacks are NOT fun to remove, especially when trying to remove them without damaging the wood. Cabana's got her big old head in the photo. She's used to be the subject of 99% of my photos, so she doesn't realize she was actually in the way this time.
Speaking of tacks, here are the tools required for this project--a staple gun, staples, tack remover, and staple remover. I would like to invest in an electric staple gun someday, but for now, I just use a manual. It does the trick, and I'm not as worried about shooting staples into my fingers or eyeballs, or some other gruesome scenario. The tack remover can be purchased at Joann for just a few dollars. The staple remover is known in the reupholstery business as a Berry, which is actually the brand name, and is only sold through upholstery suppliers. Not pictured but also required for this project--a hot glue gun.
I applied gimp trim using the hot glue gun. It was surprisingly fast and easy, though it was the ONLY part of this project that was fast or easy. Initially, I tried to make a double welt cord instead of gimp trim, but it ended up being much too heavy and bulky for this project.
Here's a close up of the gimp trim. It covers up the tacks and raw edges. Pretty, huh?
And voila, here are the three finished chairs. At least I remembered the "after" photograph. My customer was pleased with them, and I was pleased to have them finished and out of my house! For a reupholstery project that required absolutely NO sewing, these chairs were more work than I had imagined. It was my first time working with chairs of this style, though, so next time, I'll know what to expect. AND I'll remember to take more photos of the process.


Min May 16, 2012 at 6:00 AM  

They look awesome! Bella's paws are always sneaking their way into my pictures :)

Darryl Margulies February 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM  

It’s a girl power Mimi! I’m so impressed on the way you turn the almost “lifeless” seat frames into lovely chairs! But I wish I can see more of the photos so that I would know how you created your “magic”! ^_^

Darryl Margulies

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