We have been living in Dennis’ grandmas house, the lovely Lisa from challenge #6, whilst we find our feet in Germany. The house is full of treats and trinkets with the cellar being an absolute trip down memory lane. Within the first few weeks I had clocked these incredible armchairs that were no longer being enjoyed.
My hope was to go sleek and natural, back to the wood frame – let’s see how it worked out….
Step 1 - check the condition
I started by checking how the wood looked under the paint in a discreet part underneath the chair. The wood looked good! 😉
Step 2 - Remove the paint
There are loads of ways to do this. As my layers of paint were really thick, the easiest thing for me to do was to manually scratch it off using a wood chisel. I mainly used the long side, using both hands to hold the handle and tip (carefully), scratching in the direction of the wood grain. The tip can be used for trickier areas.
Step 3 - Sand down
Either manually or with a machine
(Thanks to Andi who lent me his sander & staple gun 😉)
- Pay attention to the angle of the chisel to avoid hacking into the wood.
- I left the fabric on for most of the paint removal at the beginning as its really dusty and I didn’t want the dust going into the padding of the chair.
Time to remove the fabric and do the final touches to the wood
Step 4 - Prep
I removed the old sponge from beneath the chair. It seemed unnecessary to replace it so I left it with just the springs.
Step 5 - Removing the fabric
Luckily, the padding core of the chair was still well attached and in shape. This meant we, (see 2nd pic with my handsome assistants hands), could remove the nails holding the outer fabric in place whilst keeping the padding intact.
Step 6 - Finish and treat the wood
There were a few spots where I had to remove another few areas of paint that the fabric had been covering. I then went over the wood with a treatment oil just to smooth it and give it some TLC.
Now we are ready for the tricky part - cutting and preparing the fabric
Step 7 - Gather all the necessary pieces you need for re-assembling
For me it was cardboard for the back of the chair, (Thank you to Thea who donated some left-over), sponge for extra cushioning of the seat and of course the fabric, and a few pins.
Step 8 - Measure all the areas you need to cover in order to cut your material
This step is very tailored to your piece so your good old logic is required.
It was at this stage that I added a layer of extra sponge just on the seat part of the chair – no glueing or pinning need, I just placed it on the seat and then took my measurements for the fabric to include the extra height of the seat before I cut the material.
I was looking to cover this chair with two pieces of fabric;
1 – across the width and from the seat and back rest that are visible from the front (as seen in the 3rd picture here).
2 – with a back panel covering the back rest behind the chair.
Step 9 - Cut and pin your material. Make necessary additions / alterations
Using the measurements cut your material. Then temporarily pin it in place on the chair to see how the fit looks. This will allow you to see if it covers well and where alterations are needed.
For this chair the trick area was the corners between the arm rest. Here I needed to trim, fold and add a corner of fabric to cover.
Measure a few times and be sure to add an extra few centimetres for folding and as room for error!
If you cut in the wrong place, especially on the corners etc, improvise, there are usually ways of strategically sowing a bit of fabric on in a less visible part that will solve the problem.
Finally it is time for the most rewarding part - re-assembling
Step 10 - Take your staple gun / hammer and nails and attach your fabric
Keep in mind to pin in non-visible areas for the best finish. You will need to fold the fabric on the corners and around some of the legs / arms rest. I really enjoyed doing this for a nice finish.
Finish by attaching the cardboard back panel that you have covered in fabric. For this I chose to attach the bottom line of fabric to the frame underneath the seat and finish by hammering a few pins in to the top corners and sides to hold it in place.
Taaa daaa, you have a new fabulous chair that encases – memories, creativity, achievement and sustainability. Enjoy and be very proud!