I know chairs don’t have feelings, but when I see one fallen from its former glory, sitting forlornly in the back room of a thrift store with a $5 tag on it, I just can’t help but feel sorry for it. Some people bring home stray pets. I bring home stray furniture. This one just needed a good home and a bit of grooming.
If you want to rescue your own chair, here are step by step instructions.
1. Take “before” pictures. Believe me, when you’re done you’ll wish you had documentation of where you started.
2. Take it apart, gently. In this case, I separated what was left of the caning from the back and pulled up the seat. I wanted to reuse the seat board, so I removed the staples and upholstery.
3. Sand, prep, and paint the frame. Be sure to completely sand first, or use a good primer. Otherwise you’ll get bubbles in your new paint and it will be hard to get a good finish. Especially with glossy paint, you need a good clean surface.
4. Allow paint to dry thoroughly. This should take at least a day or so. In the meantime, you can re-cover the seat cushion. I used 2″ foam to make it nice and comfy. Then I wrapped that in batting and stapled on the new fabric.
5. Now for the hard part. Carefully stretch and staple the first (back) layer of fabric to the back frame. Here I chose a contrasting fabric to add interest.
Then fix the frame where you (oh wait, that was me) staple through it with a wayward staple gun.
Add batting, then staple (even more carefully) the front fabric to the frame. Clip the edges as closely as possible, but not so close that they’ll pull free from the staples.
6. Cover the staples and edges with decorative edging. This looks like a small detail on the finished product, but is actually a critical part of the project. I used Elmer’s Craftbond Tacky Glue rather than a hot glue gun. I find it easier to control, without any sticky globs or strings.
7. Give your rescued chair an honored place in the family. I’m using mine as I write this post!
Here are a couple more pics of my office, if you’re ever wondered where I do my work.